On our final morning in New York the choristers picked up some last-minute souvenirs before boarding a coach for the unexpectedly lengthy trip to Washington DC. Road closures, traffic jams, and a heavy lunch at the Walt Whitman Service Area – undoubtedly one of the most iconic sights on the New Jersey turnpike – all took their toll, so we were very relieved when the coach finally edged its way into the beautiful grounds of Virginia Theological Seminary.
VTS hosted the choir on their last tour in 2016, and the boys were looking forward to reacquainting themselves with its legendary food. After sinking burgers, cookies and root beer (there was definitely some salad on most of the plates) there was just time for a quick run-around on the lawns before bed.
On Day 5 we woke to a restorative breakfast of bagels, cereal, fruit and yoghurt, before setting off for a day of sight-seeing. The choristers’ first stop was the International Spy Museum in Downtown Washington, a cavernous collection of gadgets and interactive exhibits that laid bare the secrets of espionage. The boys assumed new identities upon entering the museum, and I’m fairly sure even the best KGB interrogator wouldn’t have seen through the disguise of ‘Irene’.
The choristers kitted themselves out with as many devices as they could carry from the museum gift shop (most of which delivered electric shocks), then headed to the National Mall for a picnic in the sunshine. We picked up ice creams then took a stroll to see the obligatory tourist sites (we couldn’t work out if the President was in the White House, but one of the choristers wore his ‘Make America Great Again’ cap just in case). Before long it was time to head back to VTS for a quick rehearsal and another delicious dinner.
When asked for their favourite moment of the day, the boys said:
Alex O (Form 6): ‘I most enjoyed seeing the Capitol building and the architecture.’
Daniel (Form 8): ‘I liked the James Bond exhibit in the museum, where you tap the glass and a shark smashes into it.’
Thomas S (Form 5): ‘I liked seeing Capitol Hill, the White House and the Washington Monument, because they’re really famous and not many people get to go there.’