I grew up in a large church that would regularly pay professional musicians to augment the choir and orchestra’s Christmas productions. In hush whispers, some conversations among the regulars consisted of speculating on the spiritual standing of these people, though some were definitely Christians.
Last night at the choral concert we attended, I started thinking about this subject as I heard the featured soloist sing a very scriptural lyric. There is definitely a difference between being a hired instrumentalist and being a vocalist who is actually proclaiming the truth of God with us at this time of year. While I know absolutely nothing about the singer, I wondered how one might navigate such lyrics if they were not part of one’s personal experience. Perhaps it’s just a matter of narrating the story as one might a work of fiction, but of course we believe the story to be true.
I’ve heard it suggested that the audience can tell; that there is a qualitative difference that audiences can detect when the person singing is one who knows and lives the truths of what we call The Gospel. Perhaps some have the radar to see that authenticity more plainly than others.
Professional gigging musicians refer to the body of works they perform regularly as the literature, and perhaps the Christmas or Easter body of works is simply another sub-section of that. I suppose I can still appreciate the power of the compositions themselves without having to demand the conduit by which those songs is brought to me profess orthodoxy before I will listen.
So today’s question is: If the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is singing Handel’s Messiah in the forest and nobody is around to hear them, is there sound?
…Or some question like that.
Here’s one song that the choir performed last night; a unique version of Fairest Lord Jesus arranged by a Norse composer. (Or simply click below.)
If you’d prefer this in a more contemporary sounding arrangement, click this link.