Thursday, November 21

My Audition for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Resolution

I got a letter today from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My brother saw it in the mail, called my family back in Chicago, and watched as I opened it. I could tell there was only one piece of paper in the envelope, and something inside me braced.

But the bracing wasn't really necessary. Any news is good news when you're focusing on doing the right thing and simply waiting for the Lord to give direction. So there wasn't a rush of emotions as I looked down at the paper and saw little checks by the areas of "Appropriate Vibrato" and "Vocal Style." From seeing those, I knew that the letter was not an invitation to join the choir. A moment later, a wave of unasked relief washed over me. I had felt like I should try out. Part of me wanted to be in the choir. I willingly signed away 5 years of my life to be a musical missionary, and the simple thought of being a missionary again made my blood race.


I feel total peace right now. And the relief is still there. And I think I know why now.

I've had only one concern about my participation in MoTab. It wasn't a big concern... just something at the back of my mind that made me wonder if it was the right place for me. It's been totally tangential and seemed to not really matter. My one concern was that... the Mormon Tabernacle Choir doesn't perform the style of singing that opens me up inside. Singing in church choirs is amazing. Don't get me wrong. Performing in church is something that I love. But choral pieces, at least in the history of the choir, all have a similar style, and it's not the play-with-it pop/jazz/whatever I want that makes music sing for me. And maybe Mack could tell that just from reading my musical resume and listening to me sing. Or God could.

I'm not trying to do a sour grapes routine. Singing with MoTab would have been an amazing experience, and maybe God will prompt me to try out again sometime in the next 30 years. But as I sit here with the letter that I haven't actually read all the way through yet, and maybe won't, I'm far more focused on the concert that I have tonight with my a cappella group... and finding something like that, scaled up a bit, would make me even more excited that a spot in the choir loft. Last night at practice, between practicing numbers for tonight's show, we started singing Christmas songs. And, since we know each other well, we play with it. No preparation. No one calling the shots. Just 8 guys listening to each other, singing together, having fun. Switching styles, pushing tempos, chopping words... and laughing, singing, and it sounds amazing. Amazing enough that we won't have to practice for our Christmas stuff. We can just do it, and be awesome... even if someone calls in a request. As long as we have someone who knows the words, and maybe another two to start the chord progression... we can sing and make it beautiful. And that - the feeling of being totally free, not bound down by notes or tempos or rhythm or anything else... the ability to do anything and have it be good... that's the reason I sing. I thought that I was trying to find it in MoTab. And yet I've found a piece of it with 7 other guys in Provo.

It's not a dream choir... and there are things I would change. We only practice twice a week for an hour or two, and we definitely don't have the performance schedule of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Most of us are crazy busy with school, work, life... and we're losing our beat-boxer in January because of a music job he's taking in Reno. But it's good in the moment. And, for the moment, that's good enough. Maybe someday I'll have the guts to try to move it in the direction I want to go... or make my own group to travel that way. Who knows. :)

You're invited to come to our concert tonight. It's at 8:00pm in the JSB auditorium on BYU campus. We're group #6 out of 8 groups total performing. We'll just be singing 3 songs. Then hopefully sometime soon we'll do some fun other performances. Walk through the mall singing impromptu Christmas songs... carol at care centers... and we have at least one corporate Christmas party that signed us up to perform. Ideas? For Christmas stuff we don't even need everyone to be available... since we just play. :)

And now I find myself wondering:
What's next?

Thanks for your support, your prayers, and your love. I'm glad to know and feel that God is actively involved in my life.

Update: A few weeks later I started Grace. Grace was a semester-long a cappella group that had a blast. We went from strangers to performing full-length concerts at the Covey Center in Provo in just 11 weeks. Follow this link to hear Grace's cover of Pompeii on Spotify.

Or here on Google Play.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It is an amazing honor that you made it as far as you did. I've known a lot of people who do not even try because it is extremely difficult to get past round 1. I love your theme for this ... don't we all truly go where Heavenly Father wants us to go! Anyway, apparently good things are on your way. They must be pretty amazing things if the Mormon Tabernacle Choir wasn't the right fit for you ... we both know that's pretty rockin'!

  2. This post echoes what I'm thinking and feeling in a different situation, and I think I've been afraid to admit these things to myself... that any news is good news, that relief and peace comes even if the answer is "no," that things happen for our temporal and spiritual progression. God doesn't give us what we want, he gives us what we need, which will bring greater blessings. Keep on a'singing, just the way you love to!

  3. We just stumbled on your blog, started at the beginning of your MoTab try out, tag it thru to here. What a great insight, what a great spirit you possess. I can't wait to keep reading your posts

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience! I been wanting to audition but now after reading this i think that I might not a chance 😬 I need more time to prepare maybe one day i will. Are you auditioning again in the future?


Comment Rules:

(G)MG is how I write to you. Commenting is one way to write to me.

If you want your comment published: No swearing, graphic content, name-calling of any kind, or outbound links to anything but official Church sites.

In addition, comments must be 100% relevant, funny, uplifting, helpful, friendly... well-written, concise, and true. Disparaging comments often don't meet those standards. Comments on (G)MG are personal notes to me, not part of a comment war. You are not entitled to have your ideas hosted on my personal blog. There are a zillion places for that, and only one (G)MG.

And I'd suggest writing your comment in Word and pasting it. That way Blogger won't eat it if it's over the word limit.