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Alethea & Athena
Herald angels 
23rd-Dec-2018 03:35 pm
Today started our like woah, and then the woah was over, and we've just been, like, hanging around doing nothing ever since. But the Sabbath is a day of rest, so we think that's okay.

Anyway, it's the last Sunday before Christmas, and that means the big Christmas sacrament meeting! We mostly treated it like a regular sacrament meeting, because it's supposed to be the really big thing to help us remember the Savior every week, and not just on Christmas, but the difference is we had two special musical numbers! Tadah! And it's sacrament meetings like this that remind everyone in the ward and all our visitors that Athena and I are basically THE music people in the ward, because Athena was directing everybody, and I was accompanying everything on one keyboard or another.

What people may not know is that this is not because we want to keep the music from everybody. We've been in wards and stakes where there was, like, one family who took it upon themselves to do all the music and were extremely critical of anyone else who had the audacity to do anything musical without their input. This is not true of us at all...although it is true that we have a hard time with special musical numbers, because either we're like, "Ohh, you could have stood to practice a little more," or we're like, "Diva." ...The point is, neither of us is trying to be a diva, even if we have some diva-like qualities. And in fact, it would be nice to have some other people directing the choir or playing accompaniment so we could sing in the choir.

Anyway. The point is, we had some special musical numbers, and since Athena's the choir director and the Primary song leader, she was in charge of all of them. And if we hadn't had special musical numbers, Athena would have been in charge of the congregational hymn that we sang instead, because she's also the sacrament meeting music director. And this doesn't have a whole lot of bearing on the story; I'm just in a rambling mood.

So we started out this morning a little extra early for choir practice. At first we had about six people show up, and four of them were missionaries. This was a bit of a downer, because we had no alto section. Also, one of our basses was a missionary who got transferred during the last week, and his replacement was a tenor, so. And we had two sopranos, neither of whom is the most confident singers, so those of you doing the math can imagine that we were a little bit worried about if the melody would be audible. Those two sopranos tried really hard at practice, though!

After practicing the song a few times, we figured everybody knew their part well enough, so we took a break in the hope that stalling for time would give more choir members a chance to show up. And indeed, we had some latecomers! They may or may not have been enough, but they didn't increase the soprano section (we did have altos now, though), so we all agreed that as people came in for sacrament meeting, we would recruit them. And most of the people who show up that early for sacrament meeting are visitors! But they were all very cooperative visitors, so we ended up with a rather sizable choir by the time the meeting started, some of whom didn't get a chance to practice the number at all. Fortunately, we were going with an arrangement where all the parts were straight out of the hymnbook, so most of the people who chose not to sing soprano already knew their parts just from singing with the congregation (because people who can read parts like to show off, if they're anything like we are...(said the diva)).

But before we could worry about that, we had to worry about the Primary kids singing! ...Which actually didn't worry us at all, because the Primary kids can stand up there mumbling the whole song and the whole congregation will be like, "Awwwww♥" (Except for us, because we are cold and heartless and think kids should be taught to sing. Also, Athena had put some effort into teaching the kids these songs.) So after the sacrament, we called all the kids up to the stand, and invited the visitor kids to come join them (even if they hadn't learned these songs in their own wards, Athena had brought the words), and we had a pretty big group of kids, and they sang audibly and articulately, and it was adorable and if I hadn't been needing to focus on the sheet music (which for some reason I was having a hard time with today), I might have cried.

Then there was a talk that was all in Spanish, except for one sentence when the speaker had to excuse his pronunciation of a word. He's not a native Spanish speaker, but he went on his mission to...I think I made out "Argentina"...so he's fluent, and we have a Spanish-speaking group in our ward, so it was really nice to have a Christmas talk that they could understand. We did not understand it, though, so we're just going to have to assume it was pretty good.

And then it was time for the choir number! And it went really well! Not as good as a few times at practice, but considering that some people hadn't practiced at all, it was really good! The only critique I have is that the pianist messed up on the interludes. But I'm going to assume that's because she was having a hard time turning pages...for some odd reason despite having nailed it several times while practicing.

Then there was a talk in English, and I think that one was really good, too, but our minds were filled with reviewing all the music. He read a lot of scriptures about prophecies of Jesus Christ. There were a lot of them.

And this week, because it's Christmas, we only had sacrament meeting, but we followed it with a linger longer, where some people in the ward brought some really good Christmas cookies. And a lot of people came up to us specifically to tell us how good the music was, so we were all, "Awwww!" We couldn't have done it without all the individuals who were kind enough to actually participate!

And now we've been home for like three hours and pretty much just talked and surfed the internet. Oh my goodness, we're so sleepy. But we still don't like naps, so if anything, we're going to go to bed super early, because we still have work tomorrow. But we might just watch, like, a lot of My Little Pony, which could potentially keep us up slightly past bedtime.

Today I'm thankful for the lovely sacrament meeting we had today, all the helpful visitors who joined the choir, all the ward members who joined the choir (and especially the ones who came to every practice), the yummy cookies at the linger longer, and getting to chat with some people we don't usually talk to in a non-intimidating setting.
25th-Dec-2018 05:25 am (UTC)
I'm gad to hear the musical pieces all went well, even with the initially low choir turnout!! Those are some brave visitors to just hop in on the spot! (although I guess if it was music and parts they were already familiar with, it wouldn't be too bad... i would probably do it too in that case, hahaha :D )

And on your note about kids being taught to sing, I absolutely agree!! Sometimes I think about how all the music that's part of worship in church is such a unique thing these days, because unless you go out of your way to join a school or community choir, how often do people have opportunities to sing and read music together in their daily life? Even those not in the choir still get to sing as part of the congregation. I think it's wonderful!
25th-Dec-2018 08:37 pm (UTC)
We're lucky to get such brave visitors! I don't know if we would have invited them if we had been going with a song with parts that haven't already been in the hymnbook for decades (we're getting a new one this year!), but I do know that if I had been in their position, I absolutely would have joined in (especially if we arrived early enough to go through it once or twice). I love singing in choirs.

Right!? We read an article recently that pointed out that before Jesus and His apostles went into the Garden of Gethsemane, they sang a hymn, which is an indication of how important music is to Him, so why shouldn't it be that important to us? We're a little worried that shows like American Idol have made people afraid to sing unless they consider themselves Singers. And I remember one time on the way to Disneyland from Fresno, Gaston had a Christmas playlist going, and it had Bing Crosby on like a radio show or something, encouraging everybody to sing because it's one of the best things to do, and I wish we could have more celebrities encouraging people to sing these days...
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