Lamb of God 2014 in Salt Lake City

Lamb of God in Salt Lake City was such a marvelous experience! What a way to kick off the Easter season.

There is something magical that happens when musicians of excellence unite with a common purpose, especially when that purpose is one of worship. It was such an honor to perform with the musicians in the orchestra, choir, and solo seats lining the stage. What a huge performance venue! I’m not comparing it to the Hollywood Bowl (Heaven knowns that’s probably the largest live venue I will ever perform at in my life) but a high school with a 3500 seat auditorium is nothing to scoff at. Cottonwood High School was VERY impressive. I love how much they must value the arts there to build such a venue at a public high school.

The whole trip was a much needed experience. This is a picture I took with my iPhone on the descent into Salt Lake. 2014-03-15 09.54.25

I was so spoiled by good music while I was there, even before Lamb of God got rolling. First thing Sunday morning, I got to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform in their weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast. Richard Elliot’s organ improvisation on “Hymn to Joy” based on “Ode to Joy” was especially delightful. I went to the free organ recitals in the Tabernacle almost everyday while I was there. Clay Christiansen (one of the main organists for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) invited me up to take a closer look at the organ and gave me a behind-the-organ tour.

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I’m not an organist (or even a pianist) so it didn’t feel right to accept his offer to play it but my pianist friend Mike did and it sounded wonderful!

The people I met during this trip (fellow Lamb of God people) are such lovely people. I was able to spend some time with three different families – dinners at their house, touring the BYU museum – and I’m so looking forward to my next trip out here. Each family practically scoffed at the idea of me staying in a hotel on my next trip and offered a room. So hospitable! And whether or not I’m cast in Lamb of God again, I do plan on making a Salt Lake City trip an annual tradition for a while

The Utah Opera is amazing! Granted, I’m not a fan of their leg room (the curse of being tall) but their productions of The Magic Flute last year and Turandot this year are on par with the LA Opera! Also, I made a new friend – Adam – due to the lack of leg room and, bless his heart, he even came to see me in Lamb of God when my friend Mike told him about it.

Other musical highlights of the trip included Les Miserables in the round at the Hale Theater (yes, it IS quite possible… and epic) and a much-needed laugh at the Desert Star Theater with their Phantom of the Opera parody.

The capstone of these musical adventures was, of course, Lamb of God. We had three combined rehearsals in all, then performances.

The ladies on my side of the stage were absolutely lovely. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset[photo credit: Courtney Harris]

Characters in order from left to right: Mary Magdalene sung by Sharon Hopkins, Mary Mother of Jesus sung by Katie Laywer, Mary of Bethany sung by Jessica Buer, and Martha of Bethany sung by me.

The concerts went great, despite my cough. Thank the Lord for Fisherman’s Friend cough drops! I went through 4 of them Friday and 8 on Saturday. During my main song, I was able to almost completely forget about my cough and allow myself to be swept away by the music and lyrics. The story Martha sings is so moving that I cried both times while I was singing.

I feel so blessed and so loved. One of the biggest things for me, personally, is that six of my friends and my parents came all the way from Southern California just to see me! I’m not a huge picture-taker so do I have pictures with them? Nope. I know they do but they are not on my iPhone and are, therefore, unable to be posted at this time. I really need to get better about taking pictures.

It was such an excellent experience and I’m sad it was such a short run. Special thanks to conductor Garin Hess for inviting me to be a part of this magnificent production. I’m quietly rooting for the same cast next year because I would love to do this again with all of them!

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