So, we decided to have weekly Saturday afternoon rehearsals for anyone who could make it in a central location, and other rehearsals on the north end of the mission or on the south. But what turned out to be the biggest bang for the buck was taking weekly rehearsals to one of the on-site locations during the midday lunch/prep-time. We were able to augment the small core group of 8-12 singers with 15-20 more from that single on-site location. I think we gave a pretty good accounting of ourselves. We even had 2 vocal soloists and a wonderful cellist. We also shared the program with a family of singers (and 2 violinists) who provided some nice variation.
Because there are many more young men serving Service Missions, I had many more young men than young women in my choir. We had about 20 young men and 6 young women. (Fortunately, for the performance, some of the Senior Couples augmented not only the Bass section, but also our Alto and Soprano sections.) We just had one short rehearsal to put all of the satellite groups together for this concert, and we had never been able to do a run-through to work out the logistics of the moving parts in a building none of us had ever been to before! Aside from a few hiccups and miscues (and the instant rearranging of where people could stand to perform because the Visiting Authorities needed to sit the entire time on the stand), I thought we did very well.
"President Russell M. Nelson frequently has extended an invitation to the people of the world that includes the promise of joy: 'Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come to their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.'
"Enduring joy is not a blessing reserved for a select few. Rather, every member of the Lord’s restored Church who is striving to remember and honor sacred covenants and keep the commandments can receive this gift, according to God’s will and timing. In this Christmas season, may each of us strive to appreciate more fully the supernal gift of joy. As we do so, may we begin to see with new eyes and hear with new ears as 'saints and angels sing,' as we 'repeat the sounding joy,' and as we 'ever worship God.'”
The closing number of the concert was "Joy to the World - SATB with Violins" sung by both the Family Singers and the Mission Choir accompanied by piano, organ, two violins and the cello. For the last verse, we invited the congregation to join us. What a joyous feeling was present during that song. The Spirit was strong and we went out of the gathering edified and ready to enjoy a wonderful Christmas Season.
The Church Mission Devotional script is now available for free download.