Good evening all you LOLCB fans and supporters!

This morning the Choirboys departed Mackinaw City and crossed over the 4 mile bridge to the U.P. We enjoyed a leisurely drive around Lake Huron with a stop off at Big Boys restaurant for some lunch. The staff there was elated to see us and the services was wonderful. We boarded the bus again, but first stopped as some neat wooden vehicles out in front of the restaurant. We thought about trading our bus in for the wooden one, but decided it would take us too long to return home.

Back on the road, we crossed into the central time zone, which is always a sign we’re getting closer to hour home destination.

After arriving in Wausau, WI, we checked into our hotel, placed the order for pizza, wings and breadsticks and the bus crew headed out to clean the bus one last time before our Saturday arrival in Rogers. Meanwhile, the other Choirboys organized their suitcases and re-hung their concert uniforms for inspection. This was their ticket to swim, if they so chose.

The pizza arrived and we enjoyed each other’s company on the back patio of the hotel. It’s so great to be able to have this one last gathering as a team of singers. The boys then headed back to their rooms to change into swimming suits and made their way to the pool. A few boys decided to stay in their rooms to watch some NBA playoff basketball.

We just finished distributing the mail for today and the boys are now all tucked in for the night. Tomorrow will be the earliest departure of the entire tour.

Thank you for following along during these past two weeks. It has been wonderful to see the boys grow as a group and as individuals. We are very grateful to have had this opportunity given the unusual nature of this past year.

Off to bed now.

Good night!

 

 

Good evening all your LOLCB fans and supporters!

Today we journeyed from Midland, MI to Mackinaw City, MI. The boys skipped the “grab-n-go” breakfast and we headed to a Bob Evans where we enjoyed a wonderfully, delicious breakfast of pancakes, French toast, omelets, eggs, bacon, hash browns, and more. After filling our bellies is was on the bus and off to Mackinaw City. We had hoped to stop for a bus wash today, but we ran into a rain storm and decided we’d skip the wash for now. We arrived in Mackinaw City a little earlier than check in at the hotel, so we headed to the shoreline of Lake Huron for a stroll and, of course, stopped to buy souvenirs and FUDGE!!!

We finally checked into the hotel where the Choirboys had some rest time and, those who went swimming in the lake, showered. We headed over to the church, St. Anthony Padua, where we were greeted by Sr. Chris. The boys got their tour jobs done and we rehearsed a bit. The wifi wasn’t the greatest, but Camden tried to get a live feed going. Sorry about that! The boys were well received by the audience who was very impressed by their singing, ability to harmonize well and memorize their music. At the end of several songs, the boys could hear audible gasps of awe! One audience member said the setting of Amazing Grace was one of the best she has ever heard.

Following the concert, the Choirboys changed into jeans and polo shirts and we headed over to Audie’s, a nearby restaurant. Each table of four was given a budget to use to purchase their meals. You can see Eddie using a calculator to be sure his group was not going over their limit.

The wait staff was very impressed by the boys’ manners and, while we were waiting for our meal, since no one else was in the restaurant, we sang a few songs for the staff. After having the chance to taste fried smelt, fried mushrooms and crab cakes, it was salads for almost all and then ribs, steak, sandwiches, fish, spaghetti, lasagna, perch and more. The boys had budgeted for dessert but the pantry staff had already gone home so we passed on this. They were somewhat disappointed, but the moved on quickly.

We took a walk to the shoreline again to spend some time reflecting on tour, our experience together and our friendships. We especially took time to think about our time with Alex as this is his last year of eligibility in the choir. Then, as I do each Saturday morning, I gave them two minutes of silence for themselves. It is always and amazing two minutes of no talking – just simply thinking. We stood by the shore, listening to the waves crash against the rocks with the Mackinac Bridge in the background. We stood there for nearly five minutes before walking the short path back to the hotel.

The Choirboys are all tucked into bed now. Tomorrow we head to Wisconsin for our final full day together. We will spend time readying the bus for our arrival home, having some pizza together and a little swimming. The boys are excited to get back home to see their families, their pets and their friends. They have each grown just a little during tour, as with every tour. They’ve learned a little bit more about themselves and what friendships are.

Check back in with us tomorrow to see how our day went.

Good night!

Good evening all you wonderful fans and supporters of the Choirboys!

