March 12, 2014
The bus was full, and the bags were packed. And soon, they'll be singing in France, as part of the French-American Gospel Exchange.
"It's a big day, yes," laughed show producer Larry Vickers, as he took a break from trying to organize Wednesday morning's chaos.
Suitcases and carry-on bags were strewn about the parking lot of the old IGA supermarket in Staunton, as the group of 57 singers got ready to board a bus and head to France.
Vickers once lived in France. But for many of the singers making the trip, it will be a new experience.
"I've never been to Europe before, so I'm sort of nervous about the plane and everything," said Coltin Berry.
"I've been in Virginia all my life. I haven't traveled outside of Virginia," said Tina Brown. "So this is a big step for me."
The singers will be conducting workshops and performing for the next two weeks. They've been preparing for more than six months.
"We had to learn the French national anthem and stuff," said Berry. "I'm not very good at it."
"But we're just really excited to be able to go this far to spread the word of God," said Brown.