I just returned home from an amazing choral tour with The Southern Utah Heritage Choir to Central Europe. All of our concerts were truly inspiring, whether those that were impromptu in a town’s square or in the Vienna State Opera House and Hungarian State Opera House, or our larger concerts at St. Steven’s Cathedral, master class in Augartenpalais with renown Erasmus Baumgartner (Vienna Boy’s Choir conductor) and our final and full concert in St. Matthias Church in Budapest. The music was moving to say the least for those of us participating and those who listened, but life altering for those who opened their ears.
Touring the Haus der Musik in Vienna Austria offered learning for me on literally every level and even higher than what met my eyes and ears on the four floors of the former Palais of Archduke Charles and also the residence of Otto Nicolai (1810 – 1849), who composed the opera “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and founded the Vienna Philharmonic. After our educational visit to the museum last week and after having rendered our own choral “sound of music” to the hills of Central Europe, I came up with an awe inspiring discovery about the power of sound….you might say, my ears were open to hear.
On the second floor, the museum allows you to “Let your ears take a stroll through the amazing world of tonal and sound phenomena. The Prenatal Sensory Rush, Instrumentarium, Sound Gallery and a lot more awaits here.” Haus der Musik I became fascinated with sound waves as their vibration has a physical affect on all the elements within its path and even further in an unknown phenomenon. This was demonstrated in multiple kinesthetic learning mediums: computerized sound waves, visual, touch and physical scientific demonstration. Though I enjoyed all the different aspects of learning about sound waves and the human experience with it, my favorite was a small box filled with saw dust. It showed how vibration from even small sound waves has the power and energy to move objects as it lifted and carried the saw dust particles into the air in a domino effect.
One of the greatest aspects of choral singing is the unified power of sound vibration and the energy and power it carries out into the world. There are only two types of unified sound energy that has true power to penetrate deeper for those who open their ears: Prayer and music. When we couple these two in songs of prayer, its unseen power is beyond comprehension. Look at the walls of Jericho falling down after the trumpets sounded in unison while following the army round about for six days. Then, waiting until the seventh day to make any verbal noise, Joshua gave the command for the men to shout following the sound of the trumpets one last time. Joshua 6 Add one more element to this which is stated in the scripture: God’s power; the power of the priesthood and there you find the power to move all elements….not just saw dust or what the physical world hears.
There is another sound or voice that our natural or physical world can hear but cannot understand because it’s not harsh nor loud….”notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.” 3 Nephi 11: 3 This phenomenon didn’t even occur until after the third time the people thought they heard a voice. “And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-hear ye him.” 3 Nephi 11:7
I know the sound we made collectively as a choir went out like a great energy vibration to the all the people of Central Europe, not just to those in attendance, but to those beyond the walls; this is the great blessing choral music gives freely to the world. Its unseen force of good to those who hear and those who open their ears will resonate within every heart and into the very fibers of each soul. To those who listen and open their ears, I pray they look steadfastly towards heaven from whence the sound came and understand that we like the army of Joshua, and the angels singing along with us like the ram horn blowers, are the mouthpiece for God in declaring that Jesus is the Christ, that our loving Heavenly Father sent His only begotten son into the world to pay the price of our sins and to teach faith, repentance, remission of sins through baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Together, and with God’s power, our unified sound as God’s Christian chorus will let down the great walls of Satan as we proclaim through prayer, music and missionary work to those who open their ears and hear Him.