Sunday, June 30, 2013


My crazy neighbor, Keith Snelson, handed me a pamphlet one afternoon as I sat in his home and visited with his sweet wife Charlene. It was announcing that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was going to be in Indianapolis in June. I told my friend Nila App, who was interested in going, and she called her sister Rita, who was also interested, while I called my sister Paula (who is constantly willing to open her home for my various friends and relatives) and we bought our tickets. It was a breathtaking experience. I still think about what it takes to achieve such perfection  from 360 VOLUNTEER singers, 110 VOLUNTEER members of the orchestra and all the people involved in making this music. I can't imagine what the caravan of buses, trucks hauling instruments, etc. would look like as they travel from city to city. My guess is that there are 600+ people in that caravan!  Paula, Nila, Rita and I decided that we would see if we could join the Choir:

We quickly got on line to see what the requirements were and decided that they probably wouldn't want us because we would fail the first audition. I copied some info that I found on their site. Wow! These are dedicated people!!!
"In the first step of the audition process, applicants submit an unaccompanied recording of a song selected by the music director. The second stage of the audition, a musical skills test, measures musical ability and aptitude. Applicants with an acceptable test score then advance to the third stage, where they perform a hymn of their choice, sight-read a piece of music, and test their vocal range in person before the music director and associate music director.

Even after selections of new singers are made, the evaluation process is not quite complete. The selected singers are brought into the
Temple Square Chorale for a four-month period during which they attend musical training classes and sing with the Chorale. If they successfully complete the training program, they become members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

I learned that you can serve for 20 years within the ages of 25 and 60. That already keeps me out of the choir in addition to my not being a Mormon and the travel distance  is prohibitive. They rehearse 5 hours weekly.
All 19 pieces of music that they sang (everything from Music of the Masters, Folk, Spirituals, Around the World, Hymns and American Songbook) were memorized. This is incomprehensible to my brain! (This was just a fraction of the music that they know!)  Occasionally, we would be surprised when a bell choir, within the singing choir, would just ring out or there would be totally controlled hand movement that matched the rhythm of  each section of singers. Perfection!
Thanks to Keith Snelson (who isn't really "crazy" but who makes me laugh on a regular basis) for telling me about this opportunity. It was extraordinary!
As we arrived for the concert, we captured a guy to take our picture and then a kind man named "Bob" took our picture at intermission:

Part 2:
Nila, Rita, Paula and I headed back to Paula's for the night. We got to hang around the Bowman B&B for a while the next morning. We enjoyed being there and had such fun just visiting.

                     "Hi Ron!!! Thanks (again) for sharing your beautiful home with us!"

                                      Nila and Rita soak up the sun on one of the decks.

                                 Yes! I know! These are my friends. Nothing but CLASS!!!
Paula and Ron headed out about noon for a vacation and Rita, Nila and I headed back to Marion where Nila had picked up Rita from work. I'm so glad that I was able to get a tour of the Indiana Wesleyan University campus. I'm sure that Rita's students would love to have a copy of the photo above!

The groundskeeper should be given a raise! Rita was very patient as Nila and I stopped every
 2 minutes just to take pictures of the flowers! Gorgeous!!!!!
On our "Tour by Rita", we came upon statues of people who "demonstrate their Christian faith through the quality of their work in a secular world." This display is called the Society of World Changers. They were impressive:

Tony Dungy

                                                            Bill & Gloria Gaither
                                                                   Kirk  Cameron
James Dobson

                          There were several other busts but these were the people I knew.

                          I wanted to take this "globe" home for Tom but it was too heavy!

Next, we walked to the Williams Prayer Chapel:

This 18th century Gothic chapel is a place to sit and reflex, pray and meditate.

Nila and Rita shared quiet moments together.

There were several books that were totally filled with hand-written prayers
left by visitors.  

                                                      Another beautiful floral display

                                                     Jesus Blesses the Children
John Wesley

With the tour completed, we had time to run to the nearest yogurt shop for a snack before we had to tell Rita goodbye.

It was such a fun couple of days with Paula, Nila and Rita. It is a gift to have family and friends with which to share experiences, great music, laughter and love. Thanks again to Paula and Ron for sharing your home with us.

Until next time...

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