Monday, June 30, 2014

Meetings & Music & Backstory in Bruges

Bruges, June 2014

The story of this post actually begins over a decade ago.  In 2002, Pete and I began attending the same church as Pete's parents and grandparents when we moved back to Oregon after university (and we attended this church until we moved to Luxembourg in 2012).  Pete's parents and his grandma had joined the fantastic choir, and we both decided to join too.   

The choir was planning a trip to Europe for the early summer of 2005.  We had assumed we wouldn't go along, but we were somehow cajoled into helping out at the variety show fundraiser for the trip.  It was a February-Valentine-Love-themed show, and as two of the youngest members of the choir, we were assigned to represent "young love" with a scene and song from The Fantasticks.  A sucker for musical theater, I was game, but to this day I have no idea how we convinced Pete.

one of the last known photos of Pete with hair, February 2005.
Well, we were sort of a hit.  I'm not sure of the exact sequence of events that followed, but I remember that various folks in the choir began trying to convince us to come along on the trip.  Between being a young married couple still getting our bearings financially, and then finding out we were expecting our first child, it hadn't seemed practical.

But with some persuasion, and also a scholarship to help with the expense of the trip, we were (literally) on board!

Pete and I had previously visited England to introduce Pete to my mom's side of the family right after we got married, but this was our first trip to continental Europe.  We spent time in France, Italy, and Austria.  It was great fun to travel with the choir, plus Pete's mom, dad, and grandma!
a young Pete in Venice
a 3 months pregnant Rosie in Siena
a practically-antique choir poster
concert rehearsal in Peillon, France
However indirectly, Pete and I have always considered that 2005 trip as part of our journey toward residing in Luxembourg, mostly because it gave us our first impressions of continental Europe.  We liked it.

Anyhow, fast forward 9 years to the present day.  The same choir was planning a second trip to Europe, this time in France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.  Pete's parents were coming along again, and his mom was part of the planning committee this time.  When the committee was researching organizations to help in Europe through holding benefit concerts, they made a connection with the founding chapter of Serve the City in Brussels, Belgium through some friends of ours at our church here in Luxembourg.  These friends recently started a chapter here with the help of our church in Luxembourg.  So through this connection, the choir was able to arrange a benefit concert for Serve the City to be given in nearby Bruges, Belgium as part of their choir tour.

So, 9 years after that first choir trip, we arranged to:
meet up with the choir (that in part inspired us to move to Europe in the first place)
and Pete's parents (who were already visiting us at the beginning and end of their trip too)
in Bruges (just 3 hours away from where we live)
for a Serve the City (cool organization we helped connect them with) benefit concert!

Whew, enough backstory for ya?!  On to the rest of the 2014 photos!

While Pete joined his Dad with the rest of the choir on a city tour, Grammy and the kids and I broke away for a horse and buggy ride...

and some Belgian chocolate.

Later that afternoon we followed the choir out to the church for their rehearsal, stopping for photo-ops.

Fortunately our kids are quite adept by now at sitting through music rehearsals!

Pete's mom shares accompanying responsibilities with the choir's organist
Daphne gets some of her own reps in

I told you there'd be cowbell!
Pete telling the choir about Serve the City
The founder of Serve the City brought some elderly and disabled folks out to enjoy the concert, as well as some refugees
The concert began, and brought back so many memories!  Not only did many of the same people from last time come on this trip as well, but they even sang a couple of the same songs we sang with them 9 years ago.  

reunion with their Joy Choir teacher
We're so pleased everything worked out so we could do this together!

1 comment:

Fegles Five said...

What a fun post to read! I loved all of the back story, and beautiful photos! Looks like it was a special time with family!
:) Bethany & Josh