2015 Tour

Here is an updated, full version of the Tour Schedule.

Click here for an abbreviated schedule, which includes websites (when I could find them).

The most recent post will be at the top. Some of the pictures will also have captions, so watch for more information on the picture pages.


Day 15 – July 25th

“HOMECOMING!”

Every day of tour is new and different, but Homecoming is special – it’s when families are reunited and our hometown fans get to see and hear the 2015 performance one more time.

But the day actually started with another tradition – the final meeting at the church in Tulsa. The location was ideal because instead of a vast sanctuary, we were in an intimate chapel; the perfect since for our group. Events included handing out friendship books (kind of a yearbook signing concept that everyone worked on the last few days), tour awards, short messages from some of the sponsors and a final communion. Many emotions run through this service.

Normally, the ride home is lengthened with a stalling technique somewhere along the way in addition to lunch. But Tulsa put the distance at about the right timing for a traditional 5:00 arrival, complete with a Sheriff’s department escort.

Once the buses stopped, the doors opened and blue shirted Singers were greeted by family, friends and four-legged companions. But there was no time to waste; suitcases moved to cars and Singers moved inside to do one final, well-tuned setup.

After changing into costumes, it was time for Green Room, presented by Shaun Agnew, a New G alum. By all reports it was easily one of the best messages the Singers have received.

Then, finally, time to run-in with Pastor Jimmy Porter giving the traditional wind-up introduction.

From there, it would be hard to describe the emotion and quality of the performance. After all, it is Homecoming!

At the end of the performance, alumni joined the Singers on stage for the Benediction; then more hugs, a final tear-down and then off to another group meal – NOT at McDonald’s.

So that’s a wrap. Thanks for following along here and on social media. Now it’s time for a membership rally on August 23rd, Christmas performances and start the Tour process all over again in January. Where to? New York!

2015 - Tour - Morning and Arrival
2015 - Tour - Morning and ArrivalJul 25, 2015Photos: 63
 
 


Day 14 – July 24th

“The day before Homecoming!”

Finally a performance day. Although we did perform Tuesday in Williams, Arizona, that was an outdoor stage, an ad hoc audience and a low-key religious theme. And in Skittles outfits. Tonight was a full-blown performance in a beautiful church in Tulsa; actually it was a return trip and we were hosted by New G Alums (Stacey and Jennifer).

Actually the day started with another McDonald’s breakfast, another fast food conglomeration for lunch (yes, including McD) and a steady drive to Tulsa. Luckily the AC is working great on the buses because it was 98 degrees with a 110 heat index in Tulsa.

Along the way, we stopped in Groom, Texas, at the “Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” – a 190 foot tall metal cross that can be seen as far as 20 miles away. It’s become a regular stop for New G – be sure to see the pictures. And if you want to learn more, visit www.crossministries.net.

The performance went well, and even some Singers that had a touch of laryngitis were able to get back to normal (well, close to it).

Tomorrow morning is the final gathering back at the church for awards, revealing secret pals and a final communion. It’s a great way to cap off Tour before the carefully timed return to St. Joe.

After Homecoming, don’t expect an immediate update of pictures – I’ll get to them as soon as possible early next week. Also, I don’t plan to have pictures or posters for sale at Homecoming; it’s always tricky to predict what and how many we need. But I WILL be putting something together and will make it available to you and the Singers.

Thanks for following along here on ngsingers.com – I’ll see many of you tomorrow. Do you have your tickets?

2015 - Tour - Day 14
2015 - Tour - Day 14Jul 24, 2015Photos: 69
 


Day 13 – July 23rd

“Amarillo by….evening?”

Wow, it must have been a slow news day judging by the pictures – all five of them.

The day started with breakfast for everyone at the hotel, and a loading time relatively late. Lunch was somewhere in eastern New Mexico, one bus to Carl’s Jr. and the other? Yep, McDonald’s. But again they handled it well.

Next stop was a church in Amarillo. We had plenty of time so we headed off to a big mall (everything’s twice as big in Texas, right?) and the food court. They had everything food-wise, well, no McD’s, so everyone picked whatever they wanted. Then some free-time IN the mall just browsing and maybe a few purchases.

