An Article from Aaron's Article ArchiveMusic is Heaven
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Music is Heaven
Wednesday, 24 September 2003 6:09 PM MDT
This past Sunday, after attending sacrament meeting at my home ward, I decided to visit my sister's singles ward. As I drove across town, I was listening to a BYU Singers CD Songs of the Soul, the second track in particular, a song titled Behold the Wounds in Jesus Hands. It is a very beautiful song, appropriate to the sabbath day. I turned up the volume above the road noise and the noise of the air conditioner, until the low notes on the pipe organ rumbled, and the pure toned voices of the choir rang through the air. Ah, heaven!
It was to the strains of this heavenly song that I pulled into the parking lot of the church house where her ward meets on 700 E. (across from Dixie State College) and parked. I went into the building to the southeast chapel where the Dixie College 14th Ward meets for sacrament meeting, entered the chapel, and as most of the bench pews were nigh unto full, I walked to the front and sat on a front side bench.
Not long after I arrived, and shortly before the meeting began, a group of people sat down on the row behind me, and on the first two rows of the center benches just to my right hand. Some of the faces looked familiar, and I identified several as members of the Tuacahn contingent—that's my term for the group of talented young men and women who have been performing at the Tuahcan Amphitheater in the various musicals during this summer. I was delighted to realize who these folks were, because I knew they were very talented musically, which meant that singing the congregational hymns would be particularly enjoyable for me. I love singing among others who can sing harmony, as I love to do so myself. I was grinning inwardly.
The opening hymn, and the sacrament hymn were both as enjoyable as expected. I did notice that there would be no rest hymn, but didn't think much about it. The first two speakers gave good talks, food for thought. I was glad I came. Then, before the final speaker, to my surprise, the several rows around me stood almost in unison, and filed up onto the stand. Wonderful, I thought, the group of Tuacahn folks were going to share their talents and present a special musical number. Now the missing rest hymn made sense.
Two brethren of the group sat down at the organ console while the rest of the group spread across the front, standing, single file, facing the congregation. They stood almost exactly like I remember doing so many times when singing with the Dixie College Institute group "Inspiration" for three years under the superb direction of Dr. Paul Searle. A pang of longing to sing with just such a group of singers momentarily distracted me.
Then the music began. And it was familiar! Very familiar! Unusually familiar! What? They were singing Behold the Wounds in Jesus Hands, the very same song (and it sounded like the same arrangement too) I'd been listening to before I came in. They sang it wonderfully and well. My heart filled with gratitude to Heavenly Father for beautiful, uplifting, sacred music, and for brothers and sisters who willingly exercised their talents to bring that music into the meeting. Ah, heaven!
The high council member who spoke next did a wonderful job. I was glad I came and visited.
Good music is dear to my heart, a core part of my essense. I love to sing, though I don't have the skills those singers do (and that my mother has in spades) for performing solo, but I can blend my voice with a choral group, holding a harmony part against other nearby parts even if I'm the only voice on that part. Since I'm a baritone, I end up singing tenor if it doesn't go too high, or bass if it doesn't go very low. I played trombone throughout high school, and even for a bit at Dixie College, but haven't touched one for many years now. Likewise, I can plunk a bit out on the piano, but because I didn't practice, I can't really play. But I do have a superb ear for music, and have excellent relative pitch and a decent pitch memory (though I will tend to edge sharpward singing a capella).
Just yestarday while coming back from a work-out at the St. George Recreation Center, I was thinking about my happy song, one of my favorite tracks from my Telarc Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra CD, Round Up. My happy song is composer Elmer Bernstein's Theme from the Magnificent Seven, the arrangement and performance the Cincinnati Pops plays on that CD. I call it my happy song because no matter what, when I hear it, a wave of euphoric happiness inevitably sweeps over me.
I love music of many varieties, from classical, orchestral pops, movie and television themes (John Williams of Star Wars fame is one of my favorites), to big band jazz, tuneful contemporary jazz, the vocal art of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Nora Jones (to whom I was recently introduced by my sister Janna, who has a knack for finding and introducing me to good stuff), folk of many flavors, and bluegrass, to rock, pop, and country.
About the only genre of so-called music I don't care for is rap, but I reserve the right to change my mind at any time should I hear a rap track that isn't crude or degrading that I like.
When I make a list like that, it is by no means exhaustive, nor even necessarily accurately reflective of my tastes. It's just a sampling off the top of my head, and the list would likely vary depending on what day you asked.
I suppose I have my mother to thank for my wide ranging musical tastes. She exposed me to many flavors and styles as I grew up. She is a singer with a dynamite voice that could have recorded and sold albums-o-plenty, but who chose a career of raising a family instead. She plays the piano and guitar, sings, and has written songs too.
My youngest sister is getting better and better on the violin. During the City of Hurricane's annual Peach Days, the string quartet she's a member of performed. They were stunning!
I just learned that my sister in New Jersey is having a blast singing with a 25-member choral ensemble, the Melochords. I'm green with envy, Shauna! It sounds fun.
Holy cow! I've rambled on and on yet again. If you don't know it by know, let me repeat: Music is Heaven!