Yes, Bernard, and BleedsBlue, there is a difference. I will never forget being
at the Oakland Temple Pageant one year and hearing the voices of the "future
missionaries" as they marched in with International flags, wearing the
costumes of those countries, singing, "The Spirit of God Like A Fire is
Burning" for it really was like a fire. I've often wondered how many of
those teens went on to serve.
Interesting question, one I do not thing I would have ever thought of. I believe
the effect music has had on me at times has definitely been a spiritual
experience. I do not necessarily separate the two. That doesn't mean every
type of musical experience I have had was spiritual or that every type of
spiritual experience I have had has been musical, but sometimes it was both.
Listening to the Messiah one year was one of the most spiritual experiences I
have ever had. It hasn't happened like that every time I listen to the
Messiah, but the music usually does have a powerful effect on me. But this one
time, it was definitely a spiritual experience, one that will always stick with
me. That is just one example.
I have had both kinds of experiences...musical and spiritual. For me, they are
not the same. What I consider true spiritual experiences are far more
profound and life-changing, but I do notdiscount the positve power music
can have on emotions and feelings.
An interesting question, Bernard. All of my friends who have left the Church and
become agnostic or atheistic would agree with you. I wonder myself, as I listen
to opera now, which is often about horrible subjects, yet elicits the same
emotional response as what I once felt was a strictly spiritual reaction.
As a professional LDS instrumental musician with 50 years of performance and
educational experience, I have come to wonder if the effects if music are
emotional, not spiritual.
Our high school A Cappella Choir teacher Glenn Montague passed away this last
year. Some years ago, we had a choir reunion with those who had been in his
choirs over the half-dozen years he was at our high school before going to a
California college. We decided to do a concert, and he agreed. We had attendees
who had never sung in the same choir--earlier members of our reunion choir had
graduated years before those of his last years of tenure. But within 30 minutes,
he had us all together, singing in one unified choir voice. As we performed the
concert, we had to bring in extra chairs.The depth of feeling we all had
was nothing short of amazing--very spiritual. To this day, I cannot sing even a
congregational hymn without putting the techniques he taught us into practice.
Even more importantly, the spirit he instilled in each of us remains, and will
until we join him across the veil. Perhaps we can hold another reunion concert!
Such a wonderful, timely piece for our family. We have only one daughter. She
sang before she could talk. At five, she told us she wanted to sing opera.
(We're kinda jazz/rock ourselves...) At nine, we finally got her a voice
teacher, but after six lessons he pled with us to move to NYC or Italy where she
could get the training she deserved. "I can count on one hand the number of
people born every hundred years who have her instrument," he said. Of
course, with a big family we couldn't uproot, we did what we could for her,
and she later studied with Susan Boren at BYU when she was 13. At 16, she
graduated and moved to the east coast to study at The Manhattan School of Music.
She put herself through school, and may have those student loans forever. I had
a hard time understanding her determination, drive and dedication. We just got
off the phone with her five minutes ago. She has finished a summer program in
Austria, and finally knows she is a true lirico-spinto soprano. She is a gift
from God, and will always use her voice to honor Him.
I really enjoyed this article. How true what an affect music can have on each of
us. Roy is a wonderful bass who joined his wife Mary Lou at our Provo High
School Class of 1953 Reunion last night. It was great to see both of them after
they drove from their home in Bloomington, Indiana.