Today was a simple day. We departed the hotel in Port Clinton, OH and journeyed west and north to the great state of Michigan. It was a cool and windy day on the road. We were reminded that we teach the Choirboys so much more than music. We give them life skills like washing bus windows…

We struck out on two different restaurants for lunch. Neither could accommodate a group of 20. We finally landed at a Fuddruckers, which Camden was not thrilled about since he has bad memories of a stop we once made where he got sick. Ask him about it some time.

We continued down the road and arrived at our final Best Western in Midland, MI. The Choirboys rested a bit before changing into their concert uniforms and heading to the church. We were hosted for an in-person concert at Assumption Parish where a good friend of mine is the pastoral associate. The audience was very appreciative of the opportunity to not only hear a boys’ choir, but to just be at a live concert.

We headed back to the hotel and Camden and Charlie went out to retrieve some dinner from KFC. The Choirboys ate in their room as the dining area is closed to groups. The boys are all tucked in and sleeping. Just two more times Camden needs to tuck them in and sing them to sleep before we are home!

Tomorrow – a late morning departure for breakfast at Bob Evans. Then to a bus wash in Gaylord, MI before arriving in Mackinaw City. One more live stream concert before we have our final concert of the season on Saturday.

Thanks for journeying with us these past 11 days. We’ll check back in tomorrow.

Good night!

 

Good evening all your wonderful fans and supports of the Choirboys!

Today, as you already guessed, was day 10. Just a few more days and we will back in front of our families and friends sharing our gift of song. The pandemic has sure made things interesting and being on tour during a pandemic is not any different. We have encountered several different COVID-19 protocols from State to State and even city to city. The Choirboys have done a wonderful job adapting to the current situation and making the best of it.

This morning we were awakened and headed down for breakfast where we learned that everything had to be requested to one worker who would then get the food items and hand them to the patron. Although it took longer than we had hoped, we still managed to be on the road on time and headed East toward the big city of Cleveland. Once we arrived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we put on our wrist bands and headed in for view of what was waiting. We so many items and clothing from all of our favorite artists from Elvis to Lady Gaga. It was quite a site to see. They even had a video about the NFL Halftime Show and how it is produced. It was very interesting.

We had the boys partner up and explore the exhibits on their own giving them a rendezvous point and a time to meet back. We are happy to report not a single boy was late. We headed up to the third floor to take in a movie all about the inductees.

After raiding the gift store we walked a few blocks to the bus and then headed back to Port Clinton. Our plan for today had included our “fancy” dinner. However, our first, second and third choices were not able to accommodate us. The Officers sprung into action and decided we would do Golden Corral for lunch and have McDonald’s for dinner (our first McDonald’s all of tour). The Choirboys devoured the food from the buffet. Stuffed and tired, we made our way back to the hotel. The Choirboys and staff rested in their rooms for a bit before dividing up according to who wanted to swim and who wanted to play ultimate.

We are currently having issues uploading photos so we’ll have to post some at a later time.

The Choirboys are all tucked in bed and sleeping. We’ll have a relaxed morning before heading to Michigan.

Good night, all!

 

 

 

 

 

Good evening all you Choirboy fans and supporters!

Today, we continued our journey to the west and found our way to Cedar Point, near Sandusky, OH. This amusement park is known as the roller coaster capital of the world and did not disappoint. Our fearless officers took the reins again today to navigate their way to Sandusky. Upon our arrival, we broke out the bread, deli meats and cheeses and made us up some lunch on the bus. Once the boys were done, we headed into the park for a jolly good time.

In fact, we had so much fun that we didn’t take many photos. We spent about 5.5 hours at Cedar Point before heading to our hotel. After getting settled a bit, we ordered pizza and the Choirboys relaxed in their rooms. After they were showered and ready for bed, they all gathered in one hotel room for mail (there was a ton of mail and smiling boys today) and a few bedtime stories. The boys are all tucked in and sleeping. Tomorrow we head to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It will be a late start to the morning, only hitting road at 9:00 AM.

We will try to take more pictures for you all tomorrow. For now, enjoy these few shots…

That’s all we have for you this evening.

We are looking more and more forward to our Homecoming Concert in just a few days!

Good night!

Good evening all you Choirboy fans and supporters!

Day 8 is the day we turned back to the west to begin our week-long journey home.

This morning the boys were up, dressed and fed by 9:00 AM. We headed over to St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, which is on the campus of Villanova. We were greeted by the associate director of music there and settled in to absorb the beautiful architecture of this space. Absolutely stunning!

