Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Influence of Sacred Music

A friend shared this article with me. I love it's message.

Let the Power of Religious Music Wash Over You.

By Jerry Johnston

Deseret News

Aug. 16, 2008

...The impressions left by music are usually the deepest impressions on the heart. I have a thought about religious music and such impressions that I share whenever someone will listen.

I think types of religious music are like bodies of water. The great oratorios, for instance -- "The Messiah," "Elijah," "The Creation" -- are like the great crashing waves of the sea. They wash over you, knock you off balance with their power and cleanse you.

The hymns are serene mountain lakes. They offer a shining surface filled with light, while underneath they reach depths that few can fathom.

Children's hymns are sparkling brooks -- like the little stream that gives and gives. They may be playful and fun, but the water they hold is the same water found in the lakes, rivers, and the seas.

The spirit -- the "living water" -- is just as potent in a brook as in the Sea of Galilee. In fact, one of my favorite children's songs was written by two grand masters. The music is by Josef Haydn, who wrote the thundering choruses of "The Creation." The words are by the legendary storyteller Rober Louis Stevenson, who gave the world "Treasure Island" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

You'd think  such a collaboration would produce a song that would rock the celestial speres and summon lightning from the skies. But the song that bears their names is sweet and simple -- the children's song, "Thanks to the Father."

Thanks to the Father, we will bring.

For he gives us everything.

And when that song is sung from the heart of a child, it can be just as moving as the solos from the loftiest oratorio.

The "living water" of religious songs is always alive, always fresh and invigorating -- whether it "lives" in an ocean or in a teacup.

Photo by Randy 2003

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Choir and the Cathedral

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square were invited to perform in the opening concert of the Madeleine Festival of the Arts. This year marks the cathedral's 100th anniversary. In the words of the Festival's Chairman, "We wanted something special so we selected a 'local group'." That comment received some chuckles... "We found the world's greatest choir just three blocks away!" 

It was interesting to hear that this was the choir's second-ever visit to this catholic cathedral. I personally have performed there many times as a freelance musician, but never with 365 musicians. It was an overwhelming sound. The choir and orchestra definitely infused this landmark building with the Spirit!
The year 2009 marks another anniversary. The Orchestra at Temple Square is 10 years old! What an incredible opportunity this has been to perform with the Tabernacle Choir. I thank President Hinckley for his vision and inspiration. Choir President Mac Christensen once reminded us, "Music is not our mission. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is our mission. Music is the means by which we accomplish that mission." I am grateful for this experience.