Our intrepid team chronicles the plight of our brave choir boys as they travel hither and yon experiencing life on the road – and having a blast!
Good evening all you good and faithful followers of our Tour Blog! We hope you are enjoying hearing about the Choirboys’ journey and adventures.
Today was mostly a driving day. The Choirboys awoke from their slumber and headed to the glorious breakfast at their hotel. They devoured as much as their bellies would hold and it was off to the next stop, The Sixth Floor Museum, in Dallas, TX.
As we departed Ardmore, the temperatures continued to rise and, unfortunately, our poor, 20 year old bus can simply not keep up with the heat. It was a good thing we were on road early so the AC didn’t have to work as hard. With the great navigational skills of Grant, we got Charlie to a good parking space on Houston Street near the museum. The prefects ran over to Subway to pick up our pre-ordered box lunches and return to a very happy group. We ate our lunches on the bus before heading to the museum for our scheduled tour time.
The museum has to be one of the best museums I have ever taken the boys to while on tour. Each Choirboy received their audio device and head phones and headed up the elevator to the 6th Floor, the floor where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed President Kennedy in 1963 ( or did he?). The conspiracies abound still to this day of how and who was involved in this assassination.
Following the 90-minute tour, we walked to the grassy knoll and then to the gift store to purchase a few things that would remind us of the tour and the places we’ve visited.
Back on the bus, we drove in near Dealey Plaza and traced the path the motorcade took that fateful day in Dallas. Then, on to the interstate we zoomed looking for a place to fuel. We made it a few miles down the road before our AC decided to stop working. It just doesn’t like this heat. This didn’t seem to phase the Choirboys as we fueled and cooled at a truck stop south of Dallas.
We journeyed to Waco, TX where we found an In-and -Out Burger and inhaled some burgers, fries, soda and shakes. We returned to the bus, where the AC had resumed running. We made our way the 90 miles to College Station, TX and to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church where we were met by our host families, a giant Texas flag and a great big HOWDY Y’ALL). The boys quickly met their host families and they were off for the evening.
Around 11:00 this evening, I received the highly popular vlog from Jake and Braeden. Check it out:
Tomorrow the boys will gather for a pool party and cookout before heading to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library followed by a concert. Check back in tomorrow for more updates.
To be continued…
Today was a “drive” day for the Choirboys. We gathered back at St. Joseph’s in Shawnee with full bellies from breakfast, smiles on our face and a new 10 year old. Happy birthday, Caleb! The first task this morning was for the bus crew to clean the bus. Believe it or not, these boys with angelic voices can some time be a little messy. The bus crew will certainly back me up on this. As the bus crew tackled the picking up of trash, empty water bottles and sweeping the bus (Heaston even sprayed the seats with Fabreeze), the others waited in the shade. Once the bus was all clean and smelling fresh, the Choirboys loaded the bus and off we went.
We traveled a bit before getting on the Kansas Turnpike and continuing our journey south and into warmer weather. The temps climbed into the mid-90’s today and the humidity levels are climbing, too. We stopped of EZ GO #75 near Belle Prairie to re-fill our tummies with the wonderful bag lunches from the church and host families. Then, onward toward Ardmore, OK.
We arrived at our hotel shortly before 5:00 p.m. The Choirboys were hot and hungry. Right across the street is a Pizza Hut, so we let the boys cool off a bit in their rooms and then walked to the Hut. Of course, we made sure the boys had a salad bar to make a nice salad. As you can see, some like their salads and some tolerate them. Then, pizza for all! We devoured nine pizzas and several orders of cheesy bread. The wait staff asked the boys to sing, so we gathered toward the front of the restaurant and sang Bonse Aba for them.
Back to the hotel we went to change into swim suits and hit the nice, fresh pool for an evening swim. We divided the boys into two groups, as the pool was not very large. The younger boys got to swim first and the older boy had no problem waiting their turn as they retreated to there rooms to relax for a bit.
Now it is getting time to call it a night. Tomorrow we stop at The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas and then on to College Station, TX.
Oh, wait! Jake and Braeden wouldn’t want to disappoint their fans two nights in a row. Here is there latest episode of their almost daily, daily vlog.
