My Experience at Duke Chapel

This morning, my church choir sang at Duke Chapel in Durham, North Carolina. I had a feeling that it the service will make me feel like I am back at Bristol Cathedral. Well, back two years ago, I did not know if I wanted to go to so many church services. I went to church services at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral.

Most of my church services were at Bristol Cathedral, which were sung by my Church Choir. In all, my choir sang six Evensong services and one Eucharist services. The service that they did the best was the last one and during their anthem, I cried and through that reaction I knew just how transforming my pilgrimage throughout England was.

Below are pictures throughout my Bristol Pilgrimage. These are pictures from Stonehenge, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, and Old Sarum. However, the fellowship was the best part of the pilgrimage because if it wasn’t for the fellowship all of those amazing places would not have had the same impact they had.

On the bottom below, it is a picture of Shaun the Sheep in front of Bristol Cathedral. Throughout Bristol, Shaun the Sheep statues were hidden throughout Bristol as a fundraiser to help raise money for a children’s hospital.


Below is Duke Chapel. Yes, this post is supposed to be mainly about Duke Chapel, but I had to explain about the Bristol Pilgrimage. Duke Chapel looks similar to Salisbury Chapel in a way and also looks similar to Bristol Cathedral. In the prelude, I literally started crying when the choir started singing. I feel like I did that because of how incredible the choir was, because of beautiful Duke Chapel was, and due to being transported back to one of the Bristol Cathedral church services.

But there was one very special moment in this church services. They played the same anthem in the last Evensong. Well, I had the same reaction and I cried. I literally had the same reaction and that reaction reminded me of the impact that the Bristol Pilgrimage had on me.


Below are links to other posts I wrote relating to Bristol. One of them goes beyond the pilgrimage due to my family going up two days early.



Connection Between Les Mis and Stonehenge

I find an connection to Les Mis and Stonehenge in such a special way. But why do they feel connected?

As some may know, I went on a trip to England in 2015. The choir at my church was in residence at Bristol Cathedral, which meant that they were going to be singing there. So, the church took the choir and other members on a pilgrimage to places such as Old Sarum, Chepstow Castle, Bath, Stonehenge, Berkeley Castle, and more. The year was 2015 and the pilgrimage began on July 31st. A pilgrimage is very different than a vacation. To me, a pilgrim goes to scared and spiritual places to create a deeper relationship with God and to find more meaning. A tourist on the other hand would just go to a place to explore and not so much to look for the sacredness and spirituality of a specific place.

The paintings below are pictures of Stonehenge and the Finale of Les Mis. They each played a part in that England trip and helped make that trip quite special.

But what does all of this have to do with Les Mis? Les Mis was not part of the pilgrimage, but was part of my trip to England. My parents took my sister and I to England two days early. So in those days, on July 30th, my mom took me to the Queens Theatre to see Les Misérables, a musical I dreamed of seeing in the West End. This was my first time seeing the musical professionally. Les Mis is such a special musical and it directly in a way was a great musical to see the day before a pilgrimage.

The picture below is a picture of me at the stage door with Adam Bayjou, who was my Valjean for the night and he was an understudy and was the best Jean Valjean I ever saw.  I always get nervous when I hear I have an understudy, but this Valjean was honestly so good. As a matter of fact, the entire cast was brilliant and due to finally seeing Les Mis in London, I found a bigger appreciation of a musical that changed the way I view musicals.


Why would Les Mis be a wonderful musical to see before a pilgrimage? To start things off, Les Mis deals with spiritual themes and is a spiritual journey. Les Mis is a tale of love, hope, sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion, humanity and redemption. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, goes on a spiritual journey when given a second chance at life. Seeing Les Mis in London was the best part of my trip to England.

Due to a pilgrimage being a spiritual journey, Les Mis fits perfectly. So the day after I went on Jean Valjean’s spiritual journey, I went on my own spiritual journey. Stonehenge was a “mountain top moment”. I really felt God’s Holy Spirit at Stonehenge. There was just something about the atmosphere that made Stonehenge so special. The strong wind felt like energy was going through you and felt like it was pulling you into Stonehenge. Stonehenge happened one week after I saw Les Mis in London.


