May 3, 2009

Taking a Culture Break

by Marsha Ward

My brother called me yesterday afternoon. I was taking a break from working on websites, and picked up the phone. "Nyla and Lisa are on their way to Payson," he said. I wondered if I had to clean up the house really quick to greet my sister-in-law and niece, but he continued. "They're singing in a concert at the Payson Stake Center at 7 p.m. It's at (and he gave the address).

"I know where that is," I said, laughing. "I've lived here four years now."

"Oh," he said, clearly not knowing the ecclesiastical relationship between my church community and Payson. "It that your stake?"


Where is [your hamlet] from Payson?"

"[X] miles east," I replied. My brother must not be big on geography. He does get fuzzy on extraneous details, but he's a heck of a good lawyer.

I told him I'd try to rearrange my schedule and drive into town to attend the concert. We hung up after a short conversation (he might have interrupted his viewing of a soccer match to call), and I figured that if I hit the bed right away, I might get my badly-needed nap before I had to change into concert-appropriate dress.

The nap really helped, and soon after I awoke I was on my way to town.

I'm so glad I went. Not only was the concert of the Arizona Deseret Choir an amazing experience, I also got to greet many old friends (and several relatives) who sing in it. I met many of these people when I sang in the Arizona Morman Choir several years ago. After it was disbanded, other choirs sprung up, but this one clearly carries on the tradition of excellence that the former choir held for so many years.

Waves of nostaglia swept over me as I silently mouthed the words of well-beloved anthems and songs. The music carried me away into remembrances of previous years and the adventures I had in many choirs, singing this same music. I'll admit I shed a few tears of both joy and sadness, brought about by poignant memories. However, I left the stake center last night with my well of cultural need refilled.

That's a need we all have. Take the time once in a while to break free of the writing cocoon and fill it.


  1. I was in AZMO too! I sang second soprano. I wasn't in it for very long. I think the fall 2004 - spring 2005. Too much drama. But it was sure fun to sing all the songs. My favorite was singing the National Anthem at the Suns game.

  2. brother sang in the AZMO as well...and was always bugging me to audition. A couple members of my stake also used to sing with them. My brother is Paul Newcomb. He now performs with Resonance.

    Lovely post, Marsha! one of my favorite poems goes something like:

    If of thy worldly goods thou are bereft,
    And upon thy shelves two loaves alone to thee are left,
    Sell one, and with the dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

    can't recall the author right off hand...Anna probably knows! I'll have to look it up.

  3. What a lovely break, like a mini-vacation!

  4. What a heavenly reprieve you enjoyed.

    And I love the verse from Kari about hyacinths. My mom would have loved that...I think I'll share it with my siblings for Mother's Day.

  5. Wish I had been sitting by your side at the concert, Marsha! Love you! Pam


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