Tour Throwback: Washington, D.C.

Amy Penick '17

It’s windy and sunny as the Chorus plops off the bus directly between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. As we parade over to the Hall of Flags in trav, it’s hard not to feel a little patriotic, although passing through a flock of teens decked out in “Make America Great Again” hats aptly crushes that notion. An extremely helpful man shows us our changing quarters, some hungry singers grab $5 coffee and $8 pizza slices from the well-hidden cafe, and despite some members experiencing peak “tour rage,” we sing a somewhat impromptu afternoon concert in the Hall of Flags--and that’s pretty neat. O Magnum Mysterium (arr. Cristobal de Morales) rings beautifully in the chamber above us, soaring gracefully above the ambient noise of partially engaged passersby.

I spend my free afternoon with Anna, Nereida, and Xin on an expedition to find food and adventures. We discover an Indian restaurant that feels like the love child of a wood-fired oven, a sports bar, and a barber shop from the 22nd century. The absurdly tall sofa chairs, the TV screen embedded underneath the stairs, and the toilets’ Japanese control panels are a rather atypical combination to embrace, but the curry and naan make our bellies happy. We proceed to gorge ourselves on some local coffee, chocolate, cupcakes, and gelato before wandering through the sculpture gardens and emulating some statues to pose for photos.


Penny (our bus driver) arrives, despite DC traffic and all odds, to scoop us up and deliver us to the Women’s National Democratic Club, where we have a reception-type event pulled together by a team of planners in DC. This event doesn’t particularly carry any political implications but is more of an opportunity to establish connections between our two organizations. We sing a couple pieces encircling the audience and then enjoy a more casual schmooze session with intermittent Cornell Songs. Hakuna Matata-esque vibes propagate throughout the chambers of the clubhouse, encapsulating even the tiny, Amy-sized bathroom cleverly tucked underneath the staircase.

After a couple hours of Cornell spirit, we pair off with our homestays for the night. I have the pleasure of staying with the lovely Chorus alumna Emily Higgins ‘15 for the next two nights. Nick Ringelberg ‘16, a Glee Club alumnus, brings his homestay kiddos over to our quarters for guacamole and chill. As we share stories it occurs to me that the six of us span six consecutive years of Glorus, each having a unique but ultimately shared experience. It’s opportunities like this that remind me of the power of music to draw people together and keep a community within arm’s reach even after everyone has dispersed from the Hill.

Here’s to life after Cornell and life after Glorus.