A few of us in my ward have been talking about the possibilities of church music. These posts have grown out of those conversations with the permission of the participants.
In sacrament meeting, a piano solo is announced. Brother H goes up to the stand and stops at the podium. He says, ‘ “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” is one of my favorite hymns, and if you would like, you could follow along with the words as I play the music. It’s number 136 in the hymnbook.’ And he proceeds to the piano.
He plays an arangement of the song once. As he starts the second verse, we hear a woman’s voice singing quietly in the congregation:
I know that my Redeemer lives;
She gets louder:
O the sweet joy this sentence gives!
She stands up in the middle of the congregation, singing so we can hear her clearly:
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
he lives, my ever living Head.
Now someone else in the congregation stands up and joins her:
He lives to bless me with his love,
And a member of the bishopric stands and joins them:
he lives to plead for me above,
One of the young women:
he lives my hungry soul to feed,
And a man in the back row:
he lives to bless in time of need.
As the hymn continues, members of the congregation continue to rise and sing. The idea is that each member of the congregation would choose whether or not they wished to join the seemingly spontaneous performance, even if most discerning eyes would see that those first ten were planned. By the end of the hymn, hopefully, everyone is standing, singing together, giving a sense of being unified by the testimony of Christ … if not, the image of a choir spread throughout the room singing from the congregation rather than from the front of the room singing at the congregation would maintain the symbolism at a different level.
What would you think of that? Would you join in? Do you think a mormon congregation would join in without being explicitly invited? Is this emotionally powerful or emotionally manipulative? And is there a difference?