Music that is close to heaven

by Terri Winder

I heard recently (in Sunday school class) of a woman who had the experience of dying, going to heaven, and then returning to life. 

Later she heard a rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and she alleged that of all the music she had heard on Earth, his music came closest to the music she had heard in Heaven.

That may be; I am listening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D as I write this and it is indeed beautiful.  However, I must say that I have never felt closer to Heaven than I did last evening, as I had a front row seat at the presentation in Blanding of Handel’s Messiah.

In this day when we have entertainment readily available in the comfort of our own homes, we are less likely to take advantage of opportunities provided by live performances, but mores the pity. 

Nothing compares to the wonder of watching everyday folk join together to transcend everyday routine, and lift their voices and the souls of their audience to heaven. 

There is an undeniable link there:  inspired music being played and sung by inspired and passionate musicians. It cannot help but be a spiritual experience.

Twenty years ago, I had a very personal connection as I attended the Messiah performance. 

I was in the beginning stages of a pregnancy and as the choir sang, “For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given”.

I knew at that moment that I, too, would have a son.  I never hear that passage without recalling the joy of that moment; it makes the wonder of the Christ child more real to me.

However, last night’s performance was the most thrilling I have ever experienced.  I hope those who missed it will be able to attend in Monticello this coming Sunday. 

If you do, notice the man in the center of the choir, Robert F. Jones.  He is not hard to miss; he is the only full-blooded Navajo participant.  He is also the only person singing without a book. 

Robert says he practices the Messiah “every day, 365 days a year” and he will tell you that it is a miracle he is able to do that.  Twenty-three years ago, as a college student talented in electronics, Robert was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered severe head trauma. 

It was thought he was brain dead, but after two months, he woke from his coma.  Physically, he deals with neurological challenges on a daily basis.  Spiritually, he is close to his Savior, and he sings the words of the Messiah with complete concentration and ardor. 

Last evening, as the performance ended, a satisfied smile slowly spread across his face.  Later he confessed to having missed two words.

On Handel’s tombstone, it is written, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth”.  Robert F. Jones shares that same testimony.  For seven years now, he has shared it by singing the Messiah. 

Go and listen to the twenty-member orchestra, the soloists, the choir, and Robert F. Jones.  It is an experience you will never forget. 

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday