Saturday, January 31, 2009

Inspirational Workshop with Rob Gardner

Today I met Rob Gardner, the composer of the uplifting inspirational music found in "Saints and Pioneers", "He is Jesus Christ", "The Price of Freedom", and other amazing programs written for choir & orchestra.

He is one of the most unassuming, down to earth, friendly individuals I have ever met. I listened to his class, and afterwards, he came and ate lunch with us at our table. (My favorite part of this picture is that adorable girl smiling in the background.)

One thing that I noticed about Rob, today, is that he truly has his heart in the right place. It seems that in everything he does, he tries to consecrate his actions to the Lord to uplift others through music, and that's something all musicians should strive to do. One of his topics today was about how we can make every Sunday's Sacrament Meeting special through the music. We talked about ways we can lend to the way people worship at Church and be "fed by the Spirit" through the hymns we sing and perform, and by the preparation we put into it before the meeting (coordinating the musical themes with the themes of the speakers talks, practicing for every performance like we would the Easter or Christmas programs, and going out of our way to give opportunities to people who wouldn't normally have a chance to share their testimonies through music).

I was glad to have the chance to tell Rob in person how his music has affected the way I look at my life. I'll never forget the way I was feeling a couple years ago, and how down and depressed I was getting about situations in my life, and wondering when the Lord would answer my prayers. I remember sitting in Gammage Auditorium with tears streaming down my face as the lyrics from "Saints and Pioneers" reminded me of the faith and testimony I do have in God, and in His time frame. A healing process had begun that night in my heart as the messages from the pioneer's lives, and their examples of endurance were expressed through the gorgeous music. It was a turning point for me in my trials & the way I was perceiving my situation. My trust in the Lord was strengthened.

In particular these words (below) from the presentation struck me the most that night. It was as though the words were being sung straight to me that night, and I could relate to Lucy Mack Smith in the presentation as the actress sang "Unanswered Yet".

Unanswered Yet?

Text by Ophelia G. Adams

Unanswered yet? The prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail, is hope departing,
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say ungranted;
Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done;
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
And God will finish what He has begun.
If you will keep the spirit burning there,
His glory you shall see, sometime, somewhere.