Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Memory--A Celebration of Christmas

My freshman year at BYU, I auditioned for the BYU choirs. I knew the competition for getting into the choirs at BYU was stiff, and I thought I was prepared for the auditioning process but I really wasn't. I literally could feel the tension outside in the halls as people waited. I also overheard a lot of people talking about how this year we were going to be filmed for TV during the Christmas concert. I didn't know if that was a regular occurrence or not but it was "all the talk."

I went in for my audition and BUTCHERED the sight reading part. That is standard procedure for me, keeping me out of "All State Choir" my senior year and I could see on the director's face that she was sorely disappointed with me. After the audition, she said, "I am going to to bring you back for call backs but just so you know, your sight reading is one of the worst I have heard. It is not likely you will make Woman's Chorus." I was very disappointed and while I held it together in the audition room, I cried on the walk home. And, I cried on and off the rest of the night. I don't really know why it was such a blow (I hadn't made other things before) but I felt it hard and even my roommate, who had only known me for a few days, seemed shocked at how disappointed I was.

By the time of call backs, I had accepted my lot of not making the choir but decided to go to call backs anyway. Again, I was amazed at the competition. Everyone was VERY good and it was very intense and intimidating. I didn't even go and look at the "Who made it list" because I was sure I didn't make it. And, I was right, I didn't make it. Then, about a week after rehearsals started, I got a call from the director. She told me, "I haven't been able to get your voice out of my mind. I had girl drop out and I want you in Woman's Chorus. Will you promise to work on the music outside of class, so your sight reading won't hinder us?" I said yes and much to my shock, I was in Woman's Chorus!

Almost immediately, we were informed that BYU had been selected to be filmed for a PBS Christmas special. It was a huge honor and it was taken very seriously. Our Christmas concert would be on every PBS station across the United States. And, while we had other concerts as well as BYU devotional performances, everything seemed geared toward our December concert. That December of my freshman year was a blur of practices, extra practices, wardrobe fittings, hair and make-up instruction, posture correction, oh and my first semester of college finals and it was one of the most magical Christmas' of my life. The stage was decorated exquisitely. The music was uplifting, inspiring and awe-inducing. I would walk into practices and be struck by the beauty and divinity of music. I couldn't believe that God had given man this amazing gift of music and we were being allowed to be a part of His genius. And, little me, all 5'3" was standing on the stage performing these amazing wonders of music. While I have always considered music as a divine gift, it was during those months of Christmas music with the BYU choirs that cemented my love and appreciation for the divinity of it.

I continued to sing with the BYU choirs until I left on my mission two years later (making Woman's Chorus the next year without any special concessions, thank you very much) and I consider it a privilege to have been part of the BYU music magic. You can still purchase the Christmas CD "A Celebration of Christmas" here and occasionally they still run that Christmas concert on PBS. And, very briefly, you can see me (very skinny with a short blond bob hair cut on the farthest left, front row) when Woman's Chorus is singing. I listen and watch it with reverence. My soul changed my freshman year singing at BYU and I have never been the same--thankfully.


di said...

i think that it is so neat how you are recording your favorite christmas memories. your posterity will love them!

Gabriela said...

I didn't know you were in Woman's Chorus-that's so cool.

love.boxes said...

Every time I hear them perform, I am stuck by the difficult and complicated music the director chooses for this group. That is a real accomplishment Janice!

donna said...

I found your blog from laurie.

Hey from one Dentist's wife to another Dentist's wife
HAve a great day :).