And so we come to final day, and it is suitably grandiose.
The day began with a performance in the cathedral we had visited a few days ago. It's one of those spaces where the music rings in the air moments after you finish each phrase (in other words, a real joy to sing in). Margaret did a fantastic job of conducting us, though in truth this was almost a practice for the performance tonight.
Before the evening activities, however, we were able to eat at a small restaurant run out of a lady's home. It was very nice, though I spent most of the time (indeed, most of the day) with my nose in a book. (Hey, it's 800 pages and after one day I'm only a third of the way done--and I want to finish it before the trip is done!)
From there we went to the massive outdoor church where we would be performing in the evening. Someone resourceful managed to forage for a few towels, and we enjoyed some cold showers (literally enjoy--unlike in Canada, cold showers here are WONDERFUL) after our sound check. Then we went backstage and waited for our half-hour of fame.
And I'm not sure that's an exaggeration. This church apparently broadcasts their services in 40 countries, and I think I heard numbers around 10,000 describing the church attendance itself. I'm not sure about the others, but this was definitely the largest audience I have ever performed for.
We only had half an hour, so we weren't able to perform our entire repertoire (the Bach went unsung) but we gave it our best as our last concert. A prayer session beforehand reminded us all that this was an act of worship to God. The greatest joy, though, came for me when the worship band started performing a song we all recognized (though I actually forget what it was now), and we started singing backstage in English. Then we went up on stage while they were still playing, and I looked out over this incredible crowd of my brothers and sisters in Christ, with arms and voices raised, worshipping him. I'll admit, though my mouth was moving the whole time, I sometimes was forced to remain silent lest my voice falter as I sang, I was so overcome by the moment. It was (to use the word of the day) transcendent. We then closed the evening with one final song.
After this we enjoyed a final feast at a Churascaria (I may or may not have butchered that spelling... get it?... butchered...). Think meat. Lots of it. Think of servers coming around bringing you various steaks and slicing bits off onto your place. Yeah. It was pretty cool. And all-you-can-eat. I'm sure my brother is incredibly jealous of me right now.
But now we have had our final evening together, and some are in bed already, and the rest of us are sitting around postponing it. It has been a fantastic tour with fantastic people. It will be sad to leave each other when this is all over, though there is a time for everything. And for my part, I am ready.
We are coming home.