After a lovely Choral Evensong I attended at the Duke University Chapel, I took the bus back to St. Joseph's to conduct the first choir rehearsal of the Fall Semester.
So I was in the middle of my rehearsal when the Vicar entered the church and said she needed to see me. So I apologised to my choristers and followed her out the church. We went towards the Parish Hall. I had no idea what she needed me for, but I continued to follow her.
We went into the Parish Hall, and much to my surprise, my friends, both from St. Joseph's and non-St. Joseph's friends, were sitting around a table laden with cookies and a huge cake with a heap of candles on it! There was also a bouquet of sunflowers on the table. I was very very surprised! My friend, Maria D., was the organiser of this entire thing, and she had told the choir what she'd intended to do. There was a huge card that apparently people were signing after the service last Sunday that was presented to me. I had no idea they had planned all this!
So we sat, talked, ate cake and cookies, drank sparkling apple and grape juice, and then they took me out to one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in the area, China Palace.
Luckily, the anthem I chose for Sunday is one we've done before, and is simple enough: A Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester by L.J. White.
So thanks to Maria as well as to my friends who were present. It was, indeed, a lovely surprise. :)