Monday, December 3, 2012

Savior of the World: An Experience to Remember

Back in August, it was announced throughout our stake that we would be having auditions for a stake production of the musical Savior of the World.  Both Adam and I felt like we ought to be involved, and we really hoped that it was something that our entire family could be a part of.  We auditioned together, and knowing the level of talent present in our stake, we hoped that perhaps we might be able to be part of the chorus.  We were surprised and honored when both Adam and I were cast in small roles in the production-- Adam as Rueben, a shepherd, and me as Salome, a woman whom Christ appears to after his resurrection.  We were told the boys could be part of the angel choir.  
Rehearsals began in September, and the pace of life quickened considerably.  Rehearsal was every Thursday night for 3 hours and every Saturday morning for 3-4 hours.  I'm not sure we realized the level of commitment this would entail for our family.  Also in September, I began coaching our ward's youth volleyball team, Ty began baseball, and McKay began gymnastics.  Between those activities and various Eagle projects and other scouting things Adam had going, there were literally Saturday mornings where we were supposed to be in five or six places at once.  Not to mention that I have a nursing baby that I somehow, somewhere, had to take care of in the midst of rushing from one activity to the next.  There were many times that I thought, It's just too much.  I can't do this.  Surely if I were to drop out of this, somebody else could take my role.
And yet, we pushed on and somehow made it through the chaos.  We ordered the SotW CDs and listened to them almost nonstop in our van, which helped all of us, and the boys in particular, learn the music.
As the time for the production grew nearer, I was incredibly grateful for the spirit of peace that it was bringing into our lives.  Rehearsals became an incredibly spiritual experience--it was a rare practice day that I didn't cry through at least one of the songs.  My boys had a special reverence about them.
And even still, I didn't feel like the experience was complete.  As much as I was loving the effect that the production was having on my family, I felt a distinct sense of incompleteness when I thought of Annie.  Clearly there was no place for an infant on the stage with the rest of our family.  What if she were to cry in the middle of a song?  How on earth would we be able to care for her in the midst of costume changes?  Surely she couldn't be a part of this.
And then the thought came to me that this story is all about a baby.  I wondered if my baby could play the part of THE baby.  I approached the directors with some degree of trepidation to pitch my idea to them; to that point we had been rehearsing with a doll.  I was filled with gratitude and joy when they all seemed to like the idea of having a live Jesus, and my baby, who didn't have a place on stage before, became the focal point of the show.  A dear friend volunteered to care for Annie while we were performing, and to prepare her for her role.  The pieces all fell together!
After countless hours of practice, singing, acting, and work, we were able to perform the show at the auditorium at Chaparral High School this week.  We had five shows, Wednesday night-Saturday night, with a Saturday matinee, as well.  I was extremely concerned about my children, who would be up until 11 PM each night.  But we were blessed to be able to hold it together!  They had their moments to be sure, but overall, the kids were absolutely wonderful.
Though the shows were not perfect, the message that we were trying to share was.  It was an intensely spiritual experience to be able to testify of the Savior to so many people through music and word.  We received a myriad of blessings by being a part of this production.  One great blessing was the opportunity we had through this experience to share the gospel.  We invited between 15-20 friends, neighbors and coworkers to the show who are not of our faith, including a Jewish family and a Baptist pastor and his wife!  Though not all of them could attend, we were blessed to be able to share our testimonies with many of our friends not of our faith.  
I received an unexpected blessing of increased confidence in my talents.  Though Adam has always enjoyed performing, I am the type to shy away from musical performance.  Even singing in Sacrament Meeting freaks me out.  But through this experience, speaking and even singing a small solo on stage, I gained more confidence that the Lord has blessed me with musical talent, and He is pleased when I share that with others.
This experience has also helped us to focus on what this Christmastime is all about.  Frankly, I don't need to see Santa or The Nutcracker this year.  This is Christmas.  It has been a huge blessing to be able to focus on that.
Most of all, this experience has been a wonderful teaching opportunity for our family.  My testimony has been strengthened more than I can express.  It's an experience I will treasure forever, and one that I pray my children will remember, too.


Aren't they awesome?

Our Townspeople costumes

The Guys

Ty and his good buddy, Josh

Joanna, Mary Mother of James, and Salmome--women who Christ appears to after His resurrection

With Bonnie and Beth, good friends from our ward

The Shepherds

The Set

Feeding the masses--the cast having pizza together between the two Saturday shows

Heather Langston, who cared so wonderfully for Annie for countless hours

The Holy Family

Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, Elisabeth, and little Annie Jesu ;-)

Our angel costumes

The cast rehearsing the end of Act I


Beth said...

I loved being a part of this with you! Thanks for sharing your talents. Your solo was beautiful and your kids did such a great job.

I was lucky to be waiting as an angel offstage while little Annie was about to go on and I could hardly take my eyes off of her. What a special role. The dress rehearsal night I actually watched her scene from the audience and it was so beautiful it took my breath away. I hadn't realized until your testimony yesterday that it was your suggestion that she play Jesus, and I am so glad you did -- it made such a difference to the show!

Brian, Emily, Charlie, and Lucy said...

WOW. What an INCREDIBLE experience!!! I am so amazed. What a blessing for your family!!

Shannon Gish said...

What a beautiful experience for your entire family. And what a wonderful mother you are to involve all of your little ones.

Andrea said...

Way to stick with it! What a great experience...

And I was Bonnie's visiting teacher FOREVER ago in Provo! What a small world it is!