In the Village: Singing together is inspirational — and aspirational

Published: Thursday, Nov. 3 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

There is great power in the sheer act of joining our voices together to sing. Our ward is blessed with a congregation that really sings — our hymns are not half-hearted mumblings; the organist can play at full volume without fear of drowning us out.

Part of the power comes from the music, from feeling our voices produce sound that is magnified many times over by the others singing with us, by the reverberation of the room.

This effect is truly inspirational, and it does not require words. Think of Pachelbel's Canon in D, or Ravel's "Bolero," in which many instrumental voices are added together until we reach a climax of sound.

But what makes our hymns — and those performances — so much more powerful is that they are beyond inspirational; the words make them aspirational as well.

Hymns teach us by putting truthful, noble words in our own mouths. Our youth choir sang words that make us want to be "goodly parents who love the Lord."

It matters that they said, together, "The errand of angels is given to women." It matters that they spoke, as one, of their mothers kneeling: "I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray."

It always matters when we are joined in song with dozens or hundreds of others who share the same aspirations.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I offer an aspirational hymn of my own, "All That the Earth Can Yield," first published in the October 1981 Ensign. The sheet music to three different musical settings can be downloaded (free) at www.nauvoo.com.

Orson Scott Card is a writer of nonfiction and fiction, from LDS works to popular fiction. Leave feedback for Card at www.nauvoo.com/contact_desnews.html.

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