Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mormons should carol instead of knock doors.

One element of LDS culture that I absolutely love is the strong choral tradition.  I am admittedly influenced by my own mother being a choral instructor and my having been a singer in choirs all my life but I also think theologically it is a beautiful cultural treasure. 

Mormons are known for having great choirs, most prominently the Mormon Tabernacle Choir which has even been labeled "America's Choir" due to it's performance at multiple presidential inagrerations and having the longest running radio show broadcast in the world.   Brigham Young University also has a great suite of choirs.  Gladys Knight's choir, Saints Unified Voices, is probably the greatest recent addition to the Mormon suite of choral music and I believe will be looked back on as a significant development in the LDS musical tradition.  Last but not least, one of my personal favorites is the Montreal Homeless Choir started by a member in... Montreal.  

As a people we are striving to be of "one heart and one mind," and the act of singing in "one voice" can be both a beautiful manifestation of that spirit as well as a mechanism for building such a community.  It is a symbolic gesture that is used throughout Mormon worship.  I am convinced there will be gorgeous choral music in heaven.  King Benjamin and Mormon were both looking forward to singing with the choirs above, and the angels at the birth of Christ were no doubt singing Handel's very arrangement.  

I look forward to the choral music that will come from church members as the LDS church grows internationally and across different musical traditions.  The musical repertoire of the SUV Choir is the first great example.  I can't wait until we have Mormon choirs of Mongolian throat singers, Bulgarian women's choruses, or simple church choirs that sound like this community choir in Malawi


Anonymous said...

Great post! I agree!

mel said...

hey, that is why the Nigerian christmas carol is my FAAAAVorite! Even if they did record it, it wouldnt do it justice.... :)

Julie Bradshaw said...

I loved this post, David. The eternal qualities of music, and its ability to heal and unite, are really quite amazing. I also love that you have the Tabernacle Choir's Spirit of the Season CD on your recommended reading. Aside from their Consider the Lilies CD, this one is my favorite. I'm guilty of listening to it year-round.