This past month in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed at the new Sun Valley outdoor pavilion to a full house.
The entirely volunteer choir travels every other year. Half of the 360 strong choir consisted of red-robed women and the other half are made up of tuxedo-clad men. They are melodic ambassadors for the Latter Day Saints. Since their inception in 1893, they have entertained such notables as old, and older President Bush’s, and the much-loved owner of Sun Valley proper Earl Holding and his wife Carol.
After introductions, and when the clapping had died down, there was a hush in the audience as we waited for the choir to commence. Unbelievably a woman arrived late and caused a great commotion as she hunted for her seat in the new pavilion. She laboriously walked down the stairs while gum-wrappers and bits of tissue dropped out of her handbag. I didn’t watch the choir perform “America the Beautiful” but at least I heard it, the purse dribbler had me in a trance.
Denyce Graves, flew in from Washington, D.C. where she is hailed as an operatic superstar. She is known for and sang her title rolls in “Samson and Delilah” and “Carmen.” She then introduced her next song as the theme song from the Ragu commercial, “Please feel free to sing along if the spirit moves you.” The spirits moved me much to my neighbors dismay.
But again, I was distracted, this time by a woman in a Dalmatian-inspired dress. Her spotted form moved back and forth, and she waved one arm up and down, as if she were conducting her own symphony. She was only missing the baton. At this point I noticed that I too was wagging my head about and immediately ceased. The person next to the Dalmatian-covered conductor, possibly her husband, gave her a few forceful elbows, but she continued with her pantomime. She was more than mildly irritating but no one seemed as distracted with her imaginary baton waving as I was.
As the host, Allasdair Neale commented on the first half of the concert as, “An impressive noise of the best sort,” he brought a few chuckles from the audience. He then went on to introduce the second half songs; I could hardly wait to hear “Danny Boy”, sung by the choir and Denyce Graves, the soloist.
Near the end of the concert, all my perceived “distractions” ceased as the vocals carried through the Valley and erased all thoughts from my cluttered mind . . . then “The” Dalmatian’s” cell phone rang.