Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Taste of Heaven today...

I am trying to think of where to begin. Today we were part of a memorial concert for a beloved organist who passed away 10 years ago. We were the first group to perform beginning with Ave Maria by Joan Szymko, a 20th century composer. Along came Haydn's Magnificat, and Gaudete! Gaudete! which is a 16th century Christmas selection, and then Laurdisen's Dirait-don from Les Chansons des Roses. Pergolesi's Glory to God in the Highest followed. Lastly was Jordan's Angels by Rollo Dilworth and something happened....

Our group sings sacred classical music, mostly. And we are classically trained. Jordan's Angels is a blues spiritual, so it's a little out of our territory, but we really like it. Feel a bit like an imposter singing this since the style is so unlike what I am accustomed to singing. However, after about the 2nd or 3rd page, someone in the audience loved the piece and was "amen-ing" -- well we aren't quite accustomed to that, but it felt right, and the energy started to flow... and our director felt it too, and other affirmations came from others in the audience, and it was ok... in fact, it added what needed to be added, the affirmation of "Amen, Jesus" - we knew that the audience was with us and we were with them. After that our 2nd standing ovation of a crowd of (I am guessing on this so anyone that was there that has a better guess can add to the comments to let me know what they think) 300+, we were pretty psyched up.

After our performance (and there are about 24 of us in our ensemble) the combined choirs of 2 United Methodist Churches, a Presbyterian church, Lutheran Church and an A.M.E. church combined their energies of some awesome pieces. The four anthems were
  • When in our Music God is Glorified (arr. Hariett Ziegenhals) -I know this hymn is in our Hymnal, but with different text
  • Many Gifts, One Spirit by Allan Pote
  • I Opened My Mouth to the Lord transcribed by Raymond Wise
  • Hallelujah by Beethoven

I don't want anyone to think that I need to get out more often and hear more groups, but the combined efforts of these four choirs filled the church that brought me to tears. I could close my ears and allow God's word and music to flow through me -- very moving.

The organist then performed on the organ that Myron Munday was instrumental in planting the seed to the church finally having built and installed. The Toccata on "Lasst Uns Erfreuen" by Aaron David Miller allowed the organist to use the organ to its fullest and she allowed, literally, what it seemed all the stops (no pun intended) were pulled in this piece. The hymn tune is most familiar to us by this name - "All Creatures of our God and King" ran through the piece. Know how you like the building to shake when the organ plays - well we got that today!

Last, but not least was the Boys' Choir of Tallahassee - during the time we sang our first piece, we could see the young boys walk into the balcony to listen to us - other than seeing them we never could hear them. The self discipline of these young boys/men would make any parent proud. This choir knows how to bring the house down and they did not disappoint us. With their beginning selection of The Quest Unending by Joseph Martin which was hauntingly beautiful to the wonderful Spiritual "There is a Balm in Gilead" to the last selection "Canticle of Praise" which involved EVERYONE and brought us to our feet and I know that presence of the Holy Spirit rocked in this place. REmember the movie Sister Act? Well I had that sort of feeling as the fervor of entire church was electric.
The closing comment by the pastor stated that this was what heaven was like - where EVERYONE would be able to sing (well, I truly believe that everyone CAN sing - however, not everyone can sing well - and it seems to be popular for us to say "I can't sing" - but that is for another posting and I will not get on that soap box). However, if today is what heaven will be like, I want to be there RIGHT NOW - and I believe I got a taste of it today.
Ok, I really don't want to be in heaven right now, I just want to have that kind of good music here too...
A special thank you for Sharon and Dennis to making the special trip to hear this. Makes the heart glad to know I can share this awesome event with her. And, one of my biggest fans, my Mom came also. DH had to work so was unable to attend. I know he would have been there otherwise.
OK, last but not least - the socks had an opportunity to sing today. Ellen's (my coblogger on Plays with Pointy Things) and Cathy's socks had an opportunity to bond this afternoon in the choir room.
If you are still reading this, wow, bless you for sticking through this - I am just really psyched over it.


helen said...

yeah, i know what you mean about we all 'can' sing and yet we 'can't' lol

OH MY GOSH on wednesday, i get to see Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Lou Giglio lead worship for FREE. and i am more psyched than i have EVER been. WOW

Running2Ks said...

That is really awesome and awe-inspiring. Your comment about "can sing" really hit me. I used to be in a few choirs, and I used to sing in competition--quite well. But after 2 pregnancies, my vocal chords actually changed. I lost my upper register and switched from soprano to (at best) alto. I figured I couldn't really sing much anymore. But really, any singing just makes one feel so good.

Thanks for sharing this.