The leader of the church service was the president of the college. He was very excited to have us at the church service. We offered preludes, a few selections during the service and a postlude. The cantor or soloist for the service used to be a choirboy with associated with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He was thrilled to hear the boys singing and brought back many memories for him. You just never know who you will touch with the music of the boys. After the preludes, the congregation erupted with applause. The Choirboys were very proud of the way they sang those preludes.

Following the church service, we changed into our play clothes and handed the reins of the tour over to our three officers: John, Archie and James. They are now running the tour schedule, making decisions about meals and rest stops, when rest period will be and giving Charlie directions as to where he will need to go. They seem to be enjoying it, but are also learning there is a lot more to running a tour than what it looks like. They’ve also learned how important it is to let the bus driver know when and where he needs to turn because switching lanes quickly with a 42′ vehicle is not easy.

On a light-sided note, last night for dinner, each boy was given a budget for spending on their meal. Two of our boys over spent on their meals. We told them they would need to repay the choir for their overspending. They agreed the would make it up in sit-ups. LOL. So, Eddie T. is repaying with 100 sit-ups and Henry is repaying with 400 sit-ups. Currently, Eddie has his down to 100 sit-ups (he did 20 but forgot his hat in his hotel room so 20 were tacked back on) and Henry is down to 370. Don’t worry folks, this is all a way we are having fun with the Choirboys. 😉

Tomorrow, John, Archie and James have decided to depart at 8:00 AM because, you know CEDAR POINT is tomorrow. It will be about a 3 hour drive and they want to be there when it opens (of course).

That’s all for tonight. I’m feeling rather accomplished that I have a blog post done before 1:00 AM.

Check back tomorrow for many fun pictures from Cedar Point!

Good night!

 

 

 

Good evening all you great and wonderful fans and supporters of the Choirboys!

Today was the day! We had watched Rocky I, II and III on the way out to Philadelphia and today, TODAY we made it to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where we were able re-enact the Rocky run up the steps. Perhaps you caught it on our Facebook page today but, if you didn’t, here is a video of the first run.

Let’s back up. This morning the boys were awakened by their wonder Prefect, Camden. They readied themselves, ate some breakfast and headed for the bus. We had to take our three rentals back today. We were so happy to see our bus returned to us in better condition than we had last seen it. Even the shaken steering is gone and Charlie is in heaven!!!

We headed east on I-76, stopped at the Enterprise Rental Story and then continued our journey to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

When we went to take our victory photo with the Rocky Statue a gentleman was there to share with a little information he had. He shared that when the fateful meeting of the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles took place a few years ago, there were some 4,000 Vikings fans who descended upon the stairs in front of the art museum. When they moved down to the Rocky statue, they dressed it up like a Vikings fan. The Vikings would then go on to get DESTROYED by the Eagles. This gentleman said, “The moral of the story is that no one messes with the iconic Rocky statue.”

Following a few snapshots, we made the 5 block walk to the Eastern State Penitentiary, perhaps the most famous prison in the USA. This was where Al Capone was held for 7 months. The Choirboys picked up their audio guide headphones and set off on the 10-stop tour learning all about the penitentiary.

 

The Choirboys spent a little more money at the gift shop and then boarded the bus for the ride back to the hotel. Once we arrived, the Choirboys had lunch in their rooms and then a rest period before changing clothes and heading off to St. Katharine of Siena Catholic Church to sing for a service. The choir is sounding pretty good. We didn’t get any video, but managed to snap a few pictures during warm-ups.

Following the service, we came back to the hotel where the Choirboys worked on their journals, packed up a number of their personal things and started preparing for our departure tomorrow. Dinner was at the Mexican restaurant next to the hotel. The boys got desserts after their meals and Caleb M., who has a birthday tomorrow, even got a free dessert as we sang Happy Birthday!

Back to the hotel we went. The Choirboys received instruction from Camden and then it was off to bed. Tomorrow we have a church service at St. Thomas of Villanova at 10:30 and then we begin our westward trek toward Minnesota.

Off to bed for this part-time blogger!

Good evening, or should I say, Morning since it is currently 12:40 AM as I make this entry into the Tour Blog.

