Day 9 Reflections:
Today was an emotional day for us all, as it was the choir’s last full day in beautiful Scotland. We began the day by traveling to Edinburgh Castle, which is home to the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny), upon which numerous monarchs have been crowned; and the Crown Jewels of Scotland. After walking through the castle grounds, the choir was free to explore around Edinburgh for several hours. Today was the first real experience the choir has had with typical Scottish weather, since we have been blessed with fair weather throughout the majority of this trip. However, the weather gods decided that the choir would not have gained a true sense of what Scotland is like without being subjected to cold, rainy weather. Those who did not bring their umbrellas with them were forced to make a mad dash to a nearby store to purchase one. However, the rain soon settled into a light drizzle, which did not prove too bothersome while we went about enjoying our free time. After our free time was over, we met up with one another and then went to meet with a local group for dinner and entertainment at the University of Edinburgh. The group taught us some traditional Scottish songs and also traditional Scottish dances. We left a bit early in order to be back in time to pack for tomorrow’s flight. We are sad to be leaving behind such a wonderful place, but also look forward to seeing all of our friends and family in the U.S. again!
We had a later start than usual, so we got to sleep in for a little while longer. After breakfast, we headed to the New Edinburgh where we visited the Edinburgh Castle, which in my opinion had the best view of the city. Amidst the rain and freezing weather, we all embarked on our own personal tours of the city. So, with map in hand and a few friends, we set out to conquer this great city. There were art galleries, the parliament, National library and definitely malls where most people visited to do last minute shopping for their family members.
After the tours, we all congregated at our usual stop close to St Giles Cathedral and walked our way over to where our final reception (Ceilidh) was to be held. On our arrival, we noticed that we came a little early so to pass some time, the concert choir rap book was revealed and after a series of numbers from the group, it was time for a surprise!! The seniors after serious deliberations had decided to find a new keeper of THE book since the current keeper was a senior and had graduated. The announcement was then made that Keith Wall would be the new keeper. After this coronation, Keith led the choir in his own personal rap.
Despite the long anticipation, the food finally arrived and so did the musicians, before this though we had the opportunity of singing with a group called the Sangstream choir. They taught us some Scottish songs and we in turn sang some selections from our repertoire. A traditional dinner was served which included neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes) and haggis. We then learned some Scottish line dances ,which was accompanied by the Ceilidh Caleerie band. This was definitely a great experience for every member of the concert choir and I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to be a part of this group.