Day eighteen

Our hotel is in Kentucky, just across the border from Ohio. Yes, that’s right, we’re in the home of the chicken – and no, Dad, I can’t bring some home for you. It’d be cold and Customs would confiscate it. I’m yet to see a KFC (or maybe around here they’re just FCs), but we’re near a Walmart and a Target, which I’m informed is significantly different to our Targets. I did have an explore of the Walmart, though, with some other cool cats.

It was giant. They sold everything. Food, clothes, music, DVDs, bikes, fireworks, guns . . . It was almost like taking down the wall between the Coles and Kmart in Waratah Village, except more American. We walked around for ages, looking at all of the ridiculous things – like pavement chalk shaped like ice-cream, and televisions wider than Ben could reach, but mostly food. The size of the popcorn section (or the oreo section or the poptart section, etc.) was bewildering. How could there be so many different flavours filled with so much sugar? Warhead drinks and marshmallows the size of your fist and so many variations of each cereal: “Now only the most sugary bits!” As we’ve gone on we’ve noticed how everything is sweet or full of flavour. It’s not all bad, but just like eating food from any other culture, it doesn’t always agree with you!

We left Walmart with groceries. So many groceries. At this point we realised how handy the shuttle bus is. Kentucky doesn’t really have any public transport, so there was the choice between getting the hotel’s shuttle bus, which drives clients anywhere within about five miles of the hotel, or walking back carrying glass bottles of juice and bags of snacks. Thank you, shuttle bus!

After lunch and the mere start of a game of 500, we stumbled upon the time by chance and realised we had ten minutes until we had to meet with the choir for information about the World Choir Games and for revision of our performance pieces. After the choir meeting, we separated for different practices. Tenors and sopranos looked over their pieces together, but altos did some individual work. It’s strange how after hearing advice from people trained so much more in music than I am, it starts to sink in when I get some time to myself. For example, I’m beginning to understand better how some vowel sounds are naturally darker than others (darker is like flatter, but to such a minimal extent that it seems to be more of a change in intent and level of collaboration with surrounding parts than just a change in the note). That means I’m realising I’m more likely to need to work on my pitch with such-and-such a word than with another. This is definitely a good time to be noticing these things. Still half a week before we have to compete in the World Choir Games.

But only half a week. Argh!


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