Sounds of Hope

I am not in the above pic – sorry.

When I was a senior in high school at Shenandoah High School in Indiana, I sang in our choir and went to try and get a first at state. That particular dream did not come true; however, at one point, I was introduced to Varner Chance, who ran “Sounds of Hope”.

Here’s the story: Sounds of Hope

SOH was a choir/orchestra of about 80 people who toured Europe and sang for different places. I auditioned for Mr. Chance and was granted a place in his choir as a 1st Tenor. I had not been raised well on music, so I was made fun of by many of the others in the group because I had no idea what the “Hallelujah Chorus” was.
I don’t know if I was actually in the choir school, but it was run by Varner Chance and was at Epworth Forest at the time.

I only got to go because, after all other possibilities had been finished, my dad said we didn’t have the money and needed about $200 for me to go. That was a lot back then and we had tried everything. He called Mr. Chance who said that, “by coincidence”, a tenor in a previous group had donated $200 to be given to a tenor who would not be allowed to go otherwise!
This was our conductor, Mr. Vernon H. Stinebaugh. I could not find a picture of Varner Chance.

We spent about 28 days on tour about 3 weeks in Europe. I was 18, just out of H.S. and not yet in college. I was able to visit Holland, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria (beautiful), Switzerland, England, Liechtenstein, and many other wonderful countries. I still have pictures somewhere but was unable to find them for this post.

Noordwijkerhout, Holland
This was one place (the first, I think) where we stayed.

I tried looking it up on the Internet, but I believe Mr. Chance has passed on and the SOH has closed down (at least, administration has). I believe we rode about 3000 miles in our buses.  The Choir School that meets every summer and was started by Mr. Chance, began at Epworth Forest in Northern Indiana.  I understand that it still continues each summer at Anderson University.

I would love to return to all of the places I had been and just remember. Of course, we know that memories are always different than the actual events. That month changed my life. It still affects it and I am so glad that I can recall most of it; the stroke did not take it away.
Where have you traveled that has affected you the most?


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  • Marisa  On September 27, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Ecuador… But you knew I was going to acknowledge that before I penned it, didn’t you?! That summer forever changed my life. Just seeing a different culture and getting to know a people who speak a different language was unbelievable for me… A gal from the Midwest who had never traversed out of the country. What a gift to be able to experience that… I’m sure you share the same sentiments 😀


  • bert0001  On September 27, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Surinam always topped my list, … its powerful nature and strong people made an impression on me that will last a lifetime. I was sent there in 1995 to deploy a computer network for their customs and excise, and later teach them how to operate and maintain it.
    Very recently India made a very strong impression on me too, but I don’t know wether time will put things in perspective and maybe demote this recent experiences to a lower level.


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