Well, I thought I could get back here every week to report after my choir rehearsal, but it didn’t quite work that way. For one thing, I get home around 10:00 p.m. on Sunday evening and I’m starving from being gone for 4.5 hours and singing my guts out. But I took notes and I am here to report.
This coming Sunday will be our 7th rehearsal. We’re at the point where the 380+ of us together are getting good. Real good. Chilling good. Bring us to tears from the chills good. Okay, so we’re no MoTab. We didn’t even have to audition to be in the choir, but that’s also what makes the experience so life altering. The feeling of “wow” I had when walking out of rehearsal last week isn’t necessarily because of the collective talent, but because of what we’ve overcome to get where we are. It’s because of the Spirit. Hearing our choir perform on the Saturday after Thanksgiving will not show you all that, but it will all add up to us sharing a piece of heaven. I wish you could all come to one of our rehearsals like my mom was able to last week. She gets it.
If you’ve never sung in a large choir (I’m not talking about ward choir) it’s about being stretched. A fabulous director like Merrilee or Mr. Wilson (from Emery High School) will push you and push you until you not only learn your part (soprano, alto, bass, etc.), but memorize the words and the inflection, the voice tone, the annunciation of words, the timing, how to not sing with the tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth, why it’s important to look silly sometimes when you sing, the dynamics (that’s getting louder and softer for dramatic effect–for those who are musically challenged)… When all of those things come together just right and you are a participant, the power overwhelms you from the inside out. I’ve performed as a dancer, pianist, and in duets and there is nothing like singing in choir like this.
Merrilee is so talented and experienced that she knows instantly what needs to be changed. She gives us the tools to correct it and then BAM! We’re amazing.
And then there are the words of Merrilee. We’ll be singing along and she catches something, stops to teach us how to do it the right way, and then it reminds her of a lesson she’s recently or not-so recently learned. She takes a moment to share so we really get the point. It’s impossible to get her words in context when you weren’t there, but these are still fabulous morsels.
“When you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘No’.”
In talking about giving our will to the Lord, she asks, “If I give up my will to Heavenly Father, who will I be?” She talked about how so many people in the world refuse to give up their will because they think it’s going with the flow of sameness, losing their identity. Then she brought up a talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell entitled “Repentance”(the theme of his mission as an Apostle). She told us to look it up, so I did. Elder Maxwell states: “…there is more individuality in those who are more holy. Sin, on the other hand, brings sameness; it shrinks us to addictive appetites and insubordinate impulses. For a brief surging, selfish moment, sin may create the illusion of individuality, but only as in the grunting, galloping Gadarene swine!”
Merrilee told a story of her driving down the freeway and seeing a lady standing on the side of the road near a parked car. Merrilee felt the prompting of the Spirit to turn around so she took the next exit. When she got back to the spot, the lady was gone. Merrilee asked Heavenly Father what that was about and the distinct answer was, “I was just seeing if you were listening.”
The great thing about life is “if it’s your fault, you can fix it.”
“We were not born with fear.” It was imposed upon us through this world. It’s not a divine quality.
“The Lord will not impose Himself on the disinterested or unprepared.”
And those are just a few of the highlights. Merrilee also says so many things that make us want to roll on the floor laughing, but for those you’d have to definitely be there. Between the laughing and the Spirit inflicted tears, it can be a challenge at times to pull it together and keep on singing.
By the way, our concert tickets became available yesterday. It’s Saturday, November 28th. Temple Square Tabernacle, Thanksgiving weekend. Two concerts, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. You can go here to order them online. It says, “Buy Tickets” but they are FREE.