Back at the church, we watched the “Messages From Home” parent video produced by New G alum Josh Smith. Thanks to Josh and anyone that helped with the video as well as all the family members, including two dogs, who sent messages. There were many laughs. It was fun to watch it as one big group instead of on buses.

Today was also the day Bemo handed out the tour survey. This is where many of the ideas, good things and not-so-good things are discovered. One question is basically “what is your favorite tour memory”. I may not have the quote exactly as he told me, but it was something like “my favorite memory was a moment on the risers during a performance and I could feel God in my heart”. There are many more and I’ll try to get them posted, but be sure you ask your Singer the same question – you might be surprised.

Tomorrow is finally another performance, which I think we’re all itching for. And then of course HOMECOMING!

Speaking of Homecoming, word is that not a lot of tickets have been sold. To me, that means you’re all waiting to purchase them at the door, which is fine, But while they are general admission, and only $5.00, it is feasible that we would sell out. So I recommend getting ahold of Janet Alexander at her drapery shop just north of Cici’s Pizza in Anderson Ford Plaza.

2015 - Tour - Day 13
2015 - Tour - Day 13Jul 23, 2015Photos: 5
 

 By the way, you’ll notice this is posted much earlier than normal, thanks to being back in our home time zone!
BONUS!
You may as well see the parent video! I’ve been on the camera end of this process and I know it’s hard for some people to go in front of the camera, but from this end, it’s worth it. Thanks for participating.


Day 12 – July 22nd

“The Grand Canyon”

After loading at the church, it was off to breakfast….yep, McDonald’s. McDonald’s may have some stereotypes for food quality, etc. But on a trip like this, you can always count on their speed and consistency. Other fast food chains have been much harder to get through, but McD’s got us through in about 30 minutes.

Then it was an hour’s drive north to the Grand Canyon. On the Faith bus, it looked like about 75% of the group had never seen it – including me. It’s odd in that you’re driving through what seems like a normal forest, maybe Yellowstone. Then it appears and no words or pictures can adequately describe its massiveness and beauty. We were only there for about an hour, but I talked to a man at a gas station who is a local, and he said he goes there three or four times a WEEK. Obviously, there is much more to do. Maybe next time.

In order to get on I-40 to Albuquerque, we had to drop back to Williams for the six(ish) hour drive. As you’ll see in the pictures, it’s at least more interesting than California/Arizona. Tonight we’re all in a LaQuinta; since it got pretty late, it was straight to bed. Tomorrow is a much more laid back day – we don’t load til 9:30 for the four hour drive to Amarillo. I think everyone is looking forward to Friday night’s full performance in Tulsa and then a Homecoming to remember on Saturday.

2015 - Tour - Day 12
2015 - Tour - Day 12Jul 22, 2015Photos: 30
 

 

BONUS!

I wasn’t sure why the Hunter twins were dressed in blue dresses, then they did this and I was literally creeped out. Hopefully you’ve seen “The Shining” to get the full effect.


Day 11 – July 21st

“Williams, Arizona”

Williams is on the famed Route 66, and they are very proud of it. There was a sign on the way into town that said “Last town bypassed by I-40”. Before that was just a long drive from Anaheim across the barren desert of southern California and western Arizona. Finally a few miles west of Williams, we started to see green. Food stops in that desert were infrequent, so it was a double truck stop that had Wendy’s, Subway and Carl’s Jr. (Don’t worry, McDonald’s in the morning.)

The performance was a special deal that Bemo found were we joined forces with the Williams Alliance for the Arts (same type of organization as our Allied Arts Council) and their Chamber of Commerce. Our concert was in an outdoor stage right next to the Grand Canyon Railroad. Donations were accepted to be given directly to Williams Arts for arts education in the schools. A nice crowd, ranging from 30 to 50, as people came and went, really seemed to enjoy the concert. And once again, we’ve been invited back.

Tonight it’s a night on a church floor, but before that was a very light-hearted “Tour Worship”.

2015 - Tour - Day 11
2015 - Tour - Day 11Jul 21, 2015Photos: 54
 

 

BONUS!

Bemo mentioned that after tour, New G starts working on our Christmas program. He also asks the audience for questions and one of them was “can you sing one of your Christmas songs”. Why yes, yes we can!

Tomorrow is another long travel day, but it ends with a commercial stay and that often means a pool!

p.s. I forgot to put captions on yesterday’s pictures, but they are updated now.


