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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Southern States Tour! Day 6: Asheville, NC

We had a lot of fun today. We really did. We started early, 6:45 am, to make sure we had enough time to visit our major sight-seeing stop for the day, the very picturesque and grandiose Biltmore House. It was giant! Check out a group photo on the Facebook page. We enjoyed touring the many many rooms in the mansion, as well as roaming the beautiful, well-manicured gardens on the property. It was an awesome experience!

We didn't have any outreaches or workshops today, which turned out to be a blessing. Our show tonight was as the University of North Carolina Asheville. The theatre was on a second story with now access for our truck, so basically, everything needed to be carried up a flight of stairs. It was all hands on deck for our load in, and our load out! It was almost comical. Well heck, it was comical.

Dinner was once again a heavenly experience. We are being fed very well. We are so grateful for all the members who have prepared for us, who have taken us in, who have served us dinner, or who have done anything at all in preparation for our arrival. Without them, we would have no tour! Tomorrow is the Atlanta, Georgia Temple re-dedication, and we have our second fireside on tour! It'll be a good one!

Pictures from today:

Ryan Stasell and Michael Milkanin in front of the beautiful country at the
Biltmore Estate

Our fun little venue at UNC Asheville!

24th show! Emily Van Bloem is very good at cross-eyes...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Southern States Tour! Day 5: Columbia, SC

South Carolina is a beautiful! It was a beautiful day today, with much less humidity than we've experienced so far. We left Charlotte, once again sad we couldn't stay longer, and headed straight to the heart of Columbia. We had an incredible tour of the Capital Building by one of the local members. His knowledge of the sites, monuments, and the civil war was simply staggering. The building and the historical monuments were so fascinating and we were truly lucky to have such a knowledgable tour guide.

After that we headed to Lower Richland High School to do a workshop with some of the most excited and animated students we've met! We did a music, dance, theatre workshop and we were blown away by their enthusiasm and willingness to work.

Our dinner was delicious; true Southern cooking. We had country-fried steak, chicken and dumplings, and delicious peach cobbler. We ate with some local Young Single Adults. It's so much fun to meet students at workshops, or YSA's at dinner, because we get to perform for people we know every time! The performance at Lower Richland High School was a great one. It was a great turnout and the energy from the audience was palpable! We are so lucky!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's trip to the Biltmore Mansion!

Photos from today:

The YA's infront of the Capital Building

South Carolina State House

The Senate Chamber

Whitley works with a student, Taz, from Lower Richland High School

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Southern States Tour! Day 4: Charlotte, NC

We are so lucky to be on tour in South. Everyday is just better than the last, and as you can see from the blog, the first day was pretty great! We've met so many wonderful new friends, and experienced so many new things!

Much to our dismay, we had to leave our wonderful host families at 8:15 am. We've had so many wonderful host families, and having to pack up and move on has been hard! We got on the bus and headed straight for Charlotte, NC. Our first stop was at the Community School of Davidson. We did two 30 minutes shows, the first for middle school students, and the second for elementary students. I think it's safe to say that our workshops and outreaches are our favorite parts about touring. We had so much fun performing for and getting to know these kids.

After that, it was onto the show! The theatre was beautiful! It was at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. It used to be an old church, but it was converted into a theatre in the 1970's. The stained glass remains intact, and special backlighting is used during performances to allow these beautiful windows to be seen. It was a beautiful space, but it required a little adjustment. The stage was a new shape for us, but we enjoyed working before the performance to make sure we delivered the same show that perform on all our stops. It was another wonderful, exciting day! I'm sure we'll never stop saying that!

Pictures from the day:

Ryan Stasell meeting some of the kids

Jacob Bromley and Danica Donaldson with a few of the students

A new friend! His brother goes to BYU and he is a Jimmer fan!

Josh, one of our best new friends. He fell in love with Summerisa,
and he was not ashamed to tell her.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Southern States Tour! Day 3: Roanoke, VA

Day 3 was yet another big day! We hit the road at 9:00 am for Roanoke, VA, and the minute we got there, we had an amazing workshop with youth from the local stake, as well as kids from the local YMCA. The combined workshop was easily the highlight of our day. The kids were very excited to be there, and so much fun to sing and dance with.

After our workshop, we took a trip up to one of the famous landmarks in the area, the Mill Mountain Star! It's the largest man-made star in the entire world! We were surprised to find the local primary children waiting for us, with signs and balloons! They had made us small gifts and we shared donuts and juice with them. We are so lucky! We have felt so welcome here, and it's privileged to have met so many hospitable people on our tour so far.

Our performance was in the Roanoke Civic Center, which was beautiful! Check the Facebook for a picture of it! The show had a great turnout with many special guests such as the Mayor of Roanoke and Representative Goodlatte of Virginia. It was a very energetic crowd!

We are getting to know so many people, and it's tough to have to leave them behind! We are excited to keep on keepin'-on tomorrow, in Charlotte, NC!

Check soon for pictures! I promise, I have some, I just need some better internet!

UPDATE: Pictures!

Combined workshop at the Roanoke Stake Center

Jason Sanders with the primary children at the Mill Mountain Star

The Mill Mountain Star in all it's glory

The YA's and our new primary friends!

We enjoy a lot of great food on tour, and this was some of the best!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Southern States Tour! Day 2: Durham, NC


What a day, what a day! We had such a wonderful day today, and although we have no pictures to post just yet, we wanted to just let everyone know what an amazing day we had today!

We started with an outreach to the Monroe School for the Blind. It was an incredible experience for the performers and band members. We had the opportunity to perform a few of our numbers for them, but the best part of the outreach was just getting to know them all. It was truly an experience that we won't forget. We'll post pictures, most likely tomorrow.

After that, we had two performances at Duke University. It's such an amazing campus! The Cathedral was so beautiful, and our only regret is that we didn't have more time there. We had a matinee AND and evening performance there within four hours of each other. It was a great day, filled with wonderful people! We can't wait for our next adventure! Check back soon for pictures from our day in Durham!

UPDATE: PHOTOS!

Brad Robins and Carson Wright with some of the students from the
Monroe School for the blind

Whitley Osborn, Ashley Haycock, Brittany Worley, and other getting to
know another student.

Garrett Breeze and Max Eddington with students from the School.

YA's infront of the Duke Cathedral
The interior of the Duke Cathedral

Monday, April 25, 2011

Southern States Tour! Day 1: Raleigh, NC

Well, we're here! Our Southern States Tour has officially begun! We'll be doing our best to keep the blog up-to-date, so that you dedicated readers (We're talking to you, Mama Haycock, and all you other YA mommy's) can follow our tour! We'll be posting pictures and text recaps as often as we can, and we'll do some video recaps as often as we can get them done! We need to take care of ourselves, and get much needed rest when we can!

Michele Ringer, Whitley Osborn, Oyoyo Bonner, and Kate Bailey
are ready to go!

Well, our day started bright and early when we met at the Richard Building at 3:00 am. Though it was early, there was a palpable energy pervading the air! We got to the airport, met up with the rest of our group, and boarding a plane at 6:00 am. We stopped in Dallas Fort Worth International airport after about two and a half hours on a plane, then boarded another flight to Raleigh! Two and a half hours after that, we touched down in Raleigh at about 3:30 pm local time. We immediately felt the humidity as we exited the aircraft, but we were thrilled to finally be in the South!



Aboard our BRAND NEW bus!

We stepped outside, and we saw a most beautiful sight: a brand new bus from "Le Bus" with our favorite driver, Coleen! She was our driver for 10-day and we just fell in love with her! The bus is brand new. We are the first group to use it. It has wood floors, power outlets, seat belts, and that 'brand-new' bus smell (pretty similar to 'brand-new' car). It honestly was one of the highlights of our day! At that point we took off to the chapel we would be eating at. We had an hour or so to change and freshen up, then we helped set-up and make a DELICIOUS meal (Chicken Salad Sandwiches!). We were lucky enough to eat with some of the local Young Single Adults!
Goofy Young Ambassadors with new friends!

We had a wonderful time eating with and getting to know so many wonderful young people from the area. It was great to get to know them by name before we shared our Fireside with them. They were truly remarkable people, and their spirits touched us as we sang and spoke about our Savior. It's been a busy, fun first day! We can't wait for our second day tomorrow! It's a big one: two shows! Keep checking back!