Today was another great day. The Choirboys got up this morning and share in the cereal they had purchased the night before. They then made their own sandwiches for lunch, packed them in bags and met down at the cars for our journey in the rush traffic to arrive at the National Constitution Center. After jig jagging through the Philadelphia traffic, we managed to find the center, park and move indoors for this rather interactive and well-done gallery and theater. We started by touring the main gallery and Hall of the Signers. Then we were able to watch a live narration of how we got to the point of United Stated needing a constitution.

After the National Constitution Center, we sat outside for lunch before walking down Independence Park to see Independence Hall and then on to the Liberty Bell.

We made our way back out of Philadelphia and spent a few minutes rejuvenating our bodies so we could head to Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish where we had some sense of normalcy as the good people of the parish made. The sandwiches were chicken and, of course, Philly Cheese Steaks.

The Choirboys then prepped for their concert and were in good voice tonight as they sang for about 20 people in-person. Following the concert we took some time to check in about tour jobs (every Choirboy works on a team this year), talk about stay healthy for the remainder of tour and to work to maintain healthy relationships now that we have hit mid-tour. Also, after the concert, Charlie and I headed back to New Jersey to fetch the repaired motor coach. We are thrilled it was able to get repaired.

Tomorrow brings an early rise with the need to return the rental cars and then make our way to the Eastern State Penitentiary!

Thank you for choosing to spend some time with the Choirboys as you read this. In a few days we will turn back toward the west and continue with our plans.

 

Good night, friends!!!

Good evening all you fine fans and supporters of the Choirboys!

It has been a rather unusual day today but, as the title says, we must never give up.

Today started off as any other day may have started. The Choirboys awoke from their slumber and eventually made their way to breakfast and then to the bus by 8:30 AM. By 9:00 AM we were on our way to Harrisburg for our scheduled tour of the National Civil War Museum. The short 40 minute jaunt with directions from our GPS gave us a nice tour of some residential neighborhoods in Harrisburg, which were not built for 42 foot buses to be driving through. However, we did get to see some of the areas of Harrisburg and, even though we had narrow, one way streets with cars parked on both sides of the street, Charlie never gave up. Eventually, we found our way to the museum on roads designed perfectly for the size of our motor coach bus.

We were greeted by Dane, one of the experts of the Civil War, who offered a presentation on slavery during this time period. The boys asked questions about the war and a bout slavery and Dane answered them all. We were then off to the various galleries to see and learn about the various phases of the Civil War with much emphasis placed on President Abraham Lincoln. The museum has a beautifully designed lobby area where we were invited to sing. The Choirboys did not disappoint and performed several songs for those who had gathered:

 

Following a stop in the Gift Store, we boarded the bus and were off to fuel the bus and to stop for lunch. Many of the fast food stops in Harrisburg did not have their dining rooms open for seating and, can you imagine taking the bus through the drive-thru? We decided to try a new place called “Friendly’s”. This was a small restaurant with a great server who single handedly served all of us with burgers, sundaes and more. The server even commented that we had a great group of boys.

After over eating, we returned to the bus to continue journeying our way to the east.

Now, many of you have heard about our blown out tire from a few days ago. Well, since then, we have been dealing with a constant alarm sounding while we are driving. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the bus, but we had a few issues that need to be taken care of. We drove to Bryn Mawr, PA where Charlie dropped off Joseph and I to pick up two of our three rental cars. Why, you ask? Well, you see, there are five MCI (which is our brand of bus) Service Centers in the United States and one of them happened to be near Philadelphia. So, we have made arrangements to have them look at the bus. However, we have several performances and sight seeing commitments this week and we we needed to have a mode of transportation. If we had planned to take the bus in, we needed rental cars with enough seating for 20. Well, the rental place managed to find us a mini-van, a SUV and a 12 passenger van.

The rental place near our hotel only had two of the three vehicles we needed, but made arrangements for us to get the 12 passenger van from another location. So, Joseph and I picked up two of the rentals and drove to the hotel.

7

One at the hotel, I picked up Charlie and we started on our 56 minute drive through rush hour(s) traffic of Philadelphia to retrieve the third car. On our way, we noticed the time and distance remaining. It indicated we would arrive by 6:15 PM. I called the rental location and they were scheduled to close at 6:00. Oh no! I asked if the representative would be willing to stay until 6:15 since we were on our way and stuck in traffic. She said she would only stay until 6:15 and if we weren’t there, she would close down and we’d have to pick it up in the morning. Well, this was not an option. We continued on our bumper to bumper journey and watched the ETA increase…6:17, 6:19, 6:22, 6:24. We felt there was a slim chance we’d make it on time and thought about turning back. But, I remembered the song the Choirboys sing, “Sizo Bambelela” which translates to mean “You must never give up”. We decided to stay the course and, by golly, we made it to the rental shop at exactly 6:15 PM. The representative motioned us in and we signed the paperwork and were on our way back to the hotel.

