Day 7 Reflections:
Everyday has been warm and uncharacteristically Scottish until today, which was cloudy and chilly. At least we finally got to make use of our jackets! We walked just up the hill to the grandiose Stirling Castle with ancient walls with fading yellow bricks and large, crumbling statues just beyond the old iron gates. On the tour, we learned many interesting facts about the old castle, such as the names of each room and how some courtyards received their names. We sang in the Great Hall, which was the largest hall in its day. Its oak ceiling looked like the belly of a ship and it contained five large fireplaces. The choir collected directly in front of the king and queen’s head table for the concert and began collecting a crowd. Some of our Heart of Scotland choir friends made an appearance as well. The rest of the crowd consisted of other tourists and tour groups that trickled in and out of the hall during the service.
After the concert in the Great Hall, we were free to tour the rest of the castle and go eat. The entire town of Stirling has cobbled stoned streets and older buildings, which give the town a unique and historical atmosphere. Later we met at the Church of the Holy Rude for our second concert of the day, which is also just down the road from our hotel. It is an ancient church with large stained glass windows adorning every wall. It must have been built around the same time as the great hall, for its ceiling also resembled the belly of a ship.
The Heart of Scotland Choir members are slowly becoming Maryville College concert choir groupies because they showed up to this concert as well and have promised to attend tomorrow’s concert. The church provided beautiful acoustics for the music and the crowd loved it. There is no greater feeling than bringing joyous smiles to a crowd through song.
We returned to our hotel for a couple hours of down time before dinner. We are tired from all the traveling, but the spirit of Scotland is all the motivation we need.
Today began with chilly and misty weather more like what we were expecting from Scotland. We visited the incredible Stirling Castle, which has been filled up to look, as it would have in olden days. We had a short look around the garden and inside. The experience helped show more of Scotland’s rich history; the castle was home to King James IV and V. We performed in the Great Hall and were delighted to see some of the members of the Heart of Scotland Choir there! It was after our performance, many of us stayed to enjoy the castle for a while longer before eating lunch. Then, this afternoon, we performed in the beautiful medieval Church of the Holy Rude. This was possibly our best and most emotional performance yet. There were tears in our eyes as well as those in the audiences. The phenomenal acoustics in the building made our intense songs such as “In Remembrance,” even more intense. Again, we were very happy to see even more Heart of Scotland Choir members there, some of whom also came to the morning performance. They stood with us and sang the Lutkin Benediction, which was a tremendous treat. When we processed out of the church to the bagpipes, everyone was smiling and clapping joyfully. Today’s performance was truly an amazing one that touched many people. We will never forget it. We left the church feeling very happy. We then had some free time before yet another delicious meal, this time, with the alumni. We talked and ate together, and will all go to bed peacefully. All in all, a truly wonderful day.
(The videos above are on the Maryvile College Division of Fine Arts Facebook Page)