I was in the tabernacle a few days ago. I’d gone to sit with the standby crowd hoping to get into the Christmas concert across the street at the conference center. When I didn’t get into the concert proper, I decided to stay and enjoy the live feed into the tabernacle. I moved from my bench beneath the overhang and took an aisle seat out in the open where even the piped sound would be better.
Alfie Boe’s first number was “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” One of my favorite carols. And with a power singer? Wow.
And then, of course, came the opening night banter and Alfie’s gently northern accent made me heave a sigh and remember all the voices and tones I loved in England. A little later the dancing number began and my mind started to wander as I pondered the moments that have meant so much to me in that hall.
I was sitting in the south balcony the day I was privileged to attend a solemn assembly and sustain a newly called prophet. And again I was in the south balcony that day when friends had phoned just before a general conference session to say they had a couple extra tickets, did we want to come? Oh yeah! But it was the north balcony when I attended, all by myself, one of the first concerts in the rededication series. It was summer and magical as the light faded and the spirit of the evening swelled. One of the hymns was written by President James E. Faust and the credits said that Jan Pinborough had work with him on it. Two ties to Texas in one hymn. On the night I heard Bryn Terfel and the Choir sing the Elijah oratorio I was on the floor near the back.
So I sat, gazing at the lighted boughs and remembered. And thought of my grandmother sitting up in those empty choir seats when she sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I was never in the tabernacle with my Grandmother Cora or Great-grandma Jane, but I know they spent many hours here too—as had my parents. I wondered at how many of ancestors had been in this same place and learned the same lessons of the gospel, felt the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. I was connected to this place in ways I knew and ways I didn’t.
So there I was gazing around at the festive decorations and listening with half an ear to the festive music when, two rows in front of me, a man and his little girl stood up to leave. It was Sharp—a mission friend. He walked right up my aisle; I reached for his hand. They sat down and we chatted for sixty seconds. It was sweet to see him with his lovely daughter and knowing he was still my friend in the gospel was sweeter still. Another moment in my history in the tabernacle.