As a relatively new member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I have had the wonderful opportunity to sing in the past four General Conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints. During one of those Conference addresses we were reminded of the importance of lifting up our voices in praise to God.
Having had watched General Conferences throughout my life, I was always drawn to the music that was sung by the choir. Now as a choir member, I have to say that the thing that thrills me as much as anything else, is lifting my voice and joining it with the voices of my brothers and sisters in the audience and throughout the world as we sing the intermediate hymns.
We are a choir of 300 voices, who sit behind the Apostles and the other General Authorities. From our vantage point we are looking into the faces of the approximately 20,000 faithful church members in any given session. And of course, the meeting is being broadcast throughout the world. After opening the session with a hymn and prayer, and after listening to some talks by our leaders, we have the opportunity to sing together. The member of the First Presidency states, “And now at the signal from the conductor, the choir and congregation will join in singing, . . .”
Then the organist begins to play an exciting introduction to the hymn on the organ and we are ready to unite our voices. I feel the music emanate through my whole body as each verse of the song is added. As the music fills the room, I can feel the vibrations from my head to toe as they are produced through the gigantic organ pipes that surround me. The Tabernacle choir organists bring the music to life.
As the membership sang together this week at General Conference, I was again filled with the Spirit. The words and music that we sang filled my soul and were so meaningful. During the first session we sang, “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” I marveled that in that room alone, 20,000 fellow saints were bearing testimony that we indeed have a living latter-day prophet who leads and guides us. We were all reminded of the joy of the gospel and of the importance of accepting and not rejecting its precepts.
During our second session we stood and sang, “How Firm a Foundation.” Collectively as a choir and congregation we were reaffirming our love for the Savior, Jesus Christ. We testified that Christ will succor us in our trials and afflictions. We testified that we can lean on Him for repose. Finally in the last session it was announced that we would all sing the hymn, “Rejoice, the Lord is King.” We continued to praise and adore the Lord, Jesus Christ. “Lift up your heart. Lift up your voice. Rejoice again I say rejoice.”
To rejoice is to be glad, to take delight and to be joyful. As I sing the songs of Zion it brings me great joy. One of the aspects of singing with the Tabernacle Choir is that I am a musical missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Another oft sung hymn is “I Believe in Christ.” I am grateful for the opportunity to “raise my voice in praise and joy, in grand amens my tongue employ,” because I do believe in Jesus Christ. I know He lives and that He is our Savior and Redeemer.