The boys began Day 8 at leisure, tinkering with their coffee-machines and testing the acoustic limits of the hotel swimming pool. In the afternoon a bus conveyed us to Davidson College Presbyterian Church, where warm sunshine and picture-perfect blossom reminded us precisely why we love returning to this corner of North Carolina. After a seriously loud rehearsal with members of several local choirs (not to mention an impressive brass section), the choristers readied themselves for the performance by consuming meatloaf and chocolate cake. Thrilled to receive yet another standing ovation, the boys had just enough post-concert energy to pack their suitcases in preparation for an early start.
Roused at an unearthly hour to beat the rush-hour traffic, we were very relieved to arrive at Charlotte airport in good time for our 10.35am flight to Chicago. The final minutes of the journey across Lake Michigan provided the opportunity for incredible photographs of the city skyline, and the choristers were pleased by how quickly we exited O’Hare after their experiences at Newark. First priority: lunch in a café on Millenium Park. Our pancakes arrived in stacks of seven, our hash browns were measured in square feet, and several boys dined out of vessels suspiciously reminiscent of buckets. The choristers – ever alert – wandered straight out of the restaurant into the path of a roving Fox News crew. Within seconds the reporter was lured by the boys’ siren call, and before we quite knew what was happening they were singing ‘Our love is here to stay’ on live TV. A gracious group interview was granted before the group was filmed climbing onto the bus to be whisked away for a Very Important Trip to the shopping mall.
A diplomatic account of the final stages of Day 9 might mention that the choir faced certain logistical challenges, which nonetheless didn’t prevent a successful performance at the University Club of Chicago. It might gloss over the lost music, lost bags, desperate circuits of a bus that could not park, the dining tables under which the tired, sweaty choir members changed, the lift where Dr D disapparated, and the wedging incident in the revolving doors. Blitz spirit prevailed and all the lost things were (eventually) found again. Tired but victorious, the choristers wended their way to LaGrange to meet their homestays at the end of the evening. Luckily they were just about able to find room for dinner.