Author: Luisa Perkins
•8:01 AM
I love to sing. Rock, opera, euro-synth-pop, bluegrass, and just about everything in between. I sing in the car, the kitchen, and the shower. I sing while weeding, knitting, and rowing.

But I think I love best to sing at church. One of my favorite memories of my mother is her playing the hymns--from the LDS hymnal and Sing With Me, the children's songbook at the time--on the piano for what seemed like hours on end, night after night. Because of her love for those pieces of music, I have a lot of our congregational repertoire memorized. This makes it easy to sing along in our church meetings even without looking at a hymn book, convenient for times when I'm rocking someone, helping with a sticker book, or passing out those cheesy goldfish crackers.

For my non-LDS readers: there's no paid clergy in the LDS/Mormon church. We all take turns serving in various 'callings,' or church service positions. Patrick and I have been married for 18 years as of a few days ago; for all but three of those years, Patrick has served either as a counselor to the Bishop or as Bishop himself, as he is now. Part of the requirements of Bishopric callings is sitting up on the stand, near the pulpit, and presiding over and conducting the worship services.

So I've sat alone for 15 of the last 18 years. Well, not alone for the past 14; I've had the kids with me, which is mostly great. Teaching children to be still for a 70-minute meeting is something of a task; there were a couple of rough years in there. But we've pretty much got the drill down at this point, thanks again to sticker books, paper dolls, and goldfish crackers--and the fact that the three older kids have actually sat and listened now for several years. So I'm not complaining about the way our Sundays are structured; we've made choices that I live with happily.

But I do miss singing with Patrick on Sundays. I'm glad to live in a ward (Mormon lingo for a geographical 'congregation' or 'parish') that sings out loud and strong; this worship through music is often a high point of our services for me. But as much as I love it, twice a year it gets even better: I get to sing with Patrick at my side.

(I have a basic, serviceable, soprano voice with decent intonation; I can also 'switch-hit' and sing alto, if needed. Patrick, however, has a beautiful voice: a clear, rich tenor-to-baritone, with lovely, dark color to it. I remember the first time he sang to me when we were dating; I was pretty sure I'd never get him out of my system, and I was right.)

Twice a year, we have meetings called 'Stake Conference.' (Wards are organized in groups of seven to ten into larger groups called 'stakes.') The designated wards get together for special two-hour meetings; sometimes leaders called 'General Authorities' fly out from Church headquarters in Utah to speak. At Stake Conference, the 'Stake President' presides and conducts, and the Bishoprics of the wards get to sit with their families.

This past weekend was Stake Conference. Joy! His arm around my shoulders, Patrick sat with me and we sang together, trading parts back and forth: melody-alto-tenor. We sing hymns at home with the kids regularly, but singing in a group of 1,000 or so people, with a great organist accompanying and the love of your life at your side? Pretty incredible.

Here's a video of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing an arrangement of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," one of Patrick's and my favorite hymns. We once sang this arrangement together in a choir for a special meeting in the Kirtland Temple, one of the most treasured LDS historic sites--so this video brings back another great memory of singing with my BFFP.





For more Music Monday, visit Soccer Mom in Denial!
This entry was posted on 8:01 AM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

18 comments:

On 24/2/08 , Annette Lyon said...

That's one of my favorite hymns as well. I first learned it to sing it for a musical number at the funeral of my grandmother-in-law. Warm memory there.

And I hear ya on the dad not on the bench thing. My entire growing up years, my dad had a calling that kept him from sitting with the family. He was often at another ward, for that matter. Once when as mission president, he was actually there, I had to do a double take. Sort of, Dad, WHAT are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be someplace else?

That said, Patrick's example of willing service is good for the kids. I admire my dad so much for (among many things) his willingness to serve wherever, whenever.

Okay, now I miss him. I'll have to drop an email . . .

 
On 24/2/08 , Carrot Jello said...

I was practicing that song right before I quit singing lessons. It's my favorite.

 
On 25/2/08 , Jenna Consolo said...

ditto to everything you said. I want to sing with you! We sometimes invite other families to come over on Sunday evenings just for a "Hymn Sing" followed by dessert. Great fun.

 
On 25/2/08 , dawn said...

I love that song too. I was in choir in 10th grade. I am not a great singer. I was an alto. I like to sing in church as well.

 
On 25/2/08 , Stacey said...

My husband and I just performed this piece as a quartet in Sacrament. Such a soul stirring song. I too love the hymns. Fun to hear how music has given you connection and peace.

 
On 25/2/08 , Flower Child said...

I'm a wretched singer. People ask me to keep it down. But when in church I ignore them. God thinks I sound like Denyce Graves. At least I like to think so.

 
On 25/2/08 , soccer mom in denial said...

I do love to sing at our Unitarian church. And I switch-hit between soprano and alto too!

 
On 25/2/08 , Kimberly said...

After we were married Neil confessed that my playing the piano and singing was what really sealed the deal for him. We love gathering around the piano as a family and singing our hearts out. So much joy in those moments.

 
On 25/2/08 , Me said...

My love - I am so grateful to have married someone who actually likes my singing. Don't worry, there will be plenty of years for us to sit together and sing in Church. Plenty.

xoxoxo

 
On 25/2/08 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

There's nothing like singing with your heart full of love and blessings and spirituality.

Lovely piece.

I'm a tenor. ;-)

 
On 25/2/08 , Mormon Soprano said...

I loved your post. We have a lot in common.

"Come Thou Fount" is one of my favorite's now. An interesting fact: This hymn was taken out of the last LDS hymnbook because it was not known, loved or sung - however, shortly afterwards Mack Wilberg wrote this stirring arrangement and it has become one of the most beloved of all hymns. We will have to wait for the next LDS hymnbook revision when I am sure it will be one of our "official" hymns again.

Everyone, please keep singing out loud and strong! I am convinced that nothing makes God happier. And it's good soul-food.

 
On 25/2/08 , Brillig said...

Brian's a bass, I'm an alto. We four should get together and sing. Seriously... that would be a highlight of my existence.

 
On 25/2/08 , Elizabeth said...

Amen.

 
On 26/2/08 , anjmae said...

I do like that song--it gives me the chills, even when us normal Joes & Janes sing it. What I want to know is who in the hack is hitting those incredibly high notes there in the culmination? Dude, that is just cool.

 
On 26/2/08 , Catherine said...

I love music as well and...oooh oooh! That's also my favorite hymn. :)

 
On 26/2/08 , Alice said...

I have to admit that it was a bit disconcerting to be sitting up at the front (not really on the stand) while my Bishop was seated in the congregation. I think it's sweet that you two have such a beautiful, pure love between you.

P.S: This is one of my favorite hymns too. Mom found a great arrangement of it online that was the number two choice for the the youth choir.

 
On 27/2/08 , painted maypole said...

i know about sitting alone in church. ;) Since my hubby can't carry a tune in a bucket, for us it's always a real treat to have communion as a family.

 
On 19/12/08 , Benji P said...

Hey there nice blog, I was wondering if you you could define bffp for me.

Thank you.

My email is:
bungiman [at] gmail (dot) com