Here’s a link to the Journal Express article in Knoxville, Iowa following our concert on June 17 – article
To be continued…
The Choirboys returned this morning to St. Thomas More Newman Center on the campus of the University of Missouri (Mizzou). There host homes raved about them, saying things like, “the most gracious gentlemen” and “such a joy to have them stay with us.” Some hosts mentioned, “It amazes me how much they eat.”
After saying goodbye to our host families and closing up the bays, we were one our way to a quick stop at Walmart to pick up some water and then a stop to fuel the bus. Louis was fortunate enough to learn how to was the windshield on the bus to keep Charlie happy and able to see well.
Now we were on our way to the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Before our tour, we found a park and enjoyed lunch together. We met our tour guide, Tim, right inside the doors of the museum. We gathered in an area where the floor was glass and below it was 9,000 poppies representing the number of soldiers lost in WWI. From here we watched a movie introducing WWI, who was involved and how it started. Tim then took us room by room through the museum where the boys saw made up trenches, real tanks and artillery, uniforms, helmets, and much more.
The boys also had the opportunity to go up in the tower for a stunning view of the area.
Following the tour, the Choirboys went shopping, boarded the bus, and we were off to our next stop at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shawnee, KS. The church here had been recently renovated and was absolutely beautiful. The acoustics were well designed and favor the singing of these boys. It is always interesting to see the boys’ reaction when the first hear their sound in a well designed venue. They definitely knew they didn’t want to waste the chance to make beautiful music in this space. Some of you were able to join us on Facebook to hear the first four songs of our concert. Just a little teaser to show you what a wonderful job all the Choirboys are doing.
After another standing ovation and applause until the last boy had left the building, the boys got to their tour jobs, which is getting better. Their current time is just a little over 16 minutes. The first goal of tour is 15 minutes! They joined their hosts and enjoyed iced tea, lemonade and cake before they were off for the night.
Well, doesn’t look like we’ll have a new episode of Jake and Braeden’s vlog, so, I guess that’s good night. We have a long drive tomorrow (over 430 miles) to Ardmore, OK where the boys will have the night off. I am thinking there is swimming in their future as long as journals are current and letters have been turned in to be mailed.
To be continued…
Mornings just don’t get any more beautiful than the sun shining, dew glistening of the corn plants and boys who are bouncy like Tigger on an adventure to find Winnie the Pooh. The church hosted the boys for a breakfast of blueberry, chocolate chip and plain pancakes, sausage patties and links, cheesy potatoes (left over from dinner and requested by the boys), fruits, and some pastries. It was delicious. After breakfast, we traveled to the Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum. Here, the boys talked with one of the drivers and learned about owning your own team and how much it costs to own a few sprint cars. They went up into the tower (six stories high) and saw the suites, which rent for $25,000 per year and then got a tour through the museum where the learned about how the car design has changed through the years. Did you know sprint car engines cost around $45,000? When we all completed the tour, the Choirboys sang a song for the staff and then commenced their purchasing for the first gift shop stop of tour.
The officers got the lunches off the bus and we enjoyed some social time and eating in a room at the museum.
With Knoxville being within driving distance of Elk River, the pastor is hoping we can return sometime next season to offer a concert and sing at some church services. Of course, we would love to be able to this and build the connection between the LOLCB and First United Methodist of Knoxville.
We boarded the bus for our 4 hour drive to Columbia, Missouri. While on the bus, under the leadership of the older, more experienced Choirboys, many of the boys spend time reviewing some of the music. The drive went by quickly and it was time to kick into action again with our new community at St. Thomas More Newman Center in Columbia. We were greeted by Kelley and Trent who showed Braeden and Anthony around the facility. When we make a stop, the head chorister and assistant head chorister go into the facility with the prefects and I to see the areas where we will sing, eat, and change. They then go out to the bus to instruct the Choirboys on what equipment needs to come in with them and where they are to go when they get inside. I must say each day the boys get better and better and completing their tasks in a timely fashion.
After getting everything in place, we gathered for a dinner of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, fruit, chips and cookies. The boys devoured all the food available to them. These are some growing boys!
We’re trying something different this year. After dinner, instead of heading to rehearse, the boys are changing into the concert uniforms first. Then, they rehearse for a bit. It seems to be working fairly well and the boys seem more prepared and less rushed for their concerts. After rehearsing a few of the boys hand out programs and greet their audience while the others gather in the dressing room and spend quiet time preparing for their performance.
