Sunday, September 28, 2008

Music, 9/28/08

Before I get started, I would like to invite those of you who read this blog somewhat regularly to sign up as a follower of the blog. I know most people don't have time to leave comments or don't know how, but if you would just leave your "footprints" by noting that you do read it, it would be very nice to see that you are there.

OK, last night as I was ironing my lazy "wrinkle-free" white shirts, I played a DVD that the Coops had given me some time ago called "A Thanksgiving of American Folk Songs" done by all of the choirs and orchestra of Brigham Young University. It is one of my favorite collections of music and it had special impact in seeing the students with their intensity and earnestness in following the directors and portraying the music that moves them. Their concentration and devotion to the directors is intense.

I also enjoy seeing the expressions of the directors, each portraying and evoking the music they feel as they wring every drop of energy out of those musicians. There is one part in one very powerful section of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" when the massed choirs and orchestra are poised to deliver and Mac Wilberg raises both arms over his head and brings them down like a woodsman with an axe and the expression on his face, I can just hear him saying to those kids, "OK lets give it to them, NOW! It is wonderful. That moment is as captivating as anything I can remember right now.

I guess it is especially thrilling to me because of my few years directing our ward choir. I miss them so much. That was the pinnacle of my church career as far as pure enjoyment goes. I have had fun in scouting and my years as bishop of Arden Ward were very precious to me, but directing that choir was pure joy. I have never invested the time or energy to become a real musician like many of my friends have, but with the little natural talent and the deep feeling for music that I have combined with the energy I get from it, it was a powerful experience that was a wonderful gift to me from Heavenly Father.

Now as I watch the Tabernacle Choir perform or see things like this DVD of these wonderful young musicians, I get some of that same thrill and most of the time I end up in tears. Sometimes those tears are of regret at never fulfilling my dream of singing in the Tab Choir, sometimes they are of admiration for the performers' and the composer's ability to create the music that I am experiencing, sometimes they are for the memories that the music evokes (like my father's love of bagpipes), and sometimes they are of pure emotion brought out by the music and the moment. Great music done well by a mass of voices is thrilling to me, and to be a part of it, to sing in such a production, is better than food, better than sex, better than a thrill ride at Disneyland, better than anything I can imagine that we can experience here.

I cannot quite grasp how it is done in God's world, but I look forward to singing there with the great choruses of heaven. Maybe I can even have a chance to direct some small ensemble of 2 or 300 angels apprenticing for the big choir in one of those moving, great pieces of music God has inspired. Maybe . . . maybe, but isn't it wonderful to contemplate such things?

The salt burns my eyes and makes it hard to type, but I just want to thank God for music and the people that have made music with me over the years. It is the smell that makes the rose. It is the sweetness that makes the fruit. It is the light that makes the rainbow. It is the music that makes the life. I cannot imagine life without music.

What a life.


Doretta said...

Choir starts this afternoon. We will miss both of you. Thank you for sharing your feelings about music. We find our heart strings plucked by uplifting music. Brother Ballam said that he felt that many of the great musical works were written in the pre-existence and brought to memory interesting thought!
We love you, Bob and Doretta

Grandma Walker said...

I couldn't agree more with your comments about choir directing and the impact of music in our lives. Since moving to Utah, I haven't heard a ward choir that compares with the choir experiences that I have shared with you and Cindy, including your own directing. I have that same video of the Thanksgiving music and agree with you. I hope we can get together and share those choir experiences again in our next "realm" (assuming I'm good enough to get to the same place you do!)
Love ya...Barbara