I don’t have a clue when it comes to music. I couldn’t recognize a chord, a string, or a note if my life depended on it. When I was young, I used to make fun of musical people. The band, the choir, the orchestra…they were all just a bunch of “nerds.” What a gall dang idiot I was. I continue to marvel at my youthful levels of stupidity.
I played an instrument up until about the 7th grade. At that point, it stopped “being cool” to me and I went on to pursue a life of sports. I loved almost every sport imaginable but focused on baseball. Ask me how often I play baseball now. Yeah…never. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I persisted with an instrument.
There comes a time in every athlete’s life when they are required to “hang up their cleats.” Between the ages of 20-30, most athletes have been forced to stop playing the sport that they love. At about the time when I’m hanging up my cleats…there’s a musician somewhere that’s just become an expert at their craft. They are primed and ready to bless the lives of others through the over 10,000 hours of practice they’ve invested. What do I have to show for all those hours of fielding ground balls?
I’m not trying to bag on sports here. I love sports. I will always love sports and will always love doing athletic activities. Sports is really all I knew…so I was a little taken back when my wife told me that she wanted our kids to join a choir.
“What?” I said emphatically. “You want our kids to join a choir?”
I never thought of my little boy singing in a choir. I sort of shuttered at the thought. In our house…we threw balls, swung bats, and shot baskets. We reveled in beating other teams, striking other kids out, and watching them sulk their way back to the dugout.
To make a long story short…my wife won our “discussion” on the subject and I have committed myself to “keep an open mind.” So keep an open mind I did.
The name of the choir that my kids joined was called the Millennial Choir and Orchestra. They would drive an hour each way, once a week to practice for their upcoming performance. As the weeks went by, I realized that they loved what they were doing. “Oh great,” I said to myself silently.
But as time went on, I realized that there was something special about this Millennial Choir thingy. I realized that this organization was more than just music. It was a movement. The music was secondary. The conductors, or teachers, or coaches, or whatever you call them…were training my kids with the discipline of some of my best baseball coaches. It wasn’t a bunch of fru fru singers flitting around on the stage making noises. What I saw instead were some of the most distinguished and talented people coming together to bless the lives of my kids and others.
As we approached the “big night” when our kids would be performing in the elegant Segerstrom Hall, I must say…I still had a twinge of sports snobbery in my heart. I always love to support my kids in whatever they enjoy but I didn’t approach the event with the same sort of anticipation as I would when they would be “taking the mound” in a big game or “running on to the field.”
Eventually I took my seat. I was in the first row of the “nosebleeds” section and I had to sneak a chocolate chip cookie into my wife’s purse since they didn’t have popcorn and hotdog vendors in the aisles. I figured that cookie might just be the thing to keep me awake.
But a funny thing happened to me when the music started. I was overcome with a wave of emotion. The orchestra was unlike anything I had ever heard in my life. It wasn’t the rock n’ roll, or rap, or alternative music I grew up with. As the choir opened their mouths to sing, it seemed to shake the building, but in a peaceful way. I can only describe what I saw and heard as a heavenly choir.
There I was, not interested in my chocolate chip cookie…staring, listening, and admiring this masterpiece almost immediately.
As the night went on, my kid’s age group was ushered on to the stage to perform the pieces they had been practicing for months now. They began singing, accompanied by the orchestra as it set the tone. I scanned the stage hoping to find them as I sat so far away. Already emotional, I looked around for them them in the crowd onstage. When I found them, I locked my eyes on them. Here they were, singing their hearts out to God in hymns of praise and Thanksgiving. In all of the church programs of the past and at home, neither of these two kids would open their mouth to sing…but amongst this angelic choir, they had the confidence and comfortability to sing to God with every ounce of energy in their souls.
I watched them and knew they were having a spiritual experience that they would never forget. In that moment, I was happier for them than I have ever been at any other event…including sports. I was more proud then, than I would have been if they had just thrown a perfect game or scored a winning goal. I realized, while sitting in Segerstrom Hall, that what was happening in this Millennial Choir was not just music…it was a movement.
“This is not just music.” I kept saying to myself. “This is not just some performance. This is some of the most effective training on life my kids will ever receive.”
This movement is about gathering people of all faiths and uniting them through music. It’s about pointing kids toward God and raising up a righteous generation. It’s about becoming fountains and not drains. It’s about filling their lives with messages of goodness, and blessing the lives of others. It’s about providing an alternative to the garbage we find in the popular music of our day. It’s about teaching kids how to feel and recognize the spirit from a young age. It’s about creativity, innovation, and harmony with the people around you.