Grant Magness, youth director at Trinity United Methodist, said the group went to inner-city churches on a 12-day tour with their musical “Don’t Stop Believing” that included stops in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago.
This was the 11th year the church group has toured northern inner-city churches.
Magness said the trip was an “amazing experience for the youth.”
“It’s one thing to go on vacation, but it’s another thing to go on a tour like this and stay in inner-city churches,” Magness said.
Danielle Fielder, one of the youth on the trip, said it was like going on vacation, except without showers.
“It was a lot of fun, except for getting booed off stage once,” she said.
Fielder — who played the devil in this year’s Trinity musical production — said students at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Southwest Philadelphia booed her off stage not because she was a bad singer, but simply because she was “bad.”
Kristen McConkey said Philadelphia — where she plans to move in the fall and attend Villanova University — is her favorite location among all of the places the group went on their tour.
“Really powerful moments always happen to me in Philadelphia,” she said.
She said she hopes to continue having them and working with students at Cornerstone and Arch Street United Methodist Church, where the students stayed during their time in the city of brotherly love.
For Will Rhinehart — who played recurring musical character Jake Blues for this year’s production — it was his last tour with the choir. He said it was a more meaningful trip this year because he was “more invested” in the experience.
“It was definitely more of a spiritual experience than I normally would have had,” he said.
The group wrapped up their trip in Indianapolis and returned for a free concert at the Rome City Auditorium last Monday.
Students from Trinity United Methodist will be heading on a trip to South Georgia and North Florida at the end of July, and they are planning a Labor Day performance of their musical on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.