My wife and I tend to have the same conversation with acquaintances on a regular basis. We go through all the small talk and it usually ends up in someone asking us what our kids are into. We proceed to tell them that they’re in a really great choir. “Oh… that’s cool” they normally say in a reserved sarcastic tone. Yeah… a choir. I never thought I’d be telling my friends that my kids were in a choir. It wasn’t how I grew up and it wasn’t what I would have imagined for my kids.
So when I try to explain to my friends, co-workers, or church members how I feel about the Millenial Choir and Orchestras, they don’t really catch the vision. They just don’t. And there are no words adequate enough to convince them that this is much bigger than “just a choir.” I don’t blame them for not understanding. I imagine that if I told people that my kids were singing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or playing in the Los Angeles Philharmonic that I might get an “oooooooo” or an “ahhhhhh.” But it just isn’t so. I try to convince them that this isn’t just some random community kids choir. It’s frustrating to try and explain. The only thing I can do is buy them a ticket to the next concert and beg them to come with us and see for themselves. There is just no other way to articulate what I see and hear. You just have to experience it for yourself… and that experience will melt you.
So for anyone that I’ve let down by my inadequacy to properly express myself verbally, let me just summarize what I believe the Millennial Choir truly represents. I’m a dad… watching my kids find themselves at the center of what I would consider the greatest movement in the history of music. I know that sounds like a bold and extreme claim. There have been other obvious historical musical movements that have changed the world and changed lives. You’ve got the rock and roll era. You’ve got rap and hip hop. Rhythm and blues. And many more genres and musical movements that have captivated the masses and inspired people for both good and bad. We have things like American Idol, The Voice, and many other shows and movements that create superstars and allow young talent to shine. It creates raving fans, hype, excitement, anticipation, and fun.
But as far as I know, there has never been a musical movement for young people that was so calculated to bring good into their lives, and into the lives of those they perform for. When they perform, there is both reverence and power displayed. It’s as if every time they play, they’re drawing upon the powers of heaven to usher in the Millennium. I’ve sat there on many occasions in Segerstrom Hall with tears in my eyes thinking to myself that if God could choose a choir and orchestra to play for him in heaven, this would be it. Oddly enough… this choir is largely composed of an age group of individuals we would identify as “millennials.” That name carries with it multiple connotations in connection with this movement.
For me, it is the Millennial Choir, composed of a bunch of millennials, who are building a righteous musical army capable of ushering in the millennium with the sound of their voice and the integrity of their hearts. They sing their souls out to God. You can see it in their faces. You can see it in their tears. And it sounds better than any other group of musicians I have ever heard in my life. By far.
I took a history of music class in college so that makes me an expert in music. Not really. 🙂 I stink at music. I couldn’t read a note to save my life. But what I feel as I sit and listen to this choir and orchestra is something that I cannot get anywhere else. Why is it so powerful? I’ve asked myself. Is it because the Stewart brothers and the other conductors are so talented? I’m sure that’s part of it. But there are lots of talented musicians out there in the world. What makes this so special?
I’m convinced that what makes this movement so special is the light that is emanating from the pure souls who are singing their hearts out to God. I’ll never forget traveling to Washington D.C. to watch the Millennial Choir sing in Strathmore Hall. I remember distinctly seeing 15-16 year old young men and women struggle to get through their songs, as their spirit filled voices were silenced by their emotion and tears. They could have been doing so many others things in their life. But here they were, praising God, making their parents proud, being an example to others, and blessing the lives of everyone who was in attendance.
I wish I could capture in writing what I see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and feel with my soul as I sit in awe of this movement. I have gained enough experience with MCO now to make this claim: This is the greatest movement in the history of music. The name they bear is most appropriate. Brett Stewart stood in a newly constructed Segerstrom hall and had a vision of what this movement could become… but could he have ever comprehended what it has become in the short span of ten years? Did the Stewart’s comprehend that the name they chose for the choir would be so appropriate? I have no idea. But what it is now… is worthy in my mind of being the choir that ushers in the Savior’s millennial return.