April 19, 2014

Drop Everything and Turn This On!

Yesterday evening my family enjoyed watching the live streaming of the Tabernacle Choir's performance of Handel's Messiah.    

I first heard about this performance in an email from Debby Smith, who directs the Heralders Children's Choir, a choir especially for homeschoolers along the Wasatch front that my boys sang in when we lived in Utah a few years ago.  Debby is also a member of the Tabernacle Choir and she sent out an email to everyone on her list to tell us about this special event she had the privilege of participating in.  

According to Debbby, when the free tickets to these concerts were made available they sold out in less than 7 minutes online.  They opened up overflow areas around Temple Square and those tickets also disappeared within minutes.  Many, many people contacted them requesting that the performance be broadcast.  

And so it was.  It is available on the choir's website right now, but it will only be there until Monday night.  I highly encourage one and all to make it a part of your Easter observances this weekend.  This is a performance worth watching. 

I have loved Messiah since I saw the play Joyful Noise at BYU when I was in high school.  Joyful Noise, written by Utah-native Tim Slover, tells the captivating story of how Handel wrote the greatest choral work of all time-- in only 24 days.  (If you ever have a chance to see this play, I highly recommend it.)  

Then a few years later I read Hallelujah, a historical novel about Handel and Messiah.  It was a long book, but I enjoyed the read.  The author brought in some fictional characters that helped me to understand better the significance of the work and the way it has been traditionally performed as a benefit to charity.  After reading it I had an even deeper love for the music of Messiah.

And I have, like most people, thought of it as Christmas music.  I know it was written for the Easter season, but until now I had only listened to it during December.  

Just turning it on last night brought such a sweet spirit into our home.  The kids, who had been bouncing around for hours bickering with each other and asking me incessant questions about the upcoming egg hunt, suddenly calmed down.  Within a few minutes they were all sitting quietly in the living room drawing or reading or just snuggling Dad and dozing off while listening.  I was in and out of the room, working on boiling eggs and making hot cross buns.  I loved to sit and watch it when I had a minute, but I also loved hearing it in the background while I was in the kitchen.  It kept my mind on the Savior and His life.  I am always trying to make our family's Easter observances more Christ-centered and I found listening to Messiah a very powerful way to do this.  

I truly believe Handel was inspired when he wrote this music.  The more I have listened to it and learned about it, the more familiar I am with it and the more it moves me and fills me with the Spirit, which testifies to me that Jesus is the Christ.  I am hoping that my children will have this experience too over the years as it remains part of our celebrations both at Christmas and at Easter.  

Sarah (Birrd) has always had a secret dream of singing in the Tabernacle Choir.  Since she is busy raising six children and homeschooling it doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon, but in the meantime she is happy being one of their biggest fans.  She would love you to visit her personal blog, The Birrd's Nest.  

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