“Music Is Powerful,” Ensign, December 2018
The Savior knew He was going to die soon. He knew He was about to be betrayed by someone He loved, go through unthinkable pain, and save the world.
How would you prepare for something like that? We don’t have an exact account of Christ’s last moments with His disciples, but we do know one thing: He sang a hymn with them.
“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).
If music is valuable enough for Jesus to include in the last moments of His life, surely it can be a powerful force in our lives too. We asked three young adults in The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square to talk about the power of music. We hope their thoughts will prompt your own ideas about how to invite the blessings of music into your life.
“I was inactive for a large part of my life,” said Tabernacle Choir member Darilyn Merrill. “Music has always kept my heart beating in the gospel. It reminded me of how wonderful the Spirit felt and played a paramount role in my conversion back to the Church.”
Darilyn described gospel-related music and Especially for Youth CDs as “the greatest missionaries” in her life. “They always seemed to shuffle into place on my music player exactly when I needed them, as if the Lord was saying, ‘OK, Darilyn, it’s time you remember Me.’”
Darilyn described how music takes a listener on a journey—to the past, present, or sometimes a more majestic future.
“From where I was to where I am now, the gospel has transformed me, and music has been a key player in that transformation,” Darilyn said. As a catalyst for the Spirit, music has been her therapy and her solace. “[Music] brings me peace every week.”
Violinist Jarom Redhair has a suggestion if you have trouble appreciating classical music. Try learning a little about the story behind the piece, the composer, and what was going on in the world at the time. “It’ll make the listening experience much more interesting and open up a whole new world of music to you.”
Jarom’s musical training began at age seven, when an elementary school teacher recognized he had an ear for music and started giving him lessons. Now he plays in the Orchestra at Temple Square.
Waking up early to get ready for Music and the Spoken Word makes for long Sundays, but Jarom said the blessings make up for the lack of sleep. Many people who aren’t members of the Church watch and listen to the broadcast weekly—years ago his own father began to learn more about the Church after hearing The Tabernacle Choir in person!
“Music evokes emotions in a way words can’t,” Jarom said. “I feel music speaks to our souls.”
Kaija Purvis has always been an introvert. Because of her experience with music, she can stand in front of crowds and cameras with confidence.
“Every single time I finish performing, I feel proud of myself for accomplishing something difficult,” said Kaija, who sings with The Tabernacle Choir. “It is quite empowering to show myself that I can do hard things.”
Kaija was adopted from India as a baby and feels a close connection with that country. She believes music can connect cultures.
“Music has no bounds. It can bring people from various religions, cultures, and ethnicities together. Good, inspiring music lifts us up and brings us hope,” Kaija said. “As I sing to people across the world, I’m hoping they can feel my love for them and Heavenly Father’s love for them.”
Jesus has promised to bless us through music. “The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12). Whether you create music or listen to it, sing using a soprano voice or sign language, each one of us can receive this blessing!