Day 10 – July 20th

“DISNEY”

And Happy 60th Birthday to Disney Land – the Happiest place on earth. It was a great birthday party – EVERYBODY was there. While I’m not a frequent attendee of theme parks, I’m not sure I have ever seen this many people at one of them. Although it was fairly warm and humid, it could have been much worse. By evening, it was really nice.

It was a short drive to Disney and although there were some delays getting into the park – thanks to mis-information from Disney’s help line, we made it in in plenty of time to have 14 hours of rides, food and people watching.

Of course there were stories too:
– Bemo controlled himself to only two Dole Whips.
– At least one group waited two hours for Space Mountain, only to get into sight of the cars and be told it would be close for at least an hour or more.
– And it may have been the same group that “broke” another ride.
– One group was brought to the front of the line after a “cast member” (i.e. Disney employee) saw the “Out of the Blue” shirt, figured out what it meant and wanted to help the group because he believes in what we do.

Personally, I was impressed with so many of the technical aspects of the park, especially the light shows. As a theater lighting guy, I was in awe of what they could do. Just one of their many tricks was projecting huge videos onto walls of water. Despite all this, I thought I might go back to my car before the final light parade at 10:45, but it was right there so I stayed. When the first float turned the corner toward us, I thought, ok, I’ll stay. As you’ll see in the pictures, LED lighting has revolutionized Disney light parades. I realize Walt Disney had an amazing imagination, but I’ve got to think he never saw this technology coming.

The buses got back to the hotel pretty late, so it was straight to bed. I doubt it will be problem, we’re all pretty wore out. Tomorrow is a long day of driving and then an outdoor performance, so it’s up early and head back east.

2015 - Tour - Day 10
2015 - Tour - Day 10Jul 20, 2015Photos: 34
 


Day 9 – July 19th

“It DOES rain in California”

Even though the song may say different, California is finally getting rain. I’m sure it’s only a fraction of what they need here, but today was a good day to get some moisture. Unfortunately it also meant we didn’t make it to the beach, partly because of the weather and partly because it takes a long time to get anywhere by bus in this area.

Actually, we started out the day in Santa Maria with a nice breakfast at the Cornerstone church. They were great hosts and turned the entire service over to New G – so the Singers were able to present their entire program. And of course it was well received.

Next stop was only a few hundred yards away – In-N-Out Burgers! We had called ahead and between that and an amazing staff, they served the entire group in 45 minutes or less, including other customers. So Sean Connors, we have all been initiated into your favorite – and I myself was a newbie and certainly enjoyed it. One interesting note, discovered by Ally Fields was the Bible verse reference printed on the inside edge under the bottom of each drink cup.

From there, it was a three hour drive to Anaheim, which took at least four and a half hours! Between the rain and traffic, it just takes a while to get somewhere. I have no idea why anyone would want to deal with that traffic on a regular basis, and it was a SUNDAY! We get irritated in St. Joe if it takes two rotations of the lights at Belt and Frederick. I’ll be more patient next time I’m “stuck” in St. Joe or even Kansas City.

Due to the late(ish) arrival at the hotel, but more the soggy weather, we decided not to force a trip to the beach. The good news is that the trip down went by several typical beach fronts with surfers and all the normal activities.

So dinner became a short walk to Mimi’s for most people plus a few fast food places – yes, including McDonald’s – as well as pizza delivery to the hotel.

We are literally across the street from Disneyland. Of course, it’s the back of the park, so it will be a short drive to actually enter the park. But the time is almost here; we’ve been talking about Disneyland on this tour for over a year. Even better, they are predicting a high of 80 degrees and a slight chance of rain. We’re praying for early showers to discourage everyone else from going to the park so we have more quality time on the rides.

After tomorrow, we make the big turn and head back east! Hard to believe tour is more than half over.

2015 - Tour - Day 9
2015 - Tour - Day 9Jul 19, 2015Photos: 61
 


Day 8 – July 18th

“[untitled]”

It was a pretty slow news and pictures day. We started out at the church and headed off to breakfast. What started as a decent four restaurant area (including In-And-Out – that’s for you Sean) but Wendy’s only opened at 9:00 a.m. and doesn’t serve breakfast. Who eats Wendys lunch at 9:00? Sonic didn’t get enough votes and In-And-Out also didn’t have breakfast. So where did we end up – yep, McDonald’s.

