Our couple Sunday's in the Atlanta ward were awesome. I'll be frank just so you can have a picture in your head, but just know I love them and will learn so much from them. Our ward is essentially all black. Everyone who is not black is most likely a student plus wife and possibly a baby. I counted about 10 or so couples in our boat. Those that are black seem to come from difficult backgrounds. Keep in mind that we are in an inner city ward. It seems that there are a lot of women who come to church whose husbands either aren't active or aren't there for one reason or the next. These women are usually around 50-60 and often have children of their own. Our bishopric is black as well as our stake president. There was one man, who apparently is very faithful who wore jeans and cowboy boots and a paisley vest and a black dress jacket to church who has LONG bushy white hair and a LONG bushy beard. It just makes me want to know his story. I want to know everyone's story! Who are they? Why did they join the church? What makes them stay? Wow.
You know how in Hawaii they say Aloha! and people respond with the same? Well, here it is the same except people say Good Morning! and you repeat back the same. Our church building is right across the street from railroad tracks and the chapel doubles as the basketball court. They don't have benches, but only chairs.
Across the street from our building.
Practically no one sings parts, so personally it was rather nice when I could harmonize easily with Alto with David on Tenor. We joined ward choir because we figured they needed us and it would be fun. And, Surprise, they asked if I could play the piano. BUT word got out that I have a master's in flute performance. And so, naturally, I can do anything and everything that has to do with music. (I'm being sarcastic) All in one Sunday:
I'm playing in Sacrament meeting in August.
Conveniently there are 2 other flutists in the ward. One wants to play in sacrament meeting with the choir. His only exposure to the flute was 1 semester during 160R at BYU. I don't know the level of the other flutist. And so they want me to arrange a song for choir and three flutes. Looks like I'll be reviewing my music theory text book.
They asked me if I could teach a boy in our ward (who is 7 or so) how to compose. He has been taking piano lessons, but wants to learn how to compose. If this does end up happening, how hard could it be? I know the very basics of composition and since he is so young he is bound to learn slow....
Some one suggested I apply to be the local preschool music teacher.
And not one prospect of a flute student.
We have a pianist in the ward who is over zealous with her tempos. Either that, or that is how they sing hymns down south. If you want me to give you a lecture on the authenticity of performances (of any sort) I could! I took a class specifically on this subject and we throughly discussed this particular subject. Yes, I was graded on it and it was more complicated then it seems....just incase you were wondering... Just for example, get out your trusty metronome and play or sing Our Savior's Love to 144-152 =quarter note. NO JOKE. And I like joyful hymns. I wonder what the speed will be for hymns like "The spirit of God" "Have I done any good" or "Who's on the Lord's side, who?" Additionally, people sang like old Southern Baptists (at least as how I imagined them) sang. Soaring sopranos with exaggerated vibrato.
Please don't get me wrong. I love this. I am not judging, but I am just thankful I can use the gifts that God has given me.
I know that the Lord loves the people of this ward. I can feel how special they are to him. It doesn't make one lick of difference if they come to church in pants, or even in jeans (this is not uncommon). And it doesn't make a difference when several women come to church in sleeveless shirts. He loves them and he blesses them for their faith. I am so excited to be a part of this ward--to learn and to grow with them.