Whoo-hoo! The tour has begun!
As of today, we have officially started our Tour Ontario! It's not a 'tour' in the traditional sense, where we'll have to travel from city to city, staying in hotels and eating restaurant food. (Not that I'd complain about that!) This part of Ontario is very densely populated, so we'll be able to use my parents' house as a home base, and just 'tour' around from here. We have 7 shows in the next 8 days, in the surrounding cities of Burlington, Brampton, Oakville, and, of course, Toronto. We're doing concerts, church services, cafes, and NSAI Toronto's Tin Pan North festival. The performances are clustered around the weekends, as opposed to spread over the week, so we'll have to be aware of rest and water. But all in all, I'm very excited!
We started this morning with a church service at St. John's West Anglican Church. We always love returning to this vibrant and awesome congregation. In some ways, it was the toughest gig because we had to learn several new songs, and we couldn't just choose whatever songs we wanted to sing. Our main role, when we visit St. John's, is to lead the congregation in singing hymns and liturgical music. I'm very aware of picking songs that fit the theme of the service, and I want to choose pieces that will be easy to sing and fun for the congregation. Between myself and the church's music team, I think we had a good line-up for this morning's service of Pentecost, including one of my favourites, "Wind of Change" (F. Kaan, R. Klusmeier).
They did something different for the sermon today. St. John's supports a local food bank, so in order to put a 'human face' on the project, they invited a guest speaker. Dawn is a woman who has had a difficult life with schizophrenia. She is not always able to make ends meet, so sometimes, she has to use a food bank. She talked about bringing grocery bags to the bank, so that neighbours will just think she's been shopping. She talked about not being able to have custody of her daughter, because of her illness, and because of her poverty. But she also talked about her faith in God, and how she is never poor because she has God's richest blessings. What an amazing faith!
I had to get up and sing my solo after that, and with tears brimming in my eyes, it was no easy feat. I sang "Abide With Me", and suddenly, the words took on new meanings. "When other helpers fail, and comforts flee. Help of the Helpless! Oh, Lord, abide with me.".
After the service, we got to catch up with old friends, and enjoy the great fellowship. We basically have a standing invitation at St. John's, and have already been told to reserve a Sunday for them on our next trip home. Gladly!
Tomorrow, we have 2 shows in one day. Off for a big glass of water and some of that rest I was talking about...