Spirit and Conscience: Hope Lutheran Church remembers remarkable choir camping trip program

Hope Lutheran Church is celebrating its unique choir camping trip program, which ran from 1967 to 2003, with a reunion on Saturday, Sept. 15. All choristers and chaperones that made these trips possible are invited.

These were not singing or performing tours, nor were they educational programs or religious retreats. They were travel experiences that supported the youth choir program in a special way by strengthening community among the kids coming to Hope from different neighborhoods and schools.

Across the miles of sightseeing, camping and recreation, bridges were built—bridges between choristers, between kids and adults, the bold and the shy, the city school and the suburban, the “in crowd” and the “left outs.” Exciting trip locations and sightseeing activities ensured the interest of all. Camping made it affordable and provided a superb setting for group bonding.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of the first choir camping trip to the Black Hills, with 27 Junior Choristers and eight chaperones. Hope Lutheran Church and its neighborhood have seen much change since the last trip in 2003, as have most all churches. But it’s unlikely that anything in the parish’s 90-year history has created as many remarkable memories for its kids as the choir trips. Sixty-nine trips were organized over the 36 years!

The Voigt Bus Company, which carried the groups to places like the Rocky Mountains, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Chicago, the Ozarks and Kansas City, will arrive in a vintage bus on Saturday to join in the celebration.

The church is at 5728 Cedar Ave. S. and the party is from 1 to 6 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation of school supplies, which will be distributed to our neighborhood elementary schools.

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