Last year for Easter dinner I went all out and did a full fledged Mediterranean dinner. I really loved how that turned out, but I knew that it would not be practical this year since I was performing in the Messiah choir tonight. So, I split up my Passover (I know what I made is not a traditional Seder meal) and Easter meal wishes into three nights. Friday night we had Matzoh Ball Soup before heading to the Temple (thanks again Erin!). Saturday night we had Indonesian Chicken Satays, Israeli Couscous with grilled veggies, and a cucumber salad. And tonight we had a glazed ham, party potatoes, deviled eggs, and green beans. It all turned out successfully, even though I can always say, "It needed a little more..." (I will ALWAYS think now of President Uchtdorf's amazing talk from the last General R.S. conference when I start a sentence like that!)
As we were warming up our director told us a little about his music background. He grew up a Baptist and felt he had been issued a calling from the Lord to become a minister of music. He ended up ministering for the Methodist church for something like 10-15 years and then switched to the Presbyterian church for about the same amount of time. He was approached by a woman in our stake (my Bishop's wife) 10 years ago to conduct Handel's Messiah and has done so every year since except 1. That one year his pastor over him "read him his rights" and pretty much said he should not conduct the choir for the Mormons and that it was displeasing to God and a disgrace to his calling. He felt compelled to not conduct that year (though he couldn't refrain from singing in the choir!), but he later decided there was no way the Lord could be displeased in such an open and loving act of praise for Jesus Christ. He found a new church to attend after that and has since resumed conducting the Easter Messiah choir!
Every year the choir members pitched in for a small gift for him as a token of gratitude. Because this year was his 10th anniversary of conducting, the woman in charge asked the Stake President if we could fly Jim and his wife to SLC to watch a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, either the pioneer day celebration performance or a Christmas Performance. (He is a huge fan of MoTab even though he's not LDS.) What ever the choir members didn't cover the Stake was going to. She emailed all past and present participants with this suggestion and together we contributed over $1000 to help with the expense! They presented that gift to him tonight after the performance and he was estatic and very touched. When she sent out the suggestion in the email, I was so touched I actually became teary eyed!
I was so grateful to Matt who took care of Dean while I practiced the past 6 Saturday mornings. He also brought Dean to the performance tonight even though it started when he should have been put in bed! Dean did so well. He sat on Matt's lap and listened for probably 20 min. and happily ran around in the back the rest of the time. I could see him pointing up at me and waving. It was very cute.
The performance turned out so well! My absolute favorites to sing were the Hallelujiah Chorus (the audience stood and sang what they knew with us), and the Amen Chorus. I just couldn't keep from smiling and I felt such a strong sense of gratitude for my Savior and for the opportunity I had to sing praises to Him! And that was my Easter miracle! I have had HORRIBLE allergies the past week. My nose has been stuffed constantly and today I felt hoarse most of the day. I was quite worried about my ability to actually sing tonight, but for that one hour I didn't even notice my allergies, my nose was not stuffed, and I was able to sing to the best of my ability!! I sang strong and well and felt very blessed for that. (When I was pregnant with Dean I couldn't sing the entire pregnancy! I don't know what caused it, but my voice continually cracked and broke. I was worried it would last forever. I was just thinking tonight how grateful that I am that recovered from that and that it has not been a problem for me this pregnancy!) The full orchestra really added so much to the performance. It was rich. I felt rich for having had the opportunity to do this. What a beautiful way to celebrate Christ the Lord on Easter!
He is Risen!
Arnold Friberg’s painting The Light of Christ.