Sunday, August 31, 2014

Practical Choir Practice Tips

Practical Choir Practice Tips

for our

General Conference Choir Oct 2014


v Enhance your vocal tones – Sing with a dropped jaw and your corners in – not a wide-mouth expression which brings the jaw up.  Practice singing “WIDE” and listen to the difference when the tone is forward with your jaw lower and your mouth corners are moved inward.


v Shape your vowels – I prefer to use Spanish vowel sounds: 

ah – eh — ee — oh — ooo

         Practice singing “tall” vowels, not “wide” ones - 

? – How do you sing ‘wide’?  Ans:   “WAH-EED” 

Remember, we’re in Utah, but we’re singing to the World
v Articulate the pronunciation of your words – Practice this now in your daily conversations and singing.


v Seek His Image in your Countenance – Practice having a pleasant, happy, smiling, and loving face as you keep Him at the forefront of your heart and mind.  Whether you have an actual “SMILE” or the slightest muscle lift in your cheeks – BOTH up-lift and lighten your eyes!  Even just barely moving your closed lips into “I’m thinking about smiling” position will enhance your face physically. Remember, to practice this at all times and in all places, especially, when you think no one is watching you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Our Choir Likened in the Scriptures

I have realized that the Lord is leading me along through my daily scripture reading!

I have had spiritual promptings before but have never previously recognized such a daily parallel of my life and experiences inside the scriptures!  It's been so exciting that several times I've wanted to read ahead just so I could envision what the spirit was going to teach me; but, I decided to stick to my Chapter a Day reading in the Book of Mormon and read other scriptures or General Conference talks if I was feeling that I wanted more. 

Besides, it's been such a blessing, similar to when Errol and I were serving our mission together, to be reading the same Chapter in the Book of Mormon everyday. It makes our lives in sync with what we've read and studied in the scriptures. We feel more in tune and find that our conversations often are related to what inspired our hearts that day.

Today I want to share how our Choir was 'Likened' in the scriptures in my heart, mind, and thoughts as I was reading in Alma 57 of Helaman's band of 2000 stripling warriors.  I felt as if I was reading about my Choir of three hundred and sixty four!

The following is how I felt prompted as I was reading the actual scriptures, but in my mind's eye was internalizing these words:

Our Choir 'Likened' in the Scriptures (Alma 57)

  19 But behold, my little band of three hundred and sixty four sang most desperately; yea, they were firm before the world….

  20 …..behold, those three hundred and sixty four were firm and undaunted.

  21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to sing every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught and sang unto them.

  25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my three hundred and sixty four, who had fainted because of the loss of breath; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole choir, there was not one voice of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one voice among them who had not received much hoarseness.

  26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole choir, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren and sisters who were waiting in the wings to sing. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that their voices should be preserved by his marvelous power.

  27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are singers, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.

Likening our Choir in the Scriptures has been a most wondrous and uplifting daily journey!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How This Choir Journey Began

Before I can go forward, I must begin at the beginning, four weeks ago, when I received a letter from the General Music Committee in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I remember feeling stunned with an immense sense of gratitude filling my entire being.  I was being called to be the Director for the Sat Aft session of General Conference at 2pm and would lead a 364 voice choir from 9 Stakes in Grantsville, Stansbury Park, and Tooele, Utah.  My heart felt full of love, wonder and awe! I was confident and nervous – all in the same breath!
The very first thing that I did after opening my letter – when I realized that I wasn’t laying on the floor, was to hobble over to Errol and have him lay his hands on my head to give me a Priesthood blessing. 

 At the time, Errol was recovering from emergency surgery to repair a ruptured artery in his sinus passages, causing multiple uncontrollable nose bleeds during the previous 2 1/2 weeks. He was on bed rest per the Dr’s orders, but thankfully, he was still able to give me a blessing.  After the blessing, a feeling a calming Peace surrounded me and I knew that heaven was close AND that the Lord would help me.
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Sweet hour of Prayer, that calls me from a world of care♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
It was at that moment, that I also felt impressed with a great need to plead to the Lord on behalf of each and every choir member, whom I had not yet met. 
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪In the name of Christ, our Savior, did you sue for loving favor as a shield today?
I knew right then and there that I needed to pray for them, with out fail, every day and night that the Lord would lift their burdens or lighten their loads so that they might be spiritually prepared to sing in our choir.
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪And since He bids me seek His face, believe His word and trust His grace,
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪I'll cast on Him my ev'ry care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer
This labor of love and prayers has caused me to weep with a constant joy that daily fills my heart!
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
My thoughts seem to be breaking into song at every turn! Don't forget to pray♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪



Monday, August 18, 2014

Choir Singing the Songs of Zion

Hollie directing the Choir for La Musica y Las Palabras de Inspriacion

 Just getting ready for our General Conference Choir Experience!  I am feeling so blessed!

