|Choir soundcheck before the Columbus performance|
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
I’m writing this while on one of the most unique journeys of my life--on tour with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I’m writing unofficially, but as a happy participant.
My husband is a 2nd Bass in the Choir and has been a member for 17 years, and when we can manage it, I go with him on tour. Every other year or so the Choir takes their music on the road. This year, certain cities in the Midwest are the lucky ones--Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis.
Traveling with the Choir is like nothing else. The statistics are crazy. I've forgotten the exact number, but by the time you add the choir (350 or so), the orchestra (100?) staff, and lucky guests like me, there are over 600 people along. They charter three big jets to fly east, and then 11 buses take them from city to city. There are semis full of luggage and equipment since the Choir brings much of its own tech, staging, and sound. Yes, even an organ, although the big beautiful pipes have to stay home in Salt Lake City.
|handbells, waiting for the bell ringers|
This is the fifth trip I've taken with the Choir, so in some ways I’m a veteran, but I will never get used to what an amazing experience it is. Of course it’s super organized. By now these people really know what they’re doing. But they also know why they are doing it. Concert after concert, they bring their hearts, and people’s lives are touched. Members cry when they hear the songs of Zion, and they feel their connections reforged. Others sometimes feel the stirrings of the Spirit for the first time and stare in wonder: what is that feeling? I must know. I must feel it again.
Even someone like me--who’s attended more concerts than I can count--can’t get enough of sitting in the audience and feeling the music zing right down to my bones. I love to hear the murmurs from the people around me as they try to take it all in. Along with everyone else, I jump to my feet and clap my hands until they’re red when the last notes sound.
The Choir knows how much it means to these people, so they continue to give up their vacations, time, and energy to come out to members who sometimes feel isolated from the core of the Church--and to make new friends.
|orchestra member warming up|
For those who can’t make it to a concert in person, there are fantastic new ways to connect with the Choir. They've launched a beautiful new website at www.mormontabernaclechoir.org, and have their own YouTube channel where you can watch dozens of recordings for free, free, free. They are on Twitter and Facebook, too.
I like to say that music can be a shortcut to feeling the Spirit, and with a Tabernacle Choir concert, it’s so easy it almost feels like cheating... and I’m going back for second helpings tonight.
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