Queendale, Clay County, Kentucky - The Cardinal Singers, a vocal ensemble of select students from Red Bird Mission School, have traveled over much of the eastern United States, and even to Haiti, but were invited for the first time to perform at the United Methodist Church General Conference. Music Director Mark Smallwood has been waiting anxiously since November to learn what day the group would sing at the international gathering to be held April 24-May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.
Smallwood and the 20 singers chosen for this year's edition of Cardinal Singers are now focusing on rehearsals in preparation for their performance prior to morning prayers and during the noon break on Thursday, May 3. One of the songs will include the use of lap dulcimers at the request of Marcia McFee, General Conference Worship Coordinator, but various styles of Christian music displaying the versatility of the Cardinal Singers will also be performed.
The performances at General Conference will be incorporated into the week-long annual spring tour for the Cardinal Singers with performance stops at churches along the way in Georgia and possibly north Florida or southeast Tennessee. The itinerary is a little more rigorous than previous tours because of long distances needed to travel each day.
When asked what he hoped the students would take away from the experience, Smallwood said, “I want the students to have the chance to perform in a sizable venue like this [Tampa Convention Center] before an international audience.” He went on to say, “I don't know why we were chosen, but the opportunity to share is overwhelming. I am just hoping that people will see Christ in us.”
Donations are being sought in advance for those wishing to help with the rental of a motor coach that would reduce the travel stress for the students and advisors making the trip. Anyone interested in helping sponsor Cardinal Singers' travel to General Conference can donate online from the Red Bird Mission website, www.rbmission.org, by clicking the “Donate” button and specifying “Cardinal Singers tour” in the Description box. Checks made payable to “Red Bird Mission, Inc.” should also be marked “Cardinal Singers tour” and mailed to 70 Queendale Ctr, Beverly, KY 40913-9607.