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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
September 13, 2000     Hells Canyon Journal
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September 13, 2000

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Page 10 Hells Canyon Journal September 13, 2000 On Tour wit.h the Continental by Abbey Schrnitt of the Hells Canyon Journal It's not often one has the opportunity to spend five weeks participating in the experience of a ]itbtime. We aJl have dreams, and ew'r since last fall, one ot'mine has been to sing and dance ()n sta~,e for Jesus. I was able to fulfill my dream when I tray- elcd for live weeks with the Continental Singers this sun> mer. Begun in the United States in 1967, The (Smti- nentals is a Christian music ]ninistry that now has branches all oww the world. Many groups ofm usicians are sent out every year to all 50 states and numerous coun- tries, spreading the go@el of Christ in concert through con- temporary Christian music. Tour members gain valuable experience in music, dance, technical aspects of perform- ing, and ministry. My adventure began last October when I attended a Continentals concert with a friend and loved it so much I wanted to become a Conti- nental myself. In the spring, I sent an application and au- dition tape to the Continen- tals' office in Ventura, Cali- fornia. Two weeks later, I was thrilled to receive a phone call saying I had been ac- cepted and that there were various positions ()pen tbr me. I decided to sing sot)rano on Tour M, the tour going to Mexico City and the South- western U.S. Thus began the task of rais- ing support money tbr my trip. Since The Continental Sing- ers is a non-profit ministry organization, tour members do not get paid to sing, but are responsible fi)r raising our own flmds to cover the ex- penses of tour, tlaving only four months to raise my sup- port, God blessed me by pro- riding just the right amount needed for my tour through fund-raisers and generous s[)ousors. I flew to Santa Barbara, California, in early June to begin rehearsal camp. Re- hearsal camp is a 10-day in- tensive training period, in which all the smnmer tours gather at Westmont College to meet the other members of our tour group, learn chore- ography to five of our 15 songs, practice staging and singing with our individual groups, and perfect our per- formance as a whole. My group had 33 members, in- cluding the director, two as- sistant directors, three tech- nicians, and the five mem- bers of our band who accom- panied our songs. Even though we had all of our mu- sic memorized before we came, there is much that goes into preparing a professional performance! We spent many hmg hours sharpening dance moves, learning how to set up our stage, and rehearsing our program time after time. But although we had to work so hard during those 10 days, we knew that all our effort would be worth it! We set out on the road and began our route, which took us through San Bernadino, Calif(wnia, Tucson, Arizona, Detaining, New Mexico, Waco, Texas, and other towns ah)ng the way. When we reached Houston, Texas, we tlew down to spend a week in Mexico City, then flew back to Texas and continued our Photo courtesy of Abbey Schmitt A DALLY RITUAL - Most days on the Continentals' tour begin with loading equipment and luggage on the bus. Photo courtesy of Abbey Schmitt IN CONCERT -- The Continentals perform at a church in Texas. tour back to California. Ex- cept for three "free" days which we weren't able to book, we had concerts every night. On Sundays, we would give two, performing at a church service in the morning and traveling somewhere else to give an evening performance. A typical day on the road involved getting up early in the morning to board the bus, and traveling to our concert site, arriving there by mid- afternoon. We set up our stage, then ate dinner pro- vided for us by church mem- bers before the concert. After the concert, we took down our equipment and were taken to our host homes for the night. I enjoyed every single con- cert we gave, both because singing and dancing is what I love to do and because every audience is different in their response to our songs and message. The theme for each Continentals' tour this year was "Testif}~ to Truth", and each of our songs proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ and his salvation. We sang con- temporary Christian pieces, ranging from Jamaican-style to gorgeous choral arrange- merits to upbeat melodies, even including a number for the children to sing and dance along to! Some audiences would just sit and listen to our more upbeat songs, and some would clap and cheer during the song. We sang one that included the lyrics, "All in favor say I!", and some audiences would respond with a hearty "I"! Each night we would stay with "host families." These were families from the church we sang at that volunteered to house us overnight, feed us breakfast, and packus a sack lunch for the bus trip the next day. Without these people, touring either would not be possible or would greatly raise our sponsorship amount in order to pay for hotel rooms and food. I was amazed at the graciousness of each host fam- ily. I would stay at homes with one to five other girls in the group, and we were as- tonished at the willingness of some couples to take six of us! Though I enjoyed every family, my first host home and my Mexican host home were my favorites. My first hosts were a retired couple living in Oxnard, California. For two nights, I and another girl from my tour stayed with them. One day, I had done laundry in the morning but had forgotten to transfer it from the washer to the dryer. When I called her during the day, she told me that she had taken care of it, and we re- turned home late that night to find it all dry and iblded neatly on our beds. My Mexican family was a middle-aged couple with Continued on page U COUNTRY HOME & ACREAGE 7.6 + all irrigated ac., Richland, OR. Three bedroom house, barn, and shop. What more would you need? The best vegetable and flower gardens are in the Eagle Valley. Keep your mountain horse or milk cow on the pasture. Many improvements have been done on the house. We'll give you the tour if you call. I Shown by appointment only. Price $128,500.00 Baker City Realty, Inc. - 1929 First St., Baker City, OR Lyle Laeger, Broker (541) 523-5871 Joe McEnroe, Assoc. (541) 523-6052 2 SUNRIDGE LANE BAKER CITY, OREGON 97814 541-523-9437 World famous operating train. Full Service Family Dining Restaurant Reasonable Children's Menu Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner - Mexican Food I