06 March 2011

Testimony-type Songs

For those of you who have spent any time around me, at all, you know that I have a passion for music. And not just any music. Churchy music. Weird, right? I know, I know but I have a really good reason for it. Here's the story:
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was terrified of giving talks in church or bearing her testimony. Why? Because she could never find the right words to express how she really felt. This young woman went to college and became active in her ward choirs, school choirs, ward music council, and was even a choir director a few times. During those few years, the young woman realized something brilliant. If I keep organizing musical numbers for sacrament meeting, or leading the hymns, or directing the choir, they can't assign me a talk in church! I'm too busy singing! In her attempt to avoid speaking her church, she discovered something else about singing praises to God: her testimony was growing. About what? About whatever she sang about. She found that focusing on the words, understanding the emotion behind a song, and trying to express that to the congregation led to something much greater than just a nice song. She would sing songs and people actually felt the Spirit! Her favorite thing in the world is to hear people say that they were "moved" by a performance. Who cares if she messed up on that one line, or if the pianist dropped the book off the piano, or if the tenor in the quartet couldn't quite hit that last note. That isn't important. This young woman learned how to share her testimony through music and has loved every moment for the last five years. The end.
Now, I bring this up because of two things:
1) I saw a video on Godtube.com of a 7-year-old girl singing "Amazing Grace." This little girl has got skillz. With a 'z'. She rocked that piece. She should have been singing at the Super Bowl, not Black Eyed Peas. Yes, the song was great but it also felt a little bit...wrong(?) for her to be singing it. Let me explain. This girl is seven. She's missing her front teeth. There is no WAY she could know the true power of the Atonement. She's not even at the age of accountability yet! All I'm saying is that the song lacked true emotion. She can't know what it's like to be in the depths of despair and only have God and Jesus Christ to turn to. She can't know the glorious feeling that accompanies true repentance. While the song was nice to listen to, it didn't touch my soul. Get Gladys Knight to sing "Amazing Grace." She's just as "gospel" as this little girl, but I'm sure I would be more moved by Gladys's version.
Here is the video of that little girl singing. What do you think?

2) On April 10, I will be singing "His Hands" as a solo with my friend, Steph, who will be signing the words. (Signing=in American Sign Language) We did this last year for our single's ward's Easter Program and it was awesome. Since this is the last Easter Steph and I will probably ever spend in the same state, much less the same ward, we're doing it in our married ward. It's really moving to watch because Steph does a really good job signing and the congregation ends up watching her and not really focusing on me. Love it! Here's the problem. This song is super emotional. I mean, geez. How did the lyricist really expect anybody to sing this song without tearing up? I practice a lot but every time I get to the end I get all choked up. It's a problem. I don't want that to happen during sacrament meeting but I don't know how to stop it. It doesn't help that we have a bust of the Savior sitting on our piano. There I am, singing about His life and miracles, and then the atonement, and then I look over and He's like...watching me...I can't handle it! Anyway, I'm working on "keeping my testimony in check" so I don't break down into tears at the pulpit.
Here is a video from YouTube of the song. Not me and my friend but just the song so you can know what I'm talking about. It's not my favorite recording but just listen to the words. What do you think?


JONESIES said...

good post, good post I haven't watched the videos bc the kids are trying to sleep but I do love both of those songs. I totally know how you feel about not know the right words... I wish I could sing instead too... perhaps I can find something

Ransom said...

I'm diggin' on the Sacred Harp version of Amazing Grace that they opened & closed the video with. Fun times.