Nathan and Daniel had the memorable experience of performing with guest artist Jenny Oaks Baker in the utah Valley Millennial Choir and Orchestra this week. I absolutely love this group!
The conductors are mindbogglingly talented and write most of the music that UVMCO performs. Nathan was in the coir last fall, and their Christmas performance was so inspiring and felt literally heavenly. I can close my eyes and it feels like I can almost see the heavens opened and angels singing the strains of praise.
After seeing the top-notch quality of the Christmas concert, I was very interested in letting Daniel join their children's choir. So for the past several months, Nathan and Daniel have been driving to Provo for weekly rehearsals that last late into the night. Nathan gets off work early and rushes home to pack a portable dinner for the two of them, then they whisk away. After the children's choir is finished singing, Daniel waits in the lobby during Nathan's rehearsal, so he brings along his homework, a sketchbook, and a novel to pass the hours. It's been such a fun weekly outing for them.
I've been looking forward to their Spring concert for months! Daniel has grown so much in his singing ability, and he was so eager to perform in the world-class venue Abravenal Hall. It's remarkable to me that a children's choir can have such a notable exposure to professional performances. This concert was also performed with Jenny Oaks Baker, a famous violinist. What a unique opportunity!
The music was selected to testify of Christ, sing praises to the Lord, and invite the Spirit so the audience would feel their testimonies strengthened, and find peace and healing through the message of Christ's loving Atonement. It was remarkable how well the music communicated this message for over two hours. The Spirit was uncommonly strong in the concert hall, and the performers put their hearts into the music. I cold see many musicians playing their instruments with such passion that tears streamed down their faces as the power of the music touched their soul. It was so memorable. I was so touched, and my own tears flowed freely throughout most of the concert.
The UVMCO group has several choirs of various ages, and in order to let them all perform together on the combined numbers, half of the choir would need to fill the balconies. I was surrounded on three sides with powerful songs of rejoicing, and it made my heart thrill. I wished so strongly that I could sneak a picture of it- the sheer numbers of participants is noteworthy. And they were so polished in their performance. It was such fun watching the conductors, since they led the music with such passion and unbridled joy, turning constantly to conduct the orchestra on stage, then the singers in the balconies on the left, then the singers on the right. It was like a mesmerizing dance in itself.
Words just can't express how powerful this evening was. I've seen performances by professional symphonies, operas, ballets, and more.....but the UVMCO performances bring a bigger thrill to my heart while still being comparable on the level of professionalism. It's even more remarkable when one considers that all the participants are volunteers. It's such a dedicated group! (A group picture will be posted here as soon as the official portrait is released for purchase.)
There were multiple times in the evening when a musical number would conclude to the roaring applause, whistles, and standing ovation of the audience shouting, "Bravo!" Truly, I haven't seen anything like it anywhere else.
After the performance, we made our slow exit through the crush of nearly 3,000 bodies. To celebrate Daniel's achievement in the choir, we took him out to eat on the way home. It's a rare treat to eat out, and he was so excited! We spent a lovely hour at Chili's enjoying delicious food. Our favorite way to eat out is to have everyone order something different, then we enjoy it family-style so everyone gets to taste a variety of foods. We finally made it home after midnight, and were happy to fall in bed savoring the memories of the evening. I am filled with such gratitude that we have access to such a high quality choir that has power to convey such powerful messages to build testimony.