Only I did belong and that was the beauty of it! I went on a field trip that I was NOT in charge of with many people, most of whom I did not know, and I belonged—or at least I was certainly made to feel welcome—and I loved every minute of it.
Welcome to Roy High’s Choir/Orchestra Tour 2016!
It was a whole new world for me. Being decidedly not-musical (I don’t even listen to the radio in the car unless Tanah forces me to), it really was new to me. I cannot produce a pitch (I’m not even sure what pitch is), I cannot hear the difference between notes sung from the back of the throat and those forced out the front, and I certainly cannot pick out a tune and sing it without accompaniment. But I can—I definitely can—feel the power of those who can do those things. For the first time in my life, I was a part of that power and it was heady. The power of music—to unite, to invite, to uplift, to inspire—is incredibly real and I was incredibly blessed to be a part of it for four fabulous days.
Our first stop was an exchange with a choir group at Highland High. Their kids sang several songs, our kids sang several songs, and then they taught us a song and we all sang together. I say “we” not because I sang with them but because I soared with them. The feeling of oneness was intoxicating; it seriously filled me with joy and made me almost tipsy. I loved, LOVED it and felt very privileged to be part of it.
My feeling of privilege continued when we visited the University of Utah and then Utah Valley University. At the “U”, our girls’ chorus sang my favorite song (Weep No More) and then their choir sang an acapella piece written in 12 parts that left us speechless. At UVU I sat on the edge of my seat as their choir director gave our choir instruction. I could not really understand what he taught them but I could totally appreciate his brilliance, energy and uncanny ability to hear differences in sounds that were completely indistinct to me. Later I had a similar experience at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. The director’s talent and knowledge drained me of words and filled me with wonder.
Singing was not the only fabulous aspect of the trip. We also hiked and audienced. Friday found us on the trail to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park and Saturday we were in Devil’s Kitchen in Colorado National Monument. We audienced at the Hale Centre Theatre production of “Joseph” in Orem and at the Symphony in Grand Junction. The Pharoah/David Bowie stole the show in Joseph and sleep stole my symphony experience.
The singing and hiking and audiencing were great but the best part of the trip was the people. I had three different seatmates—(It’s not always the trouble makers who are asked to move)—all of them under 19 and all of them wonderful. I roomed with Chick’s second grade teacher, Denise Call, and she was wonderful. Bishop Bradford and Monica, his wife, were on the trip. They took me under their wings and that was wonderful. The kids were wonderful; the staff at both hotels said they were one of the best, if not the best, group of teens they’d ever had. The other chaperones were wonderful; Trent Bills taught me how to better use my camera and three men, at my invitation, told me I was lovely. [Story: When I entered the hotel lobby, clothed for the symphony, I said “When I dress up fancy my husband always tells me I am lovely. Who’s going to do that for me?” Three men in our group graciously obliged.]
Also gracious was Nina Doxey, the RHS choir director. Darling Nina (gorgeous with long blonde, straight, flowing hair and a petite figure who is member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is refined, elegant, and cultured) called me (large boned farmer’s daughter with hair scattered towards all points of the globe who cannot tell a sharp from a flat) a kindred spirit. We certainly have some things in common—love of books and of hiking and of our daughters—and it was wonderful to get to know her.
And, for four days, I was “Tanah’s mom” and that was the most wonderful part of all. No longer Mrs. Hislop, I was fully “Tanah’s mom” and I fully enjoyed it. Several times I got teary eyed as I watched her. She is so much her own person and she is such a good, GOOD person. Beautiful, independent, fun (VERY FUN), and so talented and I am so, SO lucky to be her mom.