The space was a wonderful one in which to sing. It really supported the boys and offered them a great chance to improve from the previous evening. I must admit, the boys sounds extremely good tonight! I am very proud of the work they have done and their audiences have been very appreciative, as well. The boys received yet another standing ovation needing to bow three times before they walked off stage with the audience still on their feet and clapping. There were even some cheers both before intermission and at the conclusion of the concert. The boys were feeling pretty good about their performance.
For all of those following us on social media, there’s a pretty good chance we will be FaceBook Live for a portion of tomorrow night’s concert. Watch our FaceBook page for details.
Well, the boys are off at their host homes. We will anxiously await their reports in the morning as to who had a better host home. Until then, we leave you with yet another vlog post from Jake, Braeden and Louis.
To be continued…
The Choirboys all gathered this morning with family for a wonderful kick-off breakfast with donuts, egg bakes, sausage, fruits, muffins and more. This tradition started just a few years ago and it has become a great way to gather the families as we say our goodbyes.
The Choirboys all readied for the final photos before offering bear hugs to their moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, and I think I even saw a few siblings get hugs. They boarded the bus and settled in to their seats as the bus pulled away. Lots of waving and, of course, the Leibig Lurch or Leap or whatever you might call it, began. This is the tradition of the Leibig’s attempting to outrun the bus as it heads down Main Street (the bus won, again;))
We spent a little time going over the rules of the bus and then the boys were able to change into their play clothes for the day. We were off to a great start, until…the smell of rubber permeated the bus. A few passing drivers waved us down and off to the side of the road we went. Camden and Charlie headed out and to the back of the bus only to find we had blown out one of the drive axle tires. Did you know the bus has 8 tires?
Charlie got us to the next exit, Elko, and I started Googling tire shops nearby. I called a few and we were referred to a place right at the exit where we were. Charlie pulled the bus into the parking lot. This shop did not service large vehicles. They referred us to a bus company who then referred us to ABC Companies in Faribault. I contact the shop there and they were able to get us right in. We made the 24 mile trek to Faribault and, sure enough, Levi was there waiting for us. He got the bus right into the bay and started his evaluation. He was able to find a tire in his shop that would work for our motor coach and he spent the next 2 hours replacing the tire. He wanted to help us as much as he can and he worked right through his lunch to get us back on the road. Meanwhile, the choirboys ate their lunches and then headed down a few blocks to a grassy area to play tag and ultimate Frisbee.
When the bus was finished, the Choirboys boarded. Out of the building came two office workers. They had run to the store and bought the boys popsicles and juice boxes. They were very gracious and wanted us to check back in as we traveled so they knew tour was going well. Tomorrow, we will have the Choirboys sign a thank you card and we will send it to ABC Companies.
Back on the road, Grant helped navigate our way to Knoxville, Iowa for our first tour stop. We were greeted by some of the community members who had dinner all prepared and ready for us. The Choirboys unloaded the bus and sat down for a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, cheesy hash browns, fruit, chips and lemonade. We were about 1.5 hours behind schedule so the Choirboys had to inhale their dinner and get into the sanctuary for a short rehearsal. Braeden lead the Choirboys in warm ups and we rehearsed a few songs and logistics. With just 25 minutes to spare, they were off to the dressing room to transform into their concert uniforms. They boys all did a great job of focusing and staying on task knowing their audience was waiting. We lined up and were off for our first of 11 performances.
The concert started a little shaky, but the Choirboys soon settled in to a good performance. The audience was very appreciative of the skill and musicianship of the boys and, even more so, their poise, stage presence and their manners. During the second half of the concert we invite the audience to ask questions of the boys. This has become one of the favorite parts of a concert for the Choirboys. The boys fielded questions like pros. We concluded our concert and received a standing ovation. The boys had to bow three times. The audience wouldn’t stop clapping until the boys left the stage.
Following the concert, the boys enjoyed brownies and bars with lemonade and juice. The met their host families and were off for the night. Sweet dreams, boys!
Well, I cannot conclude without notifying all the fans out there that the vlog will go on even in the absence of Sam Anderson. Jake, Braeden and Louis will offer us the almost daily tour vlogs. Here is the first installment…
To be continued…
We are just a few short days away from loading up the bus and heading out on our annual Summer Concert Tour. Check in often to hear about the adventures of the Choirboys as they share their music and explore the country. Our stops will include: Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois and, of course, Minnesota.
To be continued…