I've decided that I need to Blog about my upcoming experience in directing the 364 voice choir for the Sat Afternoon Session of General Conference. Our choir has been selected by Priesthood leaders from 9 Stakes in Tooele, Stansbury Park, and Grantsville, Utah. From the very moment of opening my letter inviting me to serve, I have felt overwhelmed, nervous, joyous, and blessed at the same time! The music of heaven has been written upon my heart and I want to begin this journey by sharing the following quotes:


“Music is given of God to further his purposes. Sweet melodies mellow the souls of men and help prepare them for the gospel. After men receive the truth, songs of praise to Deity help to sanctify and cleanse their souls.”
-- Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (1966), 521

“Music can set an atmosphere of worship which invites [the] spirit of revelation, of testimony.”
-- President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22

I often hear music as I'm reading the scriptures

“When music is presented which, however appropriate for other occasions, does not fit the Sabbath, much is lost. . . . The Spirit does not ratify speech nor confirm music which lacks spiritual substance.”
-- President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22

“Those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does.”
-- President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22                                    

“An organist who has the sensitivity to quietly play prelude music from the hymnbook tempers our feelings and causes us to go over in our minds the lyrics which teach the peaceable things of the kingdom. If we will listen, they are teaching the gospel, for the hymns of the Restoration are, in fact, a course in doctrine!”
-- President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22

Hollie accompanying on the organ in Madrid, Spain

“The singing of our sacred hymns, written by the servants of God, has a powerful effect in converting people to the principles of the Gospel, and in promoting peace and spiritual growth.”
-- President Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, Sept. 1940, 522

“We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.”
-- President J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 111

“Music is truly the universal language, and when it is excellently expressed how deeply it moves our souls.”
-- President David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1945, 119

“The most effective preaching of the gospel is when it is accompanied by beautiful, appropriate music.”
-- President Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 181

“Inspiring music may fill the soul with heavenly thoughts, move one to righteous action, or speak peace to the soul.”
-- President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1974, 67

“The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.”
-- Doctrine and Covenants 45:71

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
-- Psalm 69:30

“Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music.”
-- “First Presidency Preface,” Hymns, 1985
Choirs often sing with the Angels!

“Hymns can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action. They can fill our souls with heavenly thoughts and bring us a spirit of peace.”
-- “First Presidency Preface,” Hymns, 1985

“We hope the hymnbook will take a prominent place among the scriptures and other religious books in our homes.”
-- “First Presidency Preface,” Hymns, 1985

I've been playing the entire Hymnbook since before my teen years

“Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones.”
-- “First Presidency Preface,” Hymns,

“The singing of the songs of Zion, though imperfectly, with the inspiration of God, will touch the hearts of the honest more effectively than if sung well without the Spirit of God.”
-- President Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, July 1901, 686

“I wonder sometimes if we realize the importance of music. I wonder if we know that the Lord himself is concerned about it. He has given us the information that the song of praise is a prayer unto him. . . . It [is] our privilege, yea, our blessing, to sing and . . . our songs should be sung in righteousness.”
-- President George Albert Smith, Church News, Feb. 16, 1946, 6

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.”
-- Psalm 66:1–2

Families can make the best music

“Music can act upon our senses to produce or induce feelings of reverence, humility, fervor, assurance, or other feelings attuned to the spirit of worship.”
-- President Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball (1982), 519

“The singing of hymns and the rendition of selections from the great sacred oratorios by ward choirs all enhance the spirit of worship.”
-- President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1987, 45

Who doesn't love the Hallelujah Chorus!

“I am comforted by the assurance that there will be beautiful music in heaven, and for that I am most grateful.”
-- President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1982, 4

“We are able to feel and learn very quickly through music, through art, through poetry some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly.”
-- President Boyd K. Packer, 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year (1977), 267

“It really matters what you listen to. . . . Select music that will strengthen your spirit.”
-- Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, Nov. 1985, 32

“There come to one's soul heavenly thoughts as he joins in heavenly expressions coupled with heavenly melody.”
-- Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, May 1983, 12

“Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
-- Ephesians 5:18–20

Bert and Amanda DuPont were always filled with music

“My soul is always lifted up, and my spirit cheered and comforted, when I hear good music. I rejoice in it very much indeed.”
--President Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1969, 110

“Religious music is by far the greatest music of the ages. What is there to compare—in rhythmic beauty, poetic sublimity, and inspired teachings—with the Psalms of David?”
-- Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (1966), 520

“Listen to and sing the music of heaven.”
-- Elder William R. Bradford, Ensign, May 1976, 98

“If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.”
-- Doctrine and Covenants 136:28

It's impossible to say those words without hearing the melody in your mind

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
-- Colossians 3:16

“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
-- Psalm 100:2

“When you sing the hymns, . . .ponder the meaning of the words, enjoy the spirit of the music. Sing with enthusiasm without regard to your tones. You will have a good feeling, and your spirit will be enlivened.”
-- Elder Graham W. Doxey, Ensign, Oct. 1991, 26

Music motivates and uplifts our ideals

“When we rejoice in beautiful scenery, great art, and great music, it is but the flexing of instincts acquired in another place and another time.”
-- Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1984, 21

All of these musical quotes are found here.