In September I received an email from a girl at church saying there is a new choral organization here in the East Valley (called the East Valley Mormon Choral Organization) and they are holding auditions for the adult choir. It also mentioned an orchestra. My interest was suddenly peaked (we all know I don’t sing. I can’t sing. Well, I can. Everyone CAN sing. I just can’t sing well. So of course I was interested in the orchestra).

Not much earlier Ches and I had been discussing our finances and we were busy putting several of our items up for sale on Craigslist. I considered putting my flute up. I just don’t play anymore, I’m not teaching lessons, I let it sit and collect dust. I’m ashamed to say that after all the schooling and work I’ve put into it, this is what happened. I missed playing in a good ensemble. My best memories of university life was playing in the Symphonic Band at Ricks College. I’ve played in lots of other ensembles in high school, at Ricks, and at University of Idaho, but there was something special about Symphonic Band. Maybe it was having Bro. Nielson for a director. Maybe it was rehearsing and performing in the Barrus Concert Hall. Maybe it was opening every rehearsal and performance with a prayer. Whatever it was, I haven’t had that experience anywhere else, at any other time.

So I was missing playing and considering giving up my flute entirely, when I got this email. I decided to give it a shot, and I emailed the organization for information about orchestral auditions. I immediately received an answer… auditions were in two days. TWO DAYS. I spent the next two days madly practicing a couple of pieces and some scales and just praying that I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I figured I had a slim chance of making this orchestra, but you know the saying: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I was so nervous, but the directors, brothers Brett and Brandon Stewart, were friendly and made me feel comfortable. I played, they listened, we talked for a couple of minutes about the pieces and if I knew any other instrumentalists (they were quite excited to hear about my trumpet player husband, but since Ches’ high school concert was scheduled for the same night at this concert, he didn’t audition). They told me I played beautifully, and I was really pleased with the audition.

Because it’s a new organization, it took them a while to find instrumentalists to audition and fill the sections of the orchestra. The first week of November I got the email: I was accepted into the orchestra! I went to my first rehearsal the next week, and found I was playing third flute and piccolo. (I have since passed the picc parts to the other flutists and hope to be able to play them for the next concert. Piccolo and I have a stormy relationship right now). It is a full symphony orchestra. We accompany five choirs (one adult, the rest children’s and youth choirs of differing ages). It is a major thing!

Our concert is this Thursday. We had a major rehearsal this past Saturday. As I play in this orchestra and listen to the different choirs sing, I am overwhelmed. It’s a good feeling, though. I am just amazed at the talent of the people sitting around me. I am amazed at the beauty of this music. I don’t know if I’ll make it through this concert without tears because of all that I feel when I hear this music. It is so awesome to be a part of something so big and beautiful. The other thing I have noticed is how much this reminds me of being at Ricks. I know that this music can be played by any great musicians and it will be beautiful. But it won’t have the same feeling. When we play and the choirs sing, I know the Spirit of the Lord is with us. I can feel it in the depths of my soul. This is no ordinary symphony. These are no ordinary choirs.

I wish that I could have each of you come to my concert. We are performing music that is all about the true meaning of Christmas… we are telling the story of the wondrous birth of our Saviour. I cannot properly put words to my feelings about this. It is all feeling. I want you all there so you can feel what I feel.

I am so blessed to be a part of this organization. There are many times where I feel inadequate as a musician, a mother, a wife or just as a person. I never measure up to what I should be. But when I am sitting in this orchestra, I feel strong. I feel full. I know that I may not be as talented as I wish I was, but I do have talent, and God gave it to me. I am blessed to be able to use that talent in His glory, in His name. It is truly overwhelming to be surrounded by this music and feel His love for me in the midst of playing.

I don’t often get “religious” when I’m talking or writing, but I do not apologize for doing so now. This has been an amazing, overwhelming, spiritual time for me, and I just want to share it with you, my friends.

5 responses to “Overwhelmed

  1. Sariah, this post just makes me so happy! I wish I could come to your performance. Really, if I was within any reasonable distance, I’d be there. I sooooooooo miss hearing music that speaks to the soul! I’m so glad you are in this orchestra!!!! 😀

  2. I’m so glad you decided to do this! I’m SOO glad that it’s making you happy! You deserve every last drop of happiness you can find! Love you!

  3. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it. I understand your feelings–I feel the same way about theatre and Ricks, and about feeling inadequate as a designer/painter, mother, wife.

    I’m proud of you for auditioning and putting forth the effort to be invovled in this orchestra. I’m so glad that you have this opportunity and that it’s making you feel so good. I wish I could be there to hear you play, it’s been far too long! And yes, you really do have a lot of talent. I love you, big sister! 🙂

  4. Sariah–Thanks for that post. It was beautiful. I love how music can just fill our souls. It is amazing how uplifting good music is. I absolutely love listening to choirs and orchestras. I wish that I had time to join a choir
    (I do sing) : ) Maybe when I finish school. I was in an institute choir in Logan before Mike and I got married and it carried me through a lot of tough times. I thank God for music.

  5. Argh! Your concert is tonight already?! I sure wish I could be there. Break a leg [but not on a lamp. giggle] Our Stake choir concert, in which I am singing is this Sun. And of course our ward has a choir program for Christmas…Sun we also have an orchestra, and for our ward we use every instrument availible to us–not quite an orchestra, but definitely some added interest. I am not hugely talented in music [no secret here] but do enjoy it, and I think you’ve expressed some of what I’ve always enjoyed about it. [Hope
    i can be there to hear you play sometime!]


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