I just returned from a wonderful little "date" with my 8 year old son...Ian. It wasn't planned really. I received a call from my Aunt Debbie last night. I've mentioned her before...she sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Apparently she had extra tickets to the choirs Pioneer Day Commemoration / 80th anniversary of "Music and the Spoken Word". My Grandmother really wanted to attend but cant go alone as she needs a wheelchair and none of Debbie's kids could go. She wondered if I would go and take my Grandma. You just don't turn down tickets to one of their performances. They are hard to come by...almost impossible to get sometimes. So, I agreed and was even able to take Ian because he is 8, the minimum age requirement. Here we are in Grandmas Cadillac...being chauffeured by my cousin AJ.
It was fun to spend some alone time with him even if it wasn't something that he would have chosen to attend. I think he enjoyed it though. I knew of course that the performance would not disappoint but I was not prepared for how much it would touch me. Here is Ian just before the concert started....
I'll admit to being a tad more emotional than the average person...okay a lot more emotional but tonight wasn't just about boo-hooing. It was about feeling energy and passion. It was pride and gratitude. It was just 'Awesome' for lack of a better word. I have only seen live performances of the choir for Christmas so this opportunity to hear such a variety of music was a treat. Thank you Debbie for thinking of me enough to offer me the tickets. I'm happy of course that my Grandma was able to go, but it turned out to an unexpected gift for me as well.
As for Mr. Ian, at one point he leaned over and said: "Mom, you re not crying are you? Why are you crying?" I explained to him afterward that music really moves me....it stirs something up deep inside my heart.....I think it fell on deaf ears. That's OK...one day he will understand. A really cool moment happened before the concert even started. The buzz of people trying to find their seats just stopped suddenly and everyone stood up. I wasn't sure what was happening at first and then I saw him. President Monson (Prophet of my church) had walked into the room. Ian was so excited but couldn't really see him unfortunately. It was pretty cool to know that he was there watching the concert with us.
So, some of my favorites of the night...and there were many. "Come Come ye Saints"... this song by itself is such an amazing bit of music but when it is sung by this magnificent choir, it takes on an entirely new meaning. The arrangement and the way they sang it would make you think that each one of those choir members personally made that trek across the United States in search of religious freedom. Amazing. Then they sang "Over the Rainbow"....enough said. Beautiful. The point that they got me though was when they sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"....this happens to be one of my all time favorite songs and after they finished, they got the first of many standing ovations. It was that good. I was bawling. They followed it with "I Feel My Saviors Love" another major favorite. Everything after that was a blur for me as I soaked in the sound of their voices mixed with the amazing orchestra. I can remember thinking to myself.... it does not matter if you are Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, or Atheist....when you listen to this group of angelic voices, if you are not completely moved (to tears in some cases), you cannot be human. As if to prove this point, they began to sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"....have you heard the choirs rendition of this song? It is Grammy award winning you know, and deservedly so. Unbelievable. What a treat this night was for me. It reminded me of everything that I am grateful for...My freedom - not only as an American but also the freedom to practice the religion of my choice, My family - especially those that came so long before me and paved the way for my family to be where it is today. What an amazing and truly difficult journey those people made just so they could live peacefully and worship the way they wanted. I cant even imagine the hardships they suffered.
I am also so very grateful for the love of music that I have inherited from many family members on both sides. I cannot imagine life without music....it does so much for the soul.....especially mine.