Upon returning to the hotel, we met the boys. They unloaded the bus while I checked us all in. We all got our things off the bus and into our rooms. Now, we will be staying at this one hotel for three days, so everything had to come off the bus since it was going into the shop. Once we got the go ahead to take the bus, Charlie and I embarked on our 45 minute drive to Blackwell, NJ to one of only 5 MCI Service Centers. There we met Steve who took down all our notes. It was now a little after 9 PM when we dropped off the bus. Charlie and I started our 37 minute return trip and arrived back at the hotel around 9:45 PM.

While we were gone, the Choirboys were able to get settled in and spend some time in the outdoor pool and enjoy some pizza for dinner.

After returning to the hotel, it was now time to take four boys shopping for lunch items. Again, while I was gone, Camden had each room make a plan for their lunches for the next three days. They had to agree on all the supplies. They then designated one member from their room to come with me to shop for their supplies. Each boy had a list of items. After arriving at Walmart, each boy got a cart and we walked the aisles to get our food supply.

 

The four boys loaded up the car and delivered their groceries to their rooms.

It is now 12:10 AM. All the Choirboys and the rest of the staff are sleeping. I am headed there, to0.

Tomorrow, we head into Philadelphia for most of the morning and part of the afternoon before heading to Bryn Mawr for a 7:30 PM concert. Be sure to tune in to Facebook to watch the boys perform for their second live, in person audience.

Good Night!

 

 

Good evening all you fans and supports of the Choirboys! We hope you are enjoying taking this virtual tour with us as the Choirboys continue their way east.

Today was a day all about Minnesota! We got up this morning, got down to breakfast to gain some energy and then departed St. Clairsville, OH for Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. For any of you who have travelled to Gettysburg, you will recall the winding and hilly and mountainous terrain to get to the small town of Gettysburg. The Choirboys thought perhaps Charlie was giving them a taste of what Cedar Point is going to be like with all its roller coasters and tummy turning rides. After about a 5 hour drive and a stop for lunch at Dairy Queen (Henry’s choice for his birthday – tried to stop yesterday but the dining area was closed at that DQ). The Choirboys enjoyed their meal combos with blizzards and sundaes on the side.

We made our way out to the Visitor Center and met up with our tour guide, James. We were in luck because the COVID protocols have relaxed enough that he was able to ride on the bus with us like the tour guides usually do. Initially, in making our reservation, we were told we would have to follow our guide. James did a great job engaging the Choirboys in the history of Gettysburg, marking all the important battles and, of course, highlighting the importance of the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment in connection with the Union’s victory.

After thanking James for a great tour, we headed back into town to spend some money on some great souvenirs. They Choirboys got a lesson in shopping rules and we split into two groups to get our shopping all done for the day. We walked back to the bus and headed out toward York, PA where our was for the night.

After just a short 40 minute drive, we arrived at the Best Western in York and got checked in. We decided dinner would be at the restaurant next door – Quaker Steak & Lube! They had some great food – burgers, ribs, wings, and more. Henry even got a shake for his birthday. The Choirboys were torn between three different happenings during dinner. First, a police officer had pulled someone over in the parking lot, so many were enthralled with that process. Some were focused on the MMA match on one TV and others were into the start of the Canadiens vs. Knights NHL playoff game. I’ll let you spend time to guess which boys were into what event.

We ended the meal and our waiter asked if we would sing. The Choirboys chose to sing one of the South African pieces. The other wait staff came over to listen. One said to me, “I wanted to cry. And, I’m not joking.” Our waiter said, “Tell those boys they were awesome. Their singing made my night.”

The Choirboys are all tucked in now. Camden does a great job going room to room to give them instruction, make sure their suitcases haven’t exploded all over the room and turn off their lights each night. Tomorrow, we’re on to Harrisburg to the National Civil War Museum and then on to King of Prussia, PA where we will finally get some swim time.

Hope you’re all looking forward to hearing the Choirboys sing again this Friday at 7:30 PM Eastern. They are definitely looking forward to getting back to singing.

Signing off for tonight!

Good night!