The trip south was through a lot of farm ground and dry fields. But the Hope bus started having a minor problem with an air hose that controls the driver’s seat. It does NOT affect the brakes! Anyway, we made slight detour to get to a Love’s Truck Stop where a mechanic said “yea, I can fix that”. Eventually he rearranged a few things that made it possible to get home. So the Singers had a low-key sightseeing tour of a truck parking lot from inside the buses. Luckily the air conditioning was unaffected!

By the time we got to San Louis Obispo, it was time for supper, so we found an area that had several sit-down restaurants, including Buffalo Wild Wings – be sure to see the pictures for one reason. Dakota.

Then on south to Santa Maria and a nice church complex. Luckily we weren’t scheduled to perform this evening, but we set up everything for their morning service. And as it turns out, we ARE the service, so they’re going to get the full load! It should be a good time.

Tomorrow is also a short(ish) driving day with no performance, so it’s off to the beach. Not necessarily for swimming, but at least get your feet wet and experience the beach atmosphere.

2015 - Tour - Day 8
2015 - Tour - Day 8Jul 18, 2015Photos: 22
 


Day 7 – July 17th

“Jelly Belly Jelly Beans”

It seems there’s a candy theme going on these last two days. In fact, someone suggested we should change the name of our Skittles costume to Jelly Belly. But here’s the problem, Skittles has bright, colorful themes, whereas Jelly Belly has flavors like vomit, skunk, dirt, earthworm and many more. How do you wear a vomit colored shirt? Anyway, it was a fun tour even though the plant was shut-down for repairs and upgrades. Trivia: the rejected jelly beans are packaged and sold as “Jelly Flops”; any that fall on the floor or are otherwise unusable, are sent to a local hog farmer for his pigs. Our tour guide finished by telling us “that’s where they get sweet and sour pork”. UGH

After lunch at the Jelly Belly plant, it was a trip back to a retirement home. The room was full to capacity and we received many compliments about singing quality, energy and entertainment value.

(As a side note, the manager of last night’s hotel also complemented the group on their respectfulness. She said they didn’t get ANY complaints. I was up doing these computer updates and didn’t hear anyone in the hall, even though they were all around me.)

After pizza at the retirement home, we headed to a local church – more of a mega-complex – to sleep on floors, or anything they can find. Tomorrow will be a relatively short travel day and then a performance in the evening. Somewhere in there is likely a surprise sight seeing stop.

Also, we’ve made the newspaper in Williams, Arizona. It’s a great article that describes many details about the group and great quotes from Bemo and Byron. Only one thing to correct – the performance is the 21st, not the 22nd as stated in the article To read it, click here

2015 - Tour - Day 7
2015 - Tour - Day 7Jul 17, 2015Photos: 37
 

 p.s. We had a record day of website visitors two days ago – 744 visits. And there’s already been 27 tonight, and yet it’s after 1:00 a.m. back home. Go to bed people! (But thanks for watching).

Day 6 – July 16th

“Skittles”

Today was sightseeing and a performance, but in reverse. We had a unique opportunity to perform at a church – Connecting Point Nazarene – that has a mission program called “CPO Outreach” that works with homeless men, women and families in the area. Homeless people are bussed in, fed breakfast and lunch; their clothes are washed and other services provided. So we were the entertainment for the day with an 11:30 a.m. performance, then lunch with them. It’s a humbling experience, as Bemo mentioned to the kids, we worry about “first world problems” like where can I charge my phone, why isn’t the wifi working, the AC is broken, etc. THEY worry about where their next meal will come from, or where they will sleep that night. Another educational experience for all of us.

With no performance in the evening, and a commercial stay, we took advantage of the extra time and made the two-hour trip to San Francisco, mainly to Pier 39 which is a major tourist area down by the ocean. When Bemo asked how many had never been to San Francisco, I’d say about 50 hands went up – including mine. In fact, about 10 on Bemo’s bus had never seen the ocean. Now they have!

We had about two hours to eat, shop or just look around.

The two hour return trip got us to the hotel late enough that everyone just went straight to their rooms.

Tomorrow is another busy day with some fun sight-seeing (several great options, but no final decisions last time I talked to Byron and Bemo), then a performance in Turlock where we’re staying tonight.

