There was nothing we could do. We just had to sit there and let it happen. Some people thought it was the worst special music they ever had to do. The facts were, the orchestra hadn’t practiced much, and the choir barely knew the music.
Each new school year at Fountainview Academy finds the music program forced to squeeze through an interesting kind of bottleneck. The musicians have to transition from the fall concert (with its 10-15 songs) to the Christmas repertoire with even more songs. It wouldn’t be so hard if we had enough time. The problem is that we don’t. Every year we wind down to the last week before the first Christmas concert of the season with certain songs still rough around the edges. Sometimes, like this year, we don’t even know some of the songs. That’s what happened last Sabbath morning. Half-way through the week, Craig, our wonderful music director informed us that we would be singing the very technical “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from the first part of The Messiah for special music that Sabbath. Some of us thought, Some amazing miracle has to happen between now and the weekend. Most of us forgot about it entirely. Sabbath morning dawned, and we weren’t ready.
It was a good lesson that mentally prepared us for what came next. The very next afternoon, we all gathered in the auditorium for an intensive music training session. Several times a year, we get together and try to atone for our apparently deficient practice by rehearsing our entire repertoire for most of three to four days. It’s a long grueling process, but after the embarrassing special music, we knew that this was for the best. This time, we were blessed. The training was only in the afternoon, and it lasted for only three days.
The whole three days is a continuous blur in my mind—a blur born of plodding through the music for five hours each day. My head ached from all the different songs we played. I don’t think I’ll ever hear the Christmas songs we learned in the same way. Practice was long, rehearsal was tedious, but we learned the music. Practicing gave us anticipation for the Christmas concerts soon to come. Having learned the music well, we’re free to preach the words with the power of God’s Holy Spirit. I can hardly wait!