Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 8: Singing and the Smithsonian

Back on the bus for another day!
This morning we got on the bus by 8:45 a.m. in order to head to the Air Force Base for our music exchange with the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants. When we arrived, Michael Boswell had to give a special "code" number to the guard at the entry which made us feel very 007.

On tour of building
Once we arrived, we found that the building where the group rehearses is completely dedicated to the music ensembles of the United States Air Force. Each ensemble has its own space to rehearse, and we learned that they have a number of different music ensembles including rock band called Max Impact. We were granted the opportunity to briefly watch the Concert Band and the Air Force Strings (they treated us to their arrangement of Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean").

We were taken on a tour around the building, seeing pictures of different ensembles at events featuring dignitaries, former presidents, and many other political figures.

U.S. Air Force Concert Band
U.S. Air Force Strings
 The Chorale and Madrigals group headed to where the Singing Sergeants were rehearsing and had the opportunity to listen to them sing several pieces. At one point, they invited Michael Boswell up to sing a piece ("Light of a Clear Blue Morning" by Craig Hella Johnson), which is a definite check mark on his bucket list! They then listened to the SMWC group sing before both groups had the opportunity to sing "Set Me As a Seal" together in a collaborative experience. Chief Angela Burns went to school with Michael Boswell (along with another singer in the group, who also went to East Carolina University with both Michael Boswell and Sharon Boyle) and spoke easily with the SMWC students. She facilitated a QA session, where the students asked them questions and listened to each singer in the ensemble describe: 1) their specific degrees and schools attended, 2) where they were from, 3) and how long they have been a member of the group. Their rapport with one another was evident and the exchanges felt easy and enjoyable. The Singing Sergeants ended our time together by singing one more song, "Freedom Song" which was beautiful.
Chief Angela Burns (front) of Singing Sergeants

Michael Boswell singing with Singing Sergeants

SMWC Choirs singing with Singing Sergeants
Listening to Singing Sergeants
After eating lunch on base, we headed to the Mall in D.C. to do some sightseeing for the rest of they day. Because it had dropped 35 degrees in one day and was suddenly 15 degrees with the wind chill, most of the group chose to visit some of the museums which are part of the Smithsonian. Favorite museums included the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of American History. Because of the cold, Michael decided to have the bus pick everyone up a little earlier and we headed to find dinner. Most of us ended up at Applebee's which was on the way to the hotel, and because many are tired of fast food! On the way to the restaurant, a Krispy Kreme shop was spotted, so after dinner, somehow everyone ended up at Krispy Kreme without even planning it!
Outside the Native American Museum 

At the Air and Space Museum
It was a very full and fun day (Although very cold. Winter, please end soon.) and tomorrow means more sightseeing in D.C.

Krispy Kreme! (Photo Credit: Ellen Webb)

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