2015 - Tour - Day 6
2015 - Tour - Day 6Jul 16, 2015Photos: 77
 

p.s. The “Skittles” reference is how we describe the costume to wear – basically a bright colored shirt, usually one of our New G shirts, and shorts. Comfortable and colorful. 

Day 5 – July 15th

“The other end of the Pony Express”

That’s right, we’re in California, Sacramento to be exact; and after seeing the terrain and mountains those Pony Express riders had to follow, I admire them even more. It’s a miracle early settlers made it this far and didn’t just turn back.

Anyway, we had complementary breakfast at the hotel – and since the hotel also has a casino, some Singers were a bit reluctant to cross through the casino to get to the restaurant (it was made very clear no one could gamble, whether of age or not). With a relatively short drive, we didn’t leave the hotel till 9:00. Lunch was in or near Reno at Wendy’s and Jack-in-the-Box (but for the record, there was a McDonalds across the street).

Still running early, we went ahead and arrived at the church for a “relaxed” setup. Then a great lunch with make-your-own burritos.

Besides the usual excitement of a performance, we found out the performance would be streamed live on the Internet. Of course word spread fast, so we knew families and friends would be excited to see a Tour performance. When the technician clicked the software to start the live feed, there were 27 online almost immediately. He said that’s more than they usually get for their services. But that was only the start – I think it peaked around 50 viewers, although we don’t know how many people that represents. I hope you were able to enjoy seeing the group. But remember, there’s nothing like seeing it live, so be sure to make plans for Homecoming on the 25th. (I think they will post a link to a recording of the performance so for those of you that didn’t want to stay up late, you should be able to find it later.).

Tomorrow will be a unique experience as we are helping serve food at a shelter and then performing. I’m sure there will be some great stories.

2015 - Tour - Day 5
2015 - Tour - Day 5Jul 15, 2015Photos: 57
 

 

In case you weren’t watching, the associate pastor at the church may have given one of the best recommendation for hosting New G. See for yourself (sorry the video wasn’t better, we were really only trying to get a decent audio recording. And I’m posting a low-res version for a faster upload).

In case you can’t view the video, it’s worth the time to read the transcription…

What a blessing! This is amazing. I am so grateful.

I gotta confess, we get lots of calls and emails for these type of opportunities every week. And a lot of times, I don’t take them too seriously. When this call came in, and we accepted the invitation, more because they needed a place to stay. And I thought, we’re a Christian church and we’ve got to help these brothers and sisters out.

But it’s…..it’s…..

God gives us so many opportunities, if we obey Him, if He opens the door, if we obey Him, He will bless us beyond what we have given. And we wanted to give you guys a place to stay, but you’ve given us so much more and we so appreciate it.


Day 4 – July 14th

“Salt!”

The good news is I’m getting this posted a little earlier than normal (except that we’re now in the Pacific time zone). The bad news is there aren’t a bunch of pictures – not much happens on a travel day.

Anyway, the day started off with the Singers returning from host homes. We weren’t in a big hurry so we made a quick stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats (be sure to see the pictures), before lunch on the border between Utah and Nevada. McDonalds and Arbys!

They it was just a bunch of driving to Winnemucca, Nevada. Getting keys at the hotel proved to be a “challenge”, but luckily, it was already in the plan to make our first Wal-Mart stop as well as dinner with various restaurants in the area.

Finally we were ready to unload and move into the hotel. Of course, first stop – the pool.

That’s about it, tomorrow it’s on to Sacramento and back onto the risers.

2015 - Tour - Day 4
2015 - Tour - Day 4Jul 14, 2015Photos: 26
 

 

 

Day 3 – July 13th

“Many miles, great performance”

It was eight hours of driving today, so that meant an early start, quick lunch (McDonalds and KFC/Taco Bell if you’re keeping track) and lots of bus time. But the energy never waned once they got on the risers during set-up. And if you don’t believe it, be sure to find the videos on the Facebook page.

The church was very dramatic with a beautiful pipe organ. I wish I knew how to play the organ so I could take advantage of all these great instruments.

Anyway, there was a very sizable audience and they really appreciated New G’s performance.