This is a picture from Windsor Castle. Visiting Windsor Castle was the first part of the pilgrimage. I got to see the changing of the guards. The first time I saw a guard in England was the day we arrived. My original reason for wanting to go to London was just to see a guard and that idea came from a child.

The pictures below are Tintern Abbey (Pictures on the right) and Chepstow Castle (Picture on the left).  At first, I thought Tintern Abbey would be kind of boring in a way. At first, I did not see the sacredness of it, but eventually did. I noticed a white dove nestled in the corner and a dove is symbol of spirituality so I got something out of Tintern Abbey. Tintern Abbey was in Wales.

In total, this pilgrimage consisted of ten church services. We saw Evensong at Westminster, Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral, and the other services, which consisted of one Eucharist and six Evensongs. Everything combined on this trip including the two extra days all provided something wonderful to this trip. There were the big memories such as Stonehenge and Les Mis and there were other memories, but those two things I did were quite special. As for the church services, my favorite ones were the ones sung by our Church Choir. As each service continued, the choir just got better and better. I actually cried twice during this trip. The first was during Les Mis and the second was at the last Evensong when the Anthem made me tear up. That reaction during that church service really showed just how transforming the England trip was.

The picture below is right in front of the Bristol Cathedral. Hidden throughout Bristol at the time, there were about seventy or so Shaun the Sheep statues as a fundraiser for a children’s hospital. Throughout my stay in Bristol, my family found about twenty one Shaun the Sheep statues.


The best part of the pilgrimage was not any of the places that we went to, but was something that was created. Obviously Les Mis was the best part of the trip, but the best part of the pilgrimage was the fellowship created by all seventy two pilgrims. The fellowship is what made all the sacred and spiritual places we went to even more special.

Stonehenge in many ways really shows the meaning of a pilgrimage because it really is a place where you can strongly feel God’s Holy Spirit. Les Mis linked directly to the pilgrimage because of its spiritual themes and the fact that like the pilgrimage, it was also a spiritual journey. I honestly could go on and on why both Les Mis and the pilgrimage was as special as they were.

The Servant Song Meaning

Wow! There are so many songs to choose from. Multiple songs have some kind of meaning to me.

One important song is “The Servant Song”. I first heard it in elementary school at Kanuga, an Episcopalian Conference Center. Whenever I listen to it, memories of Kanuga come back to me. From third grade all the way to eighth grade, we had the same person lead the music and usually the Servant Song was one of the songs we would sing. It was one of the first Christian songs I ever heard and fell in love with.

But now the song has double meaning. Not only does it remind me of Kanuga, it also reminds me of the Bristol Pilgrimage. One of the things that my family did in Bristol was visit St. Mary Redcliffe, a beautiful church located in Bristol. There was a moment where I thought of some lyrics from the song and it reminded me of the pilgrimage.

The lyrics in the photo below ended up becoming the motto of the trip. The fellowship was the best part of the pilgrimage. All seventy-two of us were pilgrims on a spiritual journey exploring many sacred places like Stonehenge, Tintern Abbey, and Old Sarum. We traveled to many places like Chepstow, Salisbury, and Bath. We ended up helping each other throughout the trip and formed a close bond. So those lyrics perfectly fit how transforming the trip was.


One special part to note about the pilgrimage is the number of church services that we attended. We attended two Eucharist services and eight Evensong services. Two of those church services were in London. Our two London services were Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Evensong at WestMinster. There was one Evensong service at Salisbury Cathedral. The rest of the services were at Bristol Cathedral. It was at the final Evensong where I truly realized just how transforming the trip was.

The fact that this song has a double meaning makes this song extra special to me. I love how one song can have more then one memory attached to it. I am so glad I love Christian music the way I do. It helps strengthen my relationship with God.


Fellowship in Bristol

As many may know by now, I went on a pilgrimage last summer because our church choir was in residence at the Bristol Cathedral. The pilgrimage started on July 31st and lasted August 10th. Throughout the pilgrimage, we would explore many ancient and scared places.

