Sunday, May 5, 2013

Choir

Well, it's official -- I've completed my training and am now a full-blown member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I never thought this day would come (actually, it came a couple weeks ago); it all feels so unreal to me.

This morning in our broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word" we sang "the Battle Hymn of the Republic". That is, to me, a quintessential Mormon Tabernacle Choir piece. And I got to sing it with them. Me. Are we sure this is really happening? Someone pinch me, please.

Every Sunday when I stand in the choir loft I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of this opportunity. I have always wanted to be in the Choir, but for the past several years in particular I have doubted whether I could accomplish such a lofty goal. I feel so grateful to my friends and family who encouraged me to try, despite my fears, because they could see how badly I wanted this experience. I am especially lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive husband, who is so proud of me and acts like I'm the most talented singer in the world. Which, I am not. That becomes apparent to me more each week as I stand surrounded by superb musicians.

I hope I never lose perspective of how amazing this is. It's embarrassing to get emotional every time I sing, "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again", but I hope I never become desensitized to what a magnificent and special opportunity this is.

Singing in April General Conference was perhaps the most incredible of my choir experiences thus far -- even though it was, to some degree, the most stressful and exhausting. Take that Sunday morning, for instance:

I was not slated to sing in Sunday morning Conference or in "Music and the Spoken Word" that weekend, but since I was still required to be present Scott and I got a hotel room in Salt Lake City for Saturday night. Sunday morning I overslept and left the hotel late. As I rushed out of the parking lot, I turned the wrong way down a one-way street in downtown Salt Lake, and almost hit an oncoming car. Startled and frazzled, I proceeded to get lost twice on my way to the LDS Conference Center. Once in the parking garage at the Conference Center, I could not find a parking spot on my normal level and had to go up two levels to park. I was lost again, and was about to be late for rehearsal. I didn't have my music, nor was I wearing the proper attire (my choir dress). I spotted some men from the Choir, and frantically followed them toward a door leading inside the Conference Center. However, since I was without a choir dress or proper identification, I was not allowed inside. I had a mini-meltdown in the parking lot, until I spotted one of the organists and asked for help. She told me to follow her, and led me into the choir loft just as rehearsal began. I was not in my choir dress, nor did I have my music, but I was there. Good enough. I retreated into the far back corner, hoping no one would notice what a blubbering mess I'd become.

Just then, the women's seating coordinator approached me and said they needed me to sing in the broadcast and the Sunday morning session of Conference. She asked why I wasn't dressed but said, "Never mind," when I began to ramble incomprehensibly about the terrible morning I had. She took me down the stairs and introduced me to a security guard who bore striking resemblance to Kevin Costner. I rode on a golf cart-type thingy with "Kevin", all the way to the Tabernacle, where I raced to Women's Wardrobe and to the music library, then back to the Conference Center on the cart. I got there just in time to be seated for the broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word." Whew. Never mind that I didn't know the music, or that I had about 20 minutes to memorize 4 different songs. I was just happy to be there, alive and in one piece.

Through much of the broadcast I prayed the camera wouldn't stop on me, since I didn't want to be caught mouthing the wrong words. And apparently my prayers were heard, because from what I understand I didn't make a fool of myself. That Sunday morning session of General Conference was one of the most edifying experiences I've ever had. And, to top it off, we sang, "Come, Come Ye Saints" as the closing hymn. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir version. And I got to be a part of that. As I sang the last high note, I thought I might explode -- it was as though my testimony of the gospel and my overwhelming love for the Savior were bursting right out of my chest. I was so overcome with gratitude for my blessings, that I wept silently through the closing prayer.

Again I say, I hope this never gets old. I am so lucky to be a part of this organization, and to bear my testimony weekly through music. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and I'm eager to make the most of this very special opportunity.

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