After I graduated from high school, I attended Providence College and Theological Seminary
, a small Christian college near Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was a true privilege to attend Prov, and one of my favorite parts about attending it was being in one of the choirs, known as the College Singers. During my stint at Prov, we went on three touring expeditions: two out west through western Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and one three-week tour of England and Scottland.
Being the only blind person in the choir had its benefits: the funniest event of the whole experience was the time when I was permitted to walk through the ladies' changing room, with my completely and utterly sightless artificial eyes bugging out and my mouth agape, pretending to take in the beauty that was uselessly laid out before me. Other fun experiences included the singing itself, tours of some truly historical sites, and a lot of laughs with a lot of truly wonderful people.
Accomodation for these tours was provided by local churches. It was typical for members of the churches at which we sang to very graciously take us in for the night. The church would also make us a meal. After the meal was over, it was our practice to sing a "thank-you" song ... it was either "For Food and Hospitality" or a goofy little number that I suspect one of the profs wrote under the influence of cafeteria food.
This particular day, we were going to give thanks to the church hosting us by singing "For Food and Hospitality". I walked up to Dr. Thiessen, our choir director, and asked him if I couldn't conduct the choir this once. Knowing that I had something of a sense of humor, and that this was not an official performance, Dr. Thiessen acquiessed. He had no idea what I was going to do.
The meal's finished: probably buns and cold cuts, that's what we usually got, except in England where every single church fed us quiche as if it were the newest, most exciting thing ever invented. Having devoured said meal, I walked up to the front of the room, amid some questioning laughter from people who had no idea what was coming next. I raised my hand and started to sing, and the choir fell in step as I started swinging my arms around like a madman in a completely unrealistic parody of choir conducting. We sort of made it to the end of the song. But that evening was my first and only choir-conducting experience, not to mention the most fun I've ever had giving thanks.