The Spartans Speak
Pembroke Singers enjoy D.C.Wednesday, May 02, 2012 By Emily Goulet
A cheer went up as the PA chorus and maestro singers departed from the Pembroke Congregational Church. The anticipation increased as the ten-hour drive stretched into twelve due to traffic. Another cheer went up as we arrived at the Comfort Suites in Chantilly, Va, eager to stretch our legs. Our hunger drove us, and pizza awaited. At the crack of dawn the next morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed. It was parade day for the Centennial Cherry Blossom Festival. Later, we were to sing later on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in celebration of the festival. Floats and parade balloons formed lines near the Smithsonian buildings. Bands, dancers, and parade-goers congregated in the streets. In our white shirts, long black skirts and black pants for males, people on the street mistook us for various roles. It was assumed we were performers in the parade. Or Amish people. Take your pick. There were plenty of curious stares. Upon arriving at the Lincoln Memorial, the sun beat upon the steps. We sat patiently, waiting for the arrival of the sound system. It never came. The travel agency’s mistake led to a postponed performance. Yet our optimism prevailed. Our dinner was a tasty buffet at Phillip’s Seafood Restaurant, which we devoured. The spread of various salads, seafood, casseroles and desserts was mouthwatering after a long day. The Hermitage Nursing Home was our next stop where we performed for the elderly residents then socialized with them—an enjoyable visit. The following day, we proceeded to King’s Dominion, an amusement park in Doswell, Va. It was hot, but throngs of students rushed to the rollercoaster lines. We maximized our time, which included scouring the grounds for ice cream or cold drinks. Monday brought a sense of finality. Our last day. We commenced at the Arlington National Cemetery, a somber and respectful visit. It was hot, and more hilly than anticipated. The weather reached 91 degrees in the middle of the day. The new MLK memorial was a treat. We were mesmerized by the symbolic monument: Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope. Our trip to the Kennedy Center turned out to be for an amazing performance of Japanese drumming. Immediately following, we began a long trip home through the night. Sleep deprived, our safe arrival brought a sense of relief to be home after a long few days.