Day 6 brought the end of our stay in the Winona Days inn, and the beginning of a four hour bus ride to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The first part of our drive was along the Mississippi, before the crossing of a bridge into Wisconsin. The Mississippi was on our left, and on the right, melting snow had refrozen on the embankment next to the road, forming rows of icicles.
I slept a little, finished Brown Girl Dreaming, and made some more progress in Winter. The first conclusive sign of our arrival in Milwaukee was Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
We pulled up to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church (interesting point of note: the church is the same age as the Glee Club), and dropped our stuff in a room pointed out to us by the pastor. Next on the schedule was lunch, but the pastor inquired if we had a “musical grace.” This left us momentarily confused, but we realized that he was asking if we had any songs for blessing the food. We didn’t, but we ended up singing “Mogamigawa,” and that earned us a sloppy joe, potatoes, bacon and cheddar macaroni salad, and carrot and turkey soup.
During lunch, we chatted with the pastor; he had recently moved to Milwaukee from New Orleans, where he had been for 15 years, and was also a singer (basso profundo, as he put it). After lunch, we had a brief rehearsal and sound check. Because the organ was by the entrance to the church, the time it took for the organ’s sound to reach the choir (and our sound to reach the organ) led to some timing issues. We had to work out two transitions to get the choir up to the loft and back down, which caused some frustration. Fortunately, we had some time to relax and get changed before our performance that evening.
The performance was a bit shaky at the beginning; I think the fatigue from traveling, the new standing arrangement, and the small audience threw the group for a bit. However, the concert came together, particularly toward the end, when we performed “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” as an encore.
The church provided dinner and dessert to us, again after a rendition of “Mogamigawa.” We chowed down on tacos and chips and fruit, and I chose a slice of carrot cake as my dessert. At the end of the dinner, the pastor bode us farewell with a sung benediction, and the phrase, “I’m going to do something the devil has never done.” To which we replied, “What?” “Leave you.” He also gave us a CD of himself singing. Of course, we thanked him and another church member with a “Domine” for all their help setting up the concert.
Our host drove us through the city, past Marquette University and Lake Michigan, as we made our way to his home. We also stopped at Kopp’s, a custard shop in the building where Happy Days was filmed, and I got a Swiss chocolate custard, my second dessert of the night. When we arrived at his home, we met his family and chatted a bit before going to bed.
-Curtis Wu ’18