At Stake Conference yesterday, my daughter's choir sang for the first time in the history of their new Stake. Just 20 people and a piano, and yet they made a big impact on the meeting. The Visiting General Authority and new Stake Presidency swamped her with compliments before she could even stand up from her seat after the closing prayer. "How did you do that? Your choir was so small and yet they were just wonderful!" "No, really, how did you do that?"
What they really meant, I think, was that they hadn't been in meetings with a well-rehearsed choir in so long, that they had forgotten the difference live music makes. These choir members had only had a few rehearsals, but they were diligent, sincere, and had prayed to have the Spirit with them as they sang. Their impact was powerful.
Of course, as a choir director, my daughter worked with these singers (that she had barely met) to help them learn the notes, how to blend, and to work out good balance among the voices. With the help of a good pianist, they were able to sing the selections that had a few sections of 4-part hymn-style harmony, and several sections including counterpoint, but mostly they just sang in unison. This music was chosen specifically because it could make them sound grander than they were.
What a live choir can offer is real people singing their hearts out. The choir director helps them pay attention to musical interpretations like phrasing, word painting, and making climaxes in the music. But in a live setting, when the Spirit is invited to testify as they perform, the voices become more than the sum total of their parts.
So glad for their success. Hope they continue in doing good things!
Here are some pieces that were written specifically for Stake Conference Choirs:
Rejoice, the Lord Is King SATB with Organ
Redeemer of Israel SATB with Organ. Sop. descant, Congregation
I Know That My Redeemer Lives SATB, Sop. descant, Piano/Organ, Cong.
I Stand All Amazed SATB with Piano, Flute and Oboe (or Violin)
I Need Thee Every Hour SATB with Organ
How Firm a Foundation SATB with Organ
The Lord Is My Shepherd (Downing) SATB with soloist