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CARTHAGE, NY (Sept. 21-24)

Hello all! We officially began our tour at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, leaving our house as the sun rose with a beautiful sky, the few clouds lined in silver. We were convinced this sight must be foreshadowing our trip, but perhaps it was preparing us for the adversity we would face a mere 6 hours later. We had just crossed the border into New York from Pennsylvania, and decided to take the 30 minute detour to Niagara Falls. Little did we know this would soon turn into a 7 hour detour! Cruising over a bridge on Grande Island, someone six cars ahead of us slammed on the brakes for some unbeknownst reason, leading to a six-car fender bender (*this would have been the ideal time to see the cloud with silver lining*). The perpetrator of the accident must not have taken too much damage, because they took off right after the collision. We are so thankful that nobody involved was injured, and also that we weren't hit from behind with all our sound equipment. Our car took some damage, but nothing that could keep her from rolling the additional four hours to Carthage, New York.

We did not let these unfortunate events keep us down too long (although there were tense times, including dozens of phone calls asking mom and dad for advice). After the whole ordeal was sorted out, we decided to finish our Niagara detour with our newly furnished minivan, sporting five bungee cords and a couple sympathy bandaids that felt necessary at the time. The falls were magnificent at sunset. Exploring them was a great opportunity to release some of our energy, putting into perspective the overall insignificance of our mishap. We felt small yet empowered by the natural energy of the falls, motivated to continue forth with a positive attitude, excited to share what we have with loving people wherever we go.

It was a marathon day, but a day that will probably be revisited many times in the years to come, which cannot be said about many days.

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We rolled into Carthage around midnight, immediately greeted warmly by our hosts, Marvin and Linda Zehr. The Zehrs have been graciously understanding and helpful as we work to sort out everything that needs sorting out after an accident. We had the opportunity to play at Beaver Camp on the last day of summer, accompanied by unseasonably beautiful weather in an acoustically live pavilion full of welcoming people. Morning worship was followed by a potluck and some fun, kicking the soccer ball around with Emma (Marvin and Linda's daughter) and their two exchange students, Tommy (China) and Tatia (Georgia).

Later that afternoon, we stopped to visit Marvin's sister, Ellie, who has fought colon cancer with more spunk and humor than most healthy people. We had the opportunity to sing a couple songs to her as she was surrounded by loved ones. An especially meaningful moment came after singing our father's arrangement of Psalm 23, which Ellie's husband had just read to her the night previous.

Later on Sunday the 22nd, the Zehrs again helped us pack and unpack our gear into Maple Ridge Barn, a really cool venue for our first real night concert of tour. Surrounded by beautiful people, a beautiful space, and wonderful scenery (Maple Ridge claims the biggest tubing hill east of the Mississippi), we had a wonderful time performing with those who attended.

On Monday the 23rd, we got to sing for an eager group of music nerds (like us :) at Carthage Central School, where Mr. Zehr teaches music. We gave a presentation of our music, explaining how we cover different styles and genres, sharing some of our original music as well. Next, we sat in on a music theory class where we shared a bit of our story. We listened to some of the students' work as well. We capped off the day by cheering on Emma and the rest of the Carthage Comets to victory as they won the soccer game 2-0.

Tonight we will be singing for the historic Carthage Music Club, which wrap up our time in Carthage.

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