The day started with us doing our final packing before having our last breakfast with our New York hosts.  It seemed that a really special breakfast was prepared for the occasion.  Someone else had however expressed the opinion earlier that their breakfasts seemed to get better by the day, with the first one being a good one.  After an exchange of gifts we said our goodbyes and left for Fellowship Moravian.  The morning devotion was done by Marilyn Hitzeroth.

After our final rehearsal, t-shirts were handed out to all of us, and closing devotions were led by Rev Johnson. It was then time to pack the bus for our journey to Bethlehem, PA.  Olivia McCammon and Rosalee Matthews accompanied us on this journey in order to officially hand us over to the Bethlehem committee.  We enjoyed a packed lunch on the bus, and were able to get in some much needed sleep.  Our time in New York was filled with excitement.  We enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of everyone we met.  These included members from virtually all the Moravian Congregations in New York.  We were able to visit four congregations, with all four congregations of Staten Island working together to receive there.  Our schedule was hectic and exhausting, but one can expect no less if one wants to see as much as you can of New York in four days.  The only sad part about our stay was the little time we spent with our host, but this could hardly be avoided.
On arrival in Bethlehem, we were met by Nancy Beitel-Vessels, Donald Kemmerer, Ronald Raymond  Nancy Jacoby, as well as some hosts at East Hills Moravian Church.  After a brief reception we were taken to our host families, leaving us just over an hour to meet for pizzas and a joint rehearsal with the Bethlehem Municipal Band.

After a brief meeting of some of our hosts, we met for a pizza party with the members of the Bethlem Municipal Band in their rehearsal room.  This was followed by a tough three-and-a-half hour rehearsal.  We had to sightread several pieces, including marches played at breakneck speed.  They in turn had to sightread our African pieces.  In all, we had to work our way through more than 20 pieces for a concert to be held in 2 days time.  It was fun, but also exhausting.  After the rehearsal there was some more pizza to be had, before we finally.  With the strenuous spell of sightseeing in New York out of the way, we were now truly into a strenuous spell of music.

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day 6: friday 10 july 2009