This column is about one of the most spiritual moments my wife and I have ever encountered. It all started in Utah. For anyone vacationing in the Salt Lake City area, one tourist spot is inevitably Temple Square - the home of the Mormon Church. In the center of this beautifully landscaped area is The Tabernacle. This acoustically perfected building houses The Tabernacle Organ and The Tabernacle Choir. Prior to a mid-day organ recital, the organist demonstrated the acoustic qualities of The Tabernacle, a facility with the capacity to seat an audience of 6000. The organist dropped a pin onto a table near the front of the building. As the pin hit the table it could be clearly heard throughout The Tabernacle without any electronic sound enhancements.
The organ recital was beautiful and will long be remembered. We also could not help but note the empty seats for the 320 person choir. The Tabernacle Choir, sometimes referred to as America's Choir, was not present. However, the next day, as we took a short cut, back to our hotel, through Temple Square, the choir was practicing, and its sounds drifted magically past hundreds of tourists viewing the sights. The sound was enchanting.
Leaving Salt Lake City on Sunday morning, on our way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we drove through some of the most beautiful real estate in America. With mountains on our left and right, the trip took us north through Utah and into Idaho. Turning east at Idaho Falls, our journey left the potato fields of Idaho behind, and we greeted the beginnings of the mountains of Wyoming.
Up to now my thoughts have expressed places and geography. What made this trip even more marvelous were the sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We heard it perform twice during that beautiful drive. Without shame, I tell you that the beauty of the music, combined with the physical presence of rolling farmlands and towering mountains, moved both of us to tears. Perhaps, it was because we had just left Temple Square and had seen The Tabernacle where the choir performs. At any rate, both of us felt a rebirth of wonder for this fine country and what it stands for amongst nations. The tears were of joy for the beauty, emotion and spirituality of the moment.
The second time we heard the choir was as we approached the Grand Tetons, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Nothing can be more spectacular than that mountain range. As I wrote this piece, we had only to glance out the plane's window to see the peaks in all their splendor. The echoes of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the etchings of America's West on our minds will be part of our lives forever - a spiritual moment which we were both fortunate to capture together.