This has truly been a wonderful day. After bidding our hosts a fond and grateful goodbye, we bused into Portland, about a two-hour journey. We arrived in time for a quick appraisal of St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception before a wedding was held in the afternoon. It was obvious very quickly that this would be an acoustical gift for the choir’s last concert. The sound had beautiful reverb, but not so much that it became muddy.


St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

We were soon finished, and then were dropped off near the Saturday Market that covers quite a few city blocks. It was a fun place to wander; we found many interesting and beautiful items that almost followed us home. We had sun, clouds, rain and then sun through the day, though clouds and rain prevailed.


Blue sky at Pioneer Courthouse Square!

Mid-afternoon we met with the Portland Ensign Choir, our sponsor here, and David Thomas, their director (and an alum of BYU Singers.) We had a good clinic/exchange with them, singing for each other and giving helpful comments.


Singers rehearsing a piece while the Ensign Choir watches.


The Portland Ensign Choir performing.


Dr. Staheli and David Thomas

Our sponsors fixed a delicious dinner for us at the Institute, where we also changed into concert attire. Then back to the cathedral, where audience members had already started to gather. You really could feel the excitement building as the audience began filling in.


Patrick Tatman conducting Whitacre’s “Lux aurumque.” It has never sounded better.

An unexpected joy tonight was seeing so very many of our alumni there: David Thomas, Ken & Angie Owen, Jeanette Goodliffe Hansen, Courtney Atack, Erin Stokes, Sarah Astle Nowland, Joseph Hoffman, Kevin & Aubrey Brinkerhoff, and Matt Nielsen. (If I missed your name, please forgive me; it’s late!) We loved seeing them.


It was such a pleasure to sing here!


The choir was ready for their final concert of the year, and they sang every piece with particular loveliness, passion, fervor, or whatever emotion was called for. The musical elements were in place, the Singers were eager—if sad—and the choir and Dr. Staheli were in great form. The last concert of the year is always bittersweet as we bid farewell to our seniors and others not returning next year. The concert was every bit as gorgeous as the cathedral, and was a very fitting way to end our year.


There was a warm and receptive audience tonight.


Tomorrow is our 14+ hour bus ride back to Provo, so I’ll just let the photos try to convey some of the beauty of the night. Thanks again to all of our marvelous sponsors and host families who made this tour possible, and kept us in such comfort for these last two weeks. And thanks to you for following our adventures on this blog! But mostly, thanks to the talented and remarkable men and women in BYU Singers. It has been my privilege and delight to work with them this year, to learn to love them, and to hear their gorgeous music nearly every night for two weeks. This blog is now closed until next year…