Sing For Joy

Posted by: Duane Hiatt in Commentaries Add comments

When the angels sang on that first Christmas night, I hope they didn’t have auditions for the choir. Maybe it’s not an issue up there. If everything is perfect, in heaven I suppose nobody ever sings flat or hits a clunker on the harp.

But then again, I’m thinking perfection is going to take some doing even in heaven. Their entry level choirs may well sound like many of the choirs I have sung in. Like everything else in a Mormon ward, the choir members and director are all volunteers. This means we are not often mistaken for the Tabernacle Choir. But we always deliver a spiritual message. Sometimes it is humility for us and endurance for the folks in the congregation. And we brethren are sometimes the musical rendition of the parable of the lost sheep. We also have our own home made proverbs:

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I can carry a tune. I just can’t unload it.”

“I sing tenor—ten or eleven notes off key.”

“I’m a bass, and that’s about as low as you can get.”

Actually in church choirs there are few true tenors or basses. Most of us are middle of the scale guys straining to get up to the high notes or groaning to get down to the low ones.

But apparently there is more to music than tones and pitches.

Alexander Schreiner a fine musician, in fact an organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was approached by a distraught choir director in their ward. She was artistically pained by a member of the choir who sang with more enthusiasm than ability. She said, “Brother Schreiner we simply must get brother so and so to leave the choir so we can achieve our potential to make beautiful inspiring music.”

Brother Schreiner replied, “Brother so and so is one of the most faithful members in our ward. He enthusiastically gives his best to serve the Lord and help others. He takes the same attitude to his singing in the choir. So don’t listen too carefully to the notes he sings, or you may miss the music.”

King David the psalmist put it this way, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” (Psalm 100)

I like to think that’s what the angels were doing that night shouting hallelujahs and hosannas to earth and outer space at the birth of the new king. I think it was open mike night in the skies over Bethlehem. That’s how it sounds in my Bible; not one virtuoso soloing while the rest applauded. It was a “a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying…Glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2)

When somebody preaches or prays the rest of us respectfully listen. But when we join in song every person gets to sing out his or her own declaration of faith, hope, and gratitude. Often we do it in gentle blending, but sometimes like the angels that first Christmas night we can open our hearts and our voices with a shout of praise, a “joyful noise,” and a hallelujah. What a world this will be when some historian records of, “… multitude(s) of the earthly hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace good will toward men.”.

When the angels sang on that first Christmas night, I hope they didn’t have auditions for the choir. Maybe it’s not an issue up there. If everything is perfect, in heaven I suppose nobody ever sings flat or hits a clunker on the harp.

But then again, I’m thinking perfection is going to take some doing even in heaven. Their entry level choirs may well sound like many of the choirs I have sung in. Like everything else in a Mormon ward, the choir members and director are all volunteers. This means we are not often mistaken for the Tabernacle Choir. But we always deliver a spiritual message. Sometimes it is humility for us and endurance for the folks in the congregation. And we brethren are sometimes the musical rendition of the parable of the lost sheep. We also have our own home made proverbs:

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I can carry a tune. I just can’t unload it.”

“I sing tenor—ten or eleven notes off key.”

“I’m a bass, and that’s about as low as you can get.”

Actually in church choirs there are few true tenors or basses. Most of us are middle of the scale guys straining to get up to the high notes or groaning to get down to the low ones.

But apparently there is more to music than tones and pitches.

Alexander Schreiner a fine musician, in fact an organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was approached by a distraught choir director in their ward. She was artistically pained by a member of the choir who sang with more enthusiasm than ability. She said, “Brother Schreiner we simply must get brother so and so to leave the choir so we can achieve our potential to make beautiful inspiring music.”

Brother Schreiner replied, “Brother so and so is one of the most faithful members in our ward. He enthusiastically gives his best to serve the Lord and help others. He takes the same attitude to his singing in the choir. So don’t listen too carefully to the notes he sings, or you may miss the music.”

King David the psalmist put it this way, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” (Psalm 100)

I like to think that’s what the angels were doing that night shouting hallelujahs and hosannas to earth and outer space at the birth of the new king. I think it was open mike night in the skies over Bethlehem. That’s how it sounds in my Bible; not one virtuoso soloing while the rest applauded. It was a “a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying…Glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2)

When somebody preaches or prays the rest of us respectfully listen. But when we join in song every person gets to sing out his or her own declaration of faith, hope, and gratitude. Often we do it in gentle blending, but sometimes like the angels that first Christmas night we can open our hearts and our voices with a shout of praise, a “joyful noise,” and a hallelujah. What a world this will be when some historian records of, “… multitude(s) of the earthly hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace good will toward men.”.

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