News of Choir Visit to Barcelona : LUSENET : Barna Mission : One Thread

JUNE 29th, 1998


I can't tell you how great it was to have the choir here. The whole experience was wonderful. There are SOOOO many of them! I mean, everyone knows there are 325 people in the choir, but when they started entering through the stage door before the concert they kept coming and Coming and COMING!!! President and I were amazed with the numbers. Then there were another 400 who traveled with them-- spouses, family members, technical people, etc. With our relatively limited experience doing tours, it is mind boggeling to think of the logistics involoved with that many people. We would need 21 buses-- TWENTY ONE BUSSES!!!! of the size we use to transport their group. Their busses are larger so they only used 14 --(only!)

The fireside was Thursday night and it was so wonderful. Only 100 choir members participated that night, but it was a really nice concert and had an intimate feeling although the hall held 750 people. They ended up singing "I Am a Child of God"-- first verse in Spanish, the rest in English except for the last chorus. Then their last encore was "God Be With You" and the conductors, pianists and everyone faced the audience and sang it. When it was time for the chorus, Jerald Ottley raised his arms and the audience sang in Spanish while the choir sang in English. It was really great, touching, emotional, and spiritual. The missionary that foundd the stake president, Adolfo Garriga's family, when he was a little boy, is married to a choir member and he was there. Also, the first mission president of the Bilbao Mission, the Wakefields, were there and several of his Spanish missionaries are from Barcelona-- including the wife of President Garriga, Rupert, etc. It was a happy reunion for them. This was his first time back since the mission..

The choir had the next morning free and we thought we might see a lot of Mormons if we happened to go down to the Ramblas. So we hopped the metro and sure enough, the place was crawling with them. We ran into Gary and Sherry Phair-- she's in the choir-- and that was fun. Also a CES man that President knew and the General Relief Society President, Sister Smoot. When she introduced herself, she said she was the RS Pres, and until then, I didn't realize who she was. We visited a minute and then went on. I said to President, "That was the general RS Pres." He said, "Really! She told me she was the RS pres, and I thought 'that's nice'." He thought she meant of her ward!! It was fun to get to know some of the choir members and feel of their enthusiasm and spirit for the work.

The choir members are set apart as special musical missionaries. They must be betweeen the ages of 30 and 60 and have quite a rigorous audition. That is their only Church job. Nothing can supersede that, except for Bishop. They can stay in for 20 years. Many stay in a few years, then drop out for one reason or another, and they rejoin. They have 3 practices a week and many travel from as far as Logan to the north and Nephi, or even Manti to the south.

Elders Preese and Hunsaker have parents in the choir and several missionaries have friends or relatives. It was especially fun for them.

Finally, it was time to go to the Palau! We arrived a couple of hours early. It was enjoyable just to watch all of the comings and goings, preparations and presentations. The choir looked beautiful! They had new off-white brocade dresses, made especially for the European tour. They really are pretty. The men wore their black tuxes.

They sang such a variety of songs-- from classical, to madrigal, to negro spiritual and of course, hymns. They did an encore, and then a second encore which was Battle Hymn of the Republic (amazing!!) and then ended with "I Am A Child" and "God Be With You" again. It was so wonderful!! I just can't tell you.

The narration was all done in Catalan!! The program done by the Church, was also printed in Catalan. It was a full color, 24 page spread on very nice quality paper. It was very well done. The format was so classy. There was a brief (3 page) history of the Church beginning with the Joseph Smith story to the present. Also a picture and message from the first presidency and a full page picture of the Cristus right on the inside cover, not to mention the centerfold of the choir in all it's glory!! ALL IN CATALAN!! I wish you could all have been here!

A national TV station (canal 2, I believe) is supposed to do a special on all three Spain concerts. Please unite your hearts in prayer, all of you, and ask that the special will be positive and be televised at a time when there will be many, many viewers tuned in. We need the Lord's help to begin to change the image of the Church here in Spain. This will be a tremendous help!

Also, Elder and Sister Cook accompanied the choir on this leg of the trip, and we got to spend an hour or so with them when we took them to the airport and that was wonderful. President got so pumped up-- he was excited all the way home with the suggestions and comments from Elder Cook.

I went back to the Palau Saturday morning to see if they had anymore of the programs left. I thought they would be an incredible proselyting tool and luckily there were nearly 500 left, (on the lids of the boxes it said 'Per tirar'!) and luckily again, I had my little Spanish shopping cart with me or I never would have made it home. I gave two away on the way home, just talking to people on the metro. :) I really believe there will be positive repercussions for many months to come.

We're still floating.

With love, Sister Mask

-- Anonymous, June 30, 1998

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