It is 1958. Fifty professional musicians (24 singers, 26 instrumentalists) leave New York to tour the country as the James Wilton Chorale under the leadership of the Chorale’s founder, Jimmy Wilton.
There are eight main characters, five singers and three instrumentalists. As this racially and religiously mixed group travels south, tensions rise and the specters of segregation, racism, anti-Semitism, and other prejudices plague the Chorale. Conductor Jimmy Wilton struggles to keep the group focused on music, despite the horrific lengths to which some Southerners go to protect their “white” way of life. The experience leaves deep scars on all, both physical and emotional.
After its stint in the South, the tour moves on to the mid-West, dealing with a major snowstorm that disrupts their movements. By the time the group starts moving back into the northeast and begins to face the end of the tour and their return to life in New York City, dramatic damages have been done.
Everyone tries to come to grips with the reality of the life they now have to deal with. The specter of their experiences continues to invade their lives until the final denoument.