Thursday, June 7, 2007

Best Western Westport - St. Louis

The boys had fun swimming, playing games, and just hanging out tonight. Here is a preview of one of the rooms.

Frisbee in the Park

Singing in the Lincoln Plaza

We had a 30 minute concert in the Lincoln Plaza.

Kantorei meets the Lincoln Family

The Lincoln family was on hand to greet us when we arrived.

Rehearsal in the park

Joel rehearsed with the boys at our lunch stop before Springfield.

Departing Shot

Anxious and excited boys ready for a trip.

Posing With Young Lincoln

Sizzling in Springfield

When planning a tour, the committee tried to anticipate every possible problem to try and eliminate all the things that could possibly go wrong. But sometimes the fates conspire against us. When we got on the bus this morning, every one was well behaved and comfortable. Excited and nervous, they settled in with their Ipods and DVD players for the long ride to Springfield. After about a half hour, the boys then politely began coming to the front of the bus and asking if we could turn up the air conditioning. We told them to be patient and make sure their vents were open. Then the heat began to envelop the entire bus. We all started to realize that there was something wrong. By Bloomington we were all feeling like cornish game hens in a mobile oven. As we later found out, the bus we were on was out of Freon. Luckily, and thanks to our bus driver calling in to his base, a replacement bus met us in Springfield. Luckily, other than having to transfer our belongings over, we managed not to lose any time. So much for expecting the unexpected. The boys were very good about the whole situation and other than being sweaty, survived quite well!

We stopped about 45 minutes from Springfield at a rest stop and Mr. Ross held a rehearsal. At that point in the day, with the brisk wind it was cooelr outside, plus we had the added bonus of having many travelers stop by and take pictures and listen to us. After eating our sack lunches, it was back on the bus for the short hop to the Lincoln Library and Museum. The only person who has had more written about them than Lincoln is Jesus Christ, so the sheer amount of information available inside is astounding. We stopped in front of the library and a docent came onto the bus to talk to us. We then gathered in the plaza for a short 30 minute concert. The crowd of museum goers was enthusiastic and many of them stopped the boys and complimented them on their performance and asked us about our tour. We then attended various exhibits and short presentations. The Ghosts of the Lincoln Library was a combination of live action and holographic 3-D images. The expertise of the live actor combined with laser images of the civil war bursting from the book he was reading, and of Abraham and Mary Lincoln were haunting. It was a first rate production and the boys loved it. The next movie was narrated by the artist who painted the picture of Lincoln outside the main plaza. He explained pictorially by the research hed performed, all the complexities of Lincoln, the man, and the toll it took on him and his family. We smelled cannon fodder, saw smoke in the shape of cannon balls careen through the audience, and felt the chairs vibrate with each gunshot ringing by our head as we sat through the interactive presentation. In another gallery, we saw a map detailing the lives lost over 4 years count up over 4 minutes. All the battles exploded on the map and battle lines fluctuated over the map of the United States as it rose to a final tally of 1.3 million lives lost. It was hard to come out of the museum not affected by the determination of Lincoln and saddened by the toll that the war took on the country and its President.

After another short bus trip to St. Louis, we cleaned up and gorged ourselves on pizza, fried ravioli and salad. Well at least the chaperones ate the salad. After dinner, some of the boys headed out to a grassy field in front of a corporate office to play ultimate frisbee. Unfortunately, after an hour they were asked to vacate the field by the bitter stockbrokers working late at the Edward Jones office. I hope we never grow too important that we would feel we need to stop boys from playing on the lawn. Perhaps they were jealous. The other boys enjoyed the pool, played spirited games of Ping Pong, pool, and air hockey while some just read in the atrium. I hope you all realize just how enjoyable it is to watch these boys playing, laughing, running and swimming all while doing it without malice or mean-spiritedness. You should all be proud. At lights out, we saw a worn out, but happy group of boys.