Joy to the World

Jake and I just finished up with an ambitious choral and orchestral undertaking. We started rehearsals in September, and rehearsed once a week since then. The event was called Joy to the World. The choir in its entirety had nearly 300 members. We worked in smaller groups, four total, to rehearse and learn our parts with a local director for each of the four choirs. The 60 member orchestra rehearsed independently. We met combined twice before our guest conductor arrived on Thursday. We were blessed to be "fine tuned" and led by Dr. Craig Jessop, former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

It was amazing to see how he could mold all of the notes we'd learned into an incredible musical experience. I initially decided to join the choir for a few reasons, the number one being that Jake was going to be the rehearsal accompanist and the pianist/organist for the actual concert. I hardly ever get to see him, so if we could be in the same room for any given amount of time sharing a common experience, I was in. The other things that swayed my decision: I love to sing, Craig Jessop would be conducting, and the concert was going to be at the Civic Center (Oklahoma City's premier performance space).

The experience was transformed for me after the notes were learned and when the meaning of what was happening set in. We were coming together as a collective to tell the story of Christ's birth through music. The concert was free and open to the community. 1. I love Jesus. 2. I love communal experiences. 3. I love when I hear Jake play the organ, which had been once ever before the rehearsals and concerts we had. This experience will be treasured for the way it helped bring Christ to the forefront of this season. I came to understand more about my relationship with him as I was consumed by the spirit of the music. I was making personal declarations with each note I sang. And even in the three notes I didn't sing during the Hallelujah Chorus in our evening performance because my voice was on its way out. ;) The event was recorded and will be broadcast two more times this holiday season on KSBI 52 (KSBI-TV can be viewed on Cox Cable Channel 7 - HD 707, AT&T U-verse 52 – HD 1052, DirecTV 52 and Dish 52). The remaining show times are as follows:

Monday December 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Tuesday December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

With all of the final rehearsals and performances and a few other out of the ordinary life events I haven't seen my girls as much as usual since Thursday. I have been missing them! SO MUCH! They went home with Vaughn and Tracey after the matinee performance. When we got to Jake's parents this afternoon, I was happy, elated, ecstatic to see them. Goo was napping. I took advantage of some time to be next to Cora on the couch for a little while. We had the Johnson Family Sing Along tonight. In between food and music, I snuggled and loved and kissed them extra. I laid with Cora until she fell asleep. I love them. Taller than the moon and further than the sun. I'm pretty sure Cora is magical.

When I came downstairs to check my email after Cora was asleep, I saw that my friend Ryan's blog had been updated. Her daughter, Ellie Kate (7), was released from the hospital into home hospice care four days ago. They made a little "Life List" as a family of things to do to make some extra special memories in the time Ellie Kate had left. When I saw the new update, I knew what it would say. "Elizabeth Kathleen McLaughlin was welcomed by the arms of Jesus at 11am today." In knowing/anticipating what would come, I have felt so many emotions. I have cried and cried in the last few days, but when I read those words, I was filled with peace. I've been praying for peace at this time, not only for the family, but for all who knew them. Thousands have been touched by Ellie Kate and her family. I knew everyone would be sad to hear of her passing. So sad. My heart is breaking for the empty arms of a mother. Her family has called this her Ultimate Healing, and I love the spirit that evokes, despite the void that comes without her physical presence. I think it is a source of much of the peace I know I'm not alone in feeling. Someone put it perfectly, "We are grieving and rejoicing." Her services will be on Friday. I shared a bit about Ellie Kate and her family earlier this year:

This week has been one full of miracles for me. Each one has had life and love at the core. The miracle of God the Father sending his only begotten son. The miracle of friends welcoming a new baby. The miracle of Ellie Kate's life and the cyclical feeling that could only come this time of year of God calling her back into his presence. I am grateful to be aware of these and many more occurrences in such a short amount of time. I cannot deny God's presence in my life after seeing how he moves in me and in the lives of those around me. He is Good.

To read more about Ellie Kate's family:

To help the McLaughlin Family financially:
The Ellie Kate Project
Helping Hands Ministry
C/O Susie Tietz
135 Main Street
PO Box 337
Tallulah Falls, GA

1 comment:

  1. "I was making personal declarations with each note I sang."


    It was clear and good.



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