Some of those places included the “mountain-top” Stonehenge, the medieval Berkeley Castle, Windsor Castle, Tintern Abbey, and more.We also attended ten different church services: most of which would be Evensong. However, seeing those places and feeling sacredness of those places was not the best part of the pilgrimage.

It was in fact the fellowship that the group shared for each other. We would be talking about our experiences seeing all of those places. We would help others find a way to feel the sacredness of a certain place. Those spiritual places would not have been as meaningful if the group did not the close bond that we had. The same also goes for the various church services. In fact, that fellowship still exists and gives me a feeling of how much the trip meant to me.

I did not realize how much the trip transformed me and my spirituality until the final Evensong. I really did not think I would gain anything out of any of the church services. But so glad I made the decision to go to each of them because it played such a huge part of the trip. It got to the anthem of the final Evensong and I cried. Through that reaction, I just knew how memorable, transforming, and spiritual the trip was.

There is no way to describe why I enjoyed the trip as much as I did. It even is difficult to  explain the impact it had on me. It still is hard to describe it in just a few words. But if I had to pick on word to describe the trip, it would have to something like “transforming” or “spiritual”. It will always be one of the biggest memories of my life.




Bristol Pilgrimage Memory Book

For today’s post, I had to find inspiration from another source. I went to Facebook and noticed that I posted more then once about the England memory book I am working on with my dad. The two of us have been collaborating  together on this book all summer. The first thing we had to do was to assemble all the pictures. Finding all the pictures was quite a challenge. That was due to the fact that some memories are dealing with a lot of pictures. Once the pictures were assembled, dad picked out the theme. He even was able to change the way each page looked. There were different layouts for the different pages.

Once all of the layouts were decided, it was time to add the different pictures. We made sure to put the pictures in the order when they happened. Some cases we couldn’t do that, but for the most part we could.

My main responsibility was writing everything down. That was due to my journaling that I did during that trip. Later on my dad would edit what I had written. Some parts would be taken out or some parts would be lengthened. It was only my responsibility when I wrote about parts of that trip that my dad didn’t do. We are now on the final stage of going over everything one more time. It is just to see if we could any more text or if it already looks good to us.

To summarize, the Bristol Pilgrimage was last summer. Our church choir was in residence at the Bristol  Cathedral. The pilgrimage would take us to three castles, Old Sarum, Bath, Stonehenge, ten church services- one: WestMinster, one: Salisbury Cathedral, one: St. Paul’s Cathedral, seven: Bristol Cathedral. On top of the pilgrimage, my family went up a few days early to experience more of London. During those days, I dreamed a dream when I saw Les Mis in the West End. My mom took me and we were nine rows back from the stage and ended up being more then expected. The fact that I actually saw an inspirational, epic, and powerful musical the day before a pilgrimage was perfect. In Les Mis, Jean Valjean, the protagonist, goes on a spiritual journey to become a better man. The show reflects themes of love, hope, forgiveness, humanity, and redemption along with other spiritual themes. A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey of getting closer to God. A pilgrim goes on a trip to look for something deeper and an deeper understanding of the Christian church.


Bristol Pilgrimage


Tourists and Pilgrims

What is the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim?

In England, I felt like both a tourist and a pilgrim. In my opinion, a tourist is someone who is just going somewhere for fun. I was mainly in England for a pilgrimage because our church choir was in residence at the Bristol Cathedral. For most of the trip, I would be exploring places that were quite foreign to me.

The pilgrimage began on July 31st, but my family arrived two days early in order to get used to the time difference. Those two days are the days I felt much more like a tourist then a pilgrim. All we did the first day was walk around London and I was able to see some of London’s most well-known attractions. They included Big Ben, the London Eye, and WestMinster. We even got to see a guard, which is what originally made me interested in going to London in the first place.

It wasn’t until the second day I started to get something more  out of the trip. It felt like my family truly got to do something. We spent the morning at Platform 9 3/4 quarters at King’s Cross Station. After that, my family headed over to Paddington Station for some exploring.

