Monday, November 12, 2012

Sing, Choirs of Angels

I have long enjoyed singing in ward choirs.  Some ward choir directors were extremely competent and great teachers.  Some hymns were very challenging, and enjoyable, such as selections of Handel's Messiah, or Beethoven.  Christmas sacrament meetings were typical highlights. 

Several years I participated in a community choir and orchestra under Dr. Walter Richardson to perform Handel's Messiah.  The direction and skills required went up a definite notch for me.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have always enjoyed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and in recent years have particularly enjoyed Mack Wilberg's arrangements as performed by them.  Their annual Christmas concerts are marvelous, and I own many DVDs of these performances.  It is my fantasy to sing for the Tabernacle Choir someday--but it will never happen.

Last December I attended the Christmas concert of the Portland Ensign Choir and Orchestra, and it was fantastic!  I attended another of their concerts in the spring.  I entertained thoughts of trying to join that choir, and several weeks ago saw a notice for auditions, and signed up.

I went to the audition, and heard others trying out in the adjacent room.  They were very good, and I felt intimidated.  I never had formal choir training.  No singing lessons.  I learned to read music playing the trumpet as a youth.  I never auditioned before.

I read the commitment form and was discouraged further.  Two hour mandatory practices every Tuesday night, September through June, with three concerts (one of which would be during my planned travel for my sabbatical).  I didn't feel I could commit.  When my turn came I was frank with the director and told him so, and that perhaps I could save his time and bag the audition.  He was supportive and said do the audition anyway, which I did.  I sang Redeemer of Israel, plus a number of vocal exercises at his direction.  He said I had a nice voice and seemed teachable, thought they could be flexible with my sabbatical schedule, and invited me to stay for the choir practice that evening.

I thought, "Well, I'm already here.  Perhaps I'll just stay for the practice."  Wow!  I was immediately hooked by the glorious musical selections for the upcoming Christmas concert, by the obvious talent all around me, and the expert direction.  I wanted to do this!

A few days later I got an email acceptance into the choir as a baritone.  I've been to every practice and have spent hours learning and practicing the music (we must memorize it--no sheet music at the concert).  It is very hard, but so rewarding.  This is kind of like the Portland metro area equivalent of the Tabernacle Choir, so I'm living my fantasy, in a way.


  1. So cool! I remember attending that Messiah concert.

  2. How amazing! I hope you can post some video or audio of your concerts or practices.