Every year the members of the Men's Chorus contribute $5-10 each in order to get a Christmas present for our conductor, Sister Hall. The last several years instead of getting something for her, we have tried to do something for others. Two years ago I had an amazing experience when we did a Sub-for-Santa for nine kids in a foster home. We raised the money, bought gifts and a tree, drove out to Sandy to deliver it all and sing for them at their doorstep. We did this all without her knowing and then presented her with the DVD of it at the end of the semester. One of the top ten experiences of my life.
This year was another incredibly uplifting experience. Sister Hall's father still lives in Wales and hasn't been to the U.S. in over ten years. His health is getting worse and it's pretty hard for him to get out here. I don't know whose idea it was, but the Men's Chorus bought a plane ticket for him to fly over here for Christmas. (We had the help of Sister Hall's husband and family to make this happen logistically.) We've been sending e-mails to each other and planning it for months without her knowing.
Then on Thursday, December 4 we were down in the Marriott Center practicing for Christmas Around the World. At the end we handed her a sweet little card with all of our signatures and the signature of her father. This whole time her dad was sneaking up behind her as she read the card aloud, already starting to get emotional without even knowing the biggest surprise. We asked her to turn around and she gasped. She quickly embraced him as we all applauded. It was a beautiful thing to witness. He was able to attend the Christmas Around the World concert one night and Celebration of Christmas the other. She has told us repeatedly that it's always been one of her biggest dreams to have her father there to see her do what she loves so much.
To finish it off, after our MTC devotional on Sunday, December 14, we all met in a room as we usually do to say goodbye and have a little snack. With her dad there we sang a song we had been learning without her knowing called, My Little Welsh Home. What a great way to bring in the Christmas spirit.