When I was a little girl, I remember telling my mother that one day I wanted to be in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (I also used to say that I was going to be Miss America and the President, but my delusions of grandeur are a discussion for another day.) Yesterday, I sang in a choir in the Tabernacle. It wasn’t THE Tabernacle Choir, but it may be as close as I’m every going to get. It was a great day.
Do you remember near the beginning of Dead Poets Society, when Robin Williams’ character takes the boys into the hallway and shows them the photos of students who went before them? He tells them, “if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” Do you remember all of that dramatic whispering?
Yesterday, as I entered the choir seats in the Tabernacle for the first time ever, I could hear the whisperings of my ancestors.
The director of this choir I was in lived in Hawaii for a time, and part of our concert attire was a lei. Not a flower lei, which would have been impractical this time of year, but a lei we made ourselves out of “fun fur.” (Here is where a photo would have been particularly relevant, but unfortunately we forgot the camera last night.) If you know me very well, you might guess that I’m not generally the type to wear anything made out of “fun fur.” But, during our concert, the director explained to the audience that a lei is not just a gesture or to look nice, but to the Hawaiians represents a hug around the neck from your ancestors, or from your unborn children. (Great, now I’m crying when I’m supposed to be singing!)
Hugs from my unborn child aside, what do you suppose my ancestors are whispering, as they are hugging me with my fun fur lei? I come from Mormon pioneer stock. My ancestors crossed the plains, and I know of at least one who helped build the very tabernacle I was singing in. They did all of this with immense sacrifice for themselves and their families. They had never heard of Robin Williams, but don’t you think, “make your life extraordinary,” is something like it? I want to live a life of faith and purpose that will make their sacrifices worthwhile.
If you are interested in reading more about the fascinating history of the Tabernacle (it’s the oldest building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City), go here.
If you want to see the Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert, register for free tickets (deadline is this Tuesday!) here.
If it is also your lifelong dream to sing in the Tabernacle and you live in Utah, let me know, and I’ll give you more info about the choir I was singing in.