Tomorrow is more miles, but no performance, so a bit of a breather. Getting that much closer to California.

p.s. I just figured out tonight that I had not been saving captions under pictures the first two days (operator error), so you might want to go back and take another look.

2015 - Tour - Day 3
2015 - Tour - Day 3Jul 13, 2015Photos: 35
 

 

 

Day 2 – July 12th

“Small town to the big city”

Day 2 started in Dighton, Kansas, well, some were bused over from Utica. New G performed the Sermon in Song for the Dighton Christian Church. Due to a fairly long drive coming up, we loaded as quickly as possible and picked up a sack lunch the church graciously provided. It was time to head to Westminster, Colorado (a suburb north of Denver).

A quick farming report (since I grew up on a wheat farm in Kansas). Up until about 50 miles east of Denver, the wheat was all cut. But for that last 50 miles, hardly anything was cut, although many combines were in the fields.

Our destination was Covenant Village, an up-scale Retirement Home which includes several different areas from assisted living through people who basically wanted to retire in the Denver area. It’s a very nice area. The catch is, they have their Sunday night Vesper services at 5:30, and we cut it close. By my watch, the buses parked and the doors opened at 5:01, and at 5:29, the Singers were ready to perform. Think about it, that includes putting costumes in the dressing rooms, setting up risers, sound, lights, then a quick line-up on the risers, change into costume and be ready for run-in. It was very impressive but no one doubted it could be done. One of the best parts was watching the faces of the early audience arrivers – as Bemo told them, they got two shows – the setup and then the performance.

It was a larger-than-expected audience (I’d say about 150) and they were very appreciative. Now they weren’t dancing in the aisles like Cheryl Herrman, but the applause was immediate and sincere. And yes, there were several moved to a standing ovation.

Since the performance was earlier than usual, we ate dinner after the performance. It was Little Ceasar’s pizza provided by the Village.

After finishing loading the truck, we headed to a church about five miles away for the overnight stay. I’m sure there will be stories to tell – and some NOT to tell – by morning. But it will be early; the church is providing breakfast. The catch is we eat at 7:00 a.m. so we can be on the road by 8:00 – it’s an eight hour driving day.

Lastly, and you’ve probably already figured this out, but due to the time change, you’ll be getting these updates kind of late at night. But apparently you’re there – we had nearly 500 hits yesterday alone!

2015 - Tour - Day 2
2015 - Tour - Day 2Jul 12, 2015Photos: 52
 

 

Here’s a bonus – a video clip of the trio performing last night.


Day 1 – July 11th

“Send-off”

Although the day started off wet (but with a great rainbow), it settled down and made the send-off a success. Thanks to Gilbert Imbiri for the message – Gilbert is a long-time New G alum, originally from Indonesia – who has made his home here in St. Joe.

We made it to Junction City for lunch and did the typical Wendys/McDonalds/KFC stop (let’s see if we can count which place wins on tour). Then off to Utica, Kansas; yes, Kansas is kind of flat out west, but I can assure you they haven’t seen flat till we get to eastern Colorado. Of course then the Rockies come along to show up everybody. Speaking for us Kansans (me, Mike & Susan, Nate and Willie G (I think)), Kansas is just fine. Did you know the elevation rises 1,000 feet from the eastern edge to the west.

Dighton is not a big town, but small towns are great (be sure to watch for the ATV picture). Cheryl Herrman is originally from Utica and was our coordinator/host for the performance. But also thanks to a neighboring church that hosted us for lunch. As usual, GREAT cooks make for a great meal.

The performance was also great – there was plenty of energy being the first day as well as near-capacity crowd. And Cheryl helped boost up the crowd too.

Tonight the kids are in a couple of places – some are in host homes back in Utica, and the rest are in Dighton, also in host homes. Tomorrow morning we’ll be at the church here in Dighton, then a made dash to Denver.

A couple of other notes: I got a new cameral lens, so I took plenty of pictures of the actual performance. They also had a nice balcony which made it even better. And I was able to get good pictures of the band members – that doesn’t happen very often. I hope I got everyone’s face in at least one picture.

It was a good day, and you can be proud of your kids.

p.s. One possible need for prayer – Cole’s food bill came to $6.66 at McDonalds, but apparently it didn’t matter. The day went fine.

2015 - Tour - Day 1
2015 - Tour - Day 1Jul 11, 2015Photos: 87