Over a year ago, I happened to be in the choir room at Murray County Central when choral director Chad Felton mentioned a possible trip to Washington D.C. the following summer.
I have never had the opportunity to visit our nation’s capitol, so I decided the perfect way to do it was with at least 50 singing teenagers in tow. I immediately volunteered as a chaperone.
Last week, my 17-year-old son Matthew and I attended a meeting about the trip, which takes place in a few weeks. As an employee of the travel company spoke about the itinerary, I could feel myself getting more and more excited. Oh, the wonderful things we are going to see!
The National Archives, the Air and Space Museum, Ford’s Theater, Embassy Row and more. The choir will perform at the Old Post Office, on the west lawn of the Jefferson Memorial, in Upper Senate Park and possibly a couple other venues. We get to tour the Kennedy Center and later attend a performance of the National Symphony Orchestra. We will tour the Capitol, take an illuminated evening tour of monuments such as the World War II, the Vietnam, the Lincoln, the Jefferson and more.
We’re also going to tour the Holocaust Museum. I have talked to several people who have toured the museum and they fall into two camps – either they want to go back or they never want to set foot in the building again.
I’m anxious to see it all. I know I’ll come home with aching feet and a head spinning with information overload, but I still can’t wait.
There are about 59 students going, and approximately 10 to 12 adults. As anxious as I am to see D.C., I’m just as excited to see it through the eyes of my son and some of the kids he has grown up with. I’m looking forward to seeing them perform at these wonder-ful places. I’m even looking forward to the 25 hour bus trip there and back because teenagers are a lot of things, but boring is generally not one of them.
Felton announced during the meeting that to make things less complicated, seating on the bus was going to be either two girls sitting together or two boys. No boy-girl seatmates. Wow, remember when having to sit boy-girl was a punishment? You should have heard all the kids groan when they heard they couldn’t spend 25 hours snuggling with their special someone.
“Oh. Bummer,” Matt mumbled, then brightened a bit. “It’s OK, Mom. I’ll spend the entire trip teaching you to play Pokémon on the Nintendo.”
“You can’t sit next to me, I’m a girl,” I whispered back.
That stopped him for a moment. Then his hand went up.
“Yes, Matt?” Felton asked.
“Does this mean I can’t sit by my mom?” he asked, much to the amusement of everyone else in the auditorium.
We didn’t get a real straight answer on that. I have a feeling Felton is still trying to figure out what I want his answer to be.
Speaking of Felton, I have to say there were many sad faces and a few tears when he announced last week this would be his last year at MCC. I know everyone has to move forward or stagnate, but I wish he would have stayed through Matt’s senior year. Matt hopes for a career in music, and Felton’s guidance next year will be greatly missed.
MCC lost a choir teacher to retirement when my daughter was in junior high, and it took them years to replace him with a teacher who wasn’t slightly scary. They went through one or more choir teachers a year until the day Felton started. Matt started junior high choir the day that Felton started as the choir director.
Thank you, Chad Felton, for the love of music you helped instill in my son. Thank you for the time and effort you put into those kids. Thanks for not having a choir class that was just considered an easy A.
You will be greatly missed.