So what to do? Some singers have suggested that they have to think about doing the laundry back home or making a grocery list. One friend said that she imagined one of the tenors doing pirouettes down the steps of the loft in a comical way. Others carry silly pictures in their folders to focus on during the "tearful tender" sections. I found that for me, thinking about the technical aspects of the music helps me hold it together.
"Turn Around" -- the title helped me think about the musical device called a "turn around." This is a device used between phrases to provide a springboard back into similar thematic material or to provide momentum into a modulation to a new key. So, for the actual Broadcast, I paid attention to how the harmonica played a beautiful little motive as the strings swelled just a bit to give it some life. I noticed how the horns and lower strings accompanied the men's verse all in the bass clef. Then, I listened as the modulation swelled with all of the instruments doing a grand crescendo with the harp glissando and then all of the singers came in with the last verse. Then I focused on how the woodwinds played a lovely accompaniment with the strings supporting the voices. And I watched how the vibraphone player was using four mallets all at the same time! And guess what? I made it through the song without weeping! Yay for me!
It is not that we singers do not want to give a proper interpretation of the words, it is more the problem of how to get through the performance and still be capable of singing at all! So, we do our best to put the interpretation into the voice through musical techniques -- crescendo, diminuendo, legato, staccato, shaping the line, etc --- and RELY TOTALLY ON THAT during the times when we have to strategize ways to hold our emotions together in the hope to be able to get through the song!
Listen to this beautiful and touching song on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir YouTube Channel. "Turn Around"