By Emily Kunkel
Women at the BYU Women”s Conference learned the value of music.
Manu Harris, who led the music for the general Relief Society meeting, and Jeff Parkin, a former choir director, spoke to an attentive audience Thursday morning, May 1, about the importance of sacred songs in church meetings and in personal lives.
“Music can move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning and inspire us to endure to the end,” Harris said.
Singing praises unto the Lord can bring feelings of unity, strength and even the miraculous, Harris said.
Harris said she was grateful for those who serve in musical callings because hymns have the ability to give courage, bring the Spirit and move people to righteous action.
Even the strongest can be moved by music in the weakest times, Harris said.
Having the courage to stand on higher ground is the ultimate example and gives time for self-reflection and improvement, she said.
During times of anguish, peril, pain and sorrow, music can be the passageway through which comfort and healing can take place, she said.
Music also has the innate power, Harris said, to transcend thoughts into action, which can motivate individuals to make wiser decisions and come closer to Heavenly Father.
Parkin said he believes that a ward choir has a huge potential to transform lives and is also the most overlooked group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
With no musical experience, Parkin was called to be his ward choir director.
He suggested three elements to a successful choir.
First, singing should be fun, Parkin said.
Second, music should be glorious to sing, he said.
Third, choir should be a spiritual testimony building experience.
Parkin said he learned to trust Elder Maxwell”s words that “God doesn”t begin by asking us about our ability but only about our availability and if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our credibility.”
The experience as the ward choir director was both miraculous and humbling, Parkin said.
“We placed our performance in the Lord”s hands because, after all, we had nowhere else to go,” Parkin said.