In fact, the best part of that trip happened the night of July 30th. My mom took me to the West End to see Les Mis, which was a dream come true. That night I only had one understudy for Valjean. The moment the show began, I knew it was more then excepted. The way the opening notes affected me was how I knew that I was in for a treat. Throughout the entire show, I felt a ton of positive and negative emotions. Les Mis is just that kind of musical that gets better each time you see it. It speaks deeply in your soul and heart and there are no words to describe the emotional impact. The show is so heartbreaking, but so inspirational at the same time. The acting was brilliant from the ensemble to the leads. I even got to meet the actor who played Valjean at the Stage Door and he signed a my playbill and mom took a picture.

As far as being a pilgrim goes, they search for something deeper then a tourist. Because most of the trip was a pilgrimage, I knew that I would be going on a spiritual journey. It made perfect sense that I saw Les Mis the day before the pilgrimage began because both are spiritual journeys.

Moments that stand out in the pilgrimage are Windsor Castle, Berkeley Castle, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, 10 church services at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral,  and ultimately Bristol Cathedral, and Stonehenge. Stonehenge was the Mountain-Top moment of the pilgrimage. The moment I got there, I could feel the sacredness of that place due to the atmosphere, which had dark clouds circling around it with lots of wind. Seeing services at Bristol Cathedral were the best because it was our church choir singing there. It wasn’t until the final Evensong that I realized just how transforming the trip was.

It was none of the things that we did that was the best part of being a pilgrim. It was the fellowship among the 72 pilgrims had for each other because it added meaning to each of the things that we did. Even today, I can still feel the same fellowship when I am church.

In your opinion, what is the difference between a pilgrim and a tourist?

Below are links that reflect this post

Spirituality of Bristol Pilgrimage

Mirror Characters of Les Mis

“I Dreamed a Dream”


Voyage of Life

Dear Readers,

I blog for two different audiences. I like to blog to those who love musicals and those who are spiritual. The two hardly overlap, but they both have awe and wonder in them. I hope my blog inspires everyone who reads it. The things I blog about are meaningful to me. I am a spatially strong person who extremely loves musicals.

The thing about life is you have no idea how it is going to turn out. You don’t know what kind of journeys you will have. You don’t know who will be a part of this voyage. Part of your life is determined by God and the rest by yourself. I had quite a voyage so far, which has surprised me in unexpected, but wonderful ways. You never know which path your voyage will end up. But remember, your voyage is what you make of it.

I was raised to be a Christian and that helps my voyage a lot. Trusting in the Lord makes life so much easier, even though yes it still will be challenging. I even was able to develop a strong love for contemporary Christian music. That love came from just one very special place.That place was Kanuga, an Episcopalian Conference Center, in the mountains. Through Kanuga, I learned that there is a God. But the most transforming part of Kanuga was Winterlight, a high school youth conference, that I did for two years. Through that event, my interest in Christian music turned into a love for that kind of music. Singing and listening to the kind of music just fills my heart with my Holy Spirit and I just feel so connected to Christ.  Just last year, I went on my first pilgrimage to England. Linked below is a summary of my pilgrimage to Bristol.

Spirituality of Bristol Pilgrimage

My life also has consisted of going to musicals. Growing up, I developed this interest for musicals. When I was in elementary school, I saw musicals such as Cats, Lion King,  and Beauty and the Beast live. But I also was exposed to musicals through movies such as Aladdin, Sound of Music, and Annie. But when I saw Wicked on Broadway in 2006, the show sparked my love for musicals. It made musicals head in the right direction to eventually turn into a passion. The real passion for musicals really came from 2012 when I first watched the movie musical of Les Mis. I later would develop an obsession for that inspirational musical, which would led me to seeing the stage show and the 25th anniversary concert. The first time I saw the stage show of Les Mis was in 2013 at my community college. But the first professional performance I saw of it was in London and I truly experienced the true power of the musical. Linked below is a description of what I believe musicals to be capable of.

Musical Capability