Songs of Praise
Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 9
Ouch! This is only Part 9? I guess I think about the conference articles a lot more than I have written about them. We'll have to change that.
Today let's have a shout out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! They provide music for several of the sessions of General Conference and other Church meetings throughout the year. They also perform Music and the Spoken Word every Sunday. It is now the "oldest continuous nationwide network broadcast in America."
All of the 360 members volunteer their time and pay their own way when they travel. This is the same for the 110 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square. If you read the Frequently Asked Questions, you can learn more about the amazing choir, because honestly I don't even know where to begin. Being a music person, I am fascinated by the singers, their directors, their ORGANISTS (can you tell I play the organ?), and everything that is a part of their organization.
Honestly, who hasn't dreamed of singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Even those who claim to carry no tune would secretly love to have that kind of musical ability to stand next to 359 other people singing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Specifically, I wanted to talk about the hymn, With Songs of Praise that was sung in the Saturday Morning session. This is in the hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Hymn Number 71. Did you know that? Unfortunately, it's not a well loved hymn. The only time I have heard it sung in a Sacrament Meeting is when I was in charge of picking the hymns to sing.
I was also pleased to pieces that it WAS sung in General Conference, because now I bet it will be sung more in Sacrament Meeting due to the exposure. That's Hymn Number 71. The same thing happened with the beloved song, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It was in the previous edition of the Church's hymnbook. It was removed because of the lack of enthusiasm about it among the Church's members. Mack Wilberg comes along, writes an arrangement of it for choir/ orchestra, and overnight it became a SMASHING success and now is widely known throughout the Church's membership.
Now I know there are over 300 hymns in the Hymnbook, and we sing maybe 6 on each Sunday. There are bound to be some that aren't sung very often, but we are encouraged to be familiar with them all. Seriously, in the back of the hymnbook it says so.
"In addition to using hymns already known and loved, members are encouraged to become acquainted with new or less familiar hymns. Try to achieve a good balance between familiar favorites and less well-known hymns." (click here then scroll to Hymns for Congregations)
If you read the words of hymns which were penned by Penelope Moody Allen, it so clearly says that music is a way we can worship Heavenly Father!!! It so simply states truths about music. We can show our gratitude. It can be a prayer. Music can unite us, and it brings the Spirit. The last line says, "express the heart too full to speak, in one exultant hymn." I think it describes beautifully how music can express things that words can't. Music has been on my mind a lot lately. I can't imagine my life without this blessing.
The First Presidency has written a message regarding music. It is printed in the front of every single Hymnbook that is printed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but few have taken the time to read it. It lists 4 ways that hymns are essential to our church meetings. It lists 7 ways that hymns move us. It also lists 6 ways that the hymns can touch us personally. That is a minimum of 17 blessings, because there is more to the message than what I have listed.
Remember that "some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns." (above reference) I echo the First Presidency's words "Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment."
Sing a song of praise! Sing a hymn!
This is by no means as comprehensive as it could be, but yay for General Conference reviews!
If you wish to watch this conference musical number, click here. Just find this musical number (Saturday Morning Session - make sure to click on "Show Music"), and watch, download, whatever you want.
Are you in love with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Do you want to audition with me? Let me know! My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.