Day 6 Reflections:
This morning we left our historic hotel in Perth and headed to the nearby Scone Palace. Scone Palace houses the replica of the Stone of Destiny – the stone upon which Scottish Kings have been crowned throughout history. The grounds were absolutely beautiful; the large palace was surrounded by acres of green grass with ancient trees, peacocks and even a graveyard to keep it company. The palace itself had a beautiful and elaborate interior, as well as a rich history. It has been the home of the Murray family for decades, and the home was accustomed to ornate decorations, gorgeous paintings and it had also housed Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for a night.
After the tour of the Palace we san three songs at the steps of the Palace. That’s right; we sang at a palace and site of the stone of destiny replica! Following our impromptu performance, we made our way to another exciting stop—Blair Castle. The castle, composed in both Georgian and Scottish styles, was filled with firearms, swords, and other weapons of warfare, as well as beautiful decorations and furniture. The grounds there were just as beautiful. It had a richly wooded area, a small creek, and it too housed peacocks.
We spent a few hours there and then continued to the city of Stirling, our new home for the next four days. The city is quaint and old with stone buildings abounding. I know we all were excited to explore it over the next few days. As it was, we didn’t do much exploring today as we checked into our marvelous hotel (The Highlander of Stirling) and then went to our 7:30 concert.
The concert this evening was a joint concert with the Heart of Scotland community choir and it went phenomenally. Heart of Scotland is a charity group, which was started for cancer research, and they were the most gracious and loving audience and choir (and talented to). We performed for each other and they were so amazing to listen to. Poppy and upbeat, they blew us away with their energetic performance. They taught us one of their songs, titled, “Whatever Is There.” It was so beautifully written and being able to learn and sing with them was such a beautiful and heartwarming experience. Both our choir and their choir encountered something magical tonight. A woman from the Heart of Scotland approached Mrs. Wilner after the concert and said, “This is one of the most beautiful moments of my life.” We are all excited about the moving experience we had tonight, and we are also thrilled at having learned a new song—which we sang almost all the way home!! Something deep happened tonight, and I know we are all pumped for our concerts at Stirling Castle and the Church of the Hold Rude tomorrow. Thought limited, our time in Stirling has been extraordinary; we cannot wait for what is to come!
Today we attended a self guided tour at Scone Palace. This stone building was absolutely spectacular. We were able to view a replica of the Stone of Destiny and learn some interesting information about Macbeth, which was fabulous for me considering I am a theatre major. After we sang for the employees of Scone, we headed to Blair Castle. This castle was quite odd looking from your typical idea of a castle, it was solid white. The inside of the castle contained hundreds of taxidermy animals and skulls, as well as various family weapons. The grounds surrounding the castle were filled with brightly colored flower gardens and luscious bright green fields. We closed our day by heading to Stirling, where we sang with a local choir, who taught us some traditional Scottish songs.