The world is your oyster!: Joyyyy to the World!        

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My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

I am an East Coast girl
who also loves Utah.

I love my life. How could I not?

The world is my oyster :)
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Joyyyy to the World!

Today I went to ward choir for the first time ever in this ward. I had a brief stint in choir last year and then all of a sudden I just....stopped going, I don't know why. Why did I decide to start going today? I guess the reasons just all stacked up in a way that it would have been silly for me not to go. For one thing, the choir director, a girl in my ward named Megan, stood up and announced that we are singing next week at some big stake thing and she wanted everyone to come to practice today, even those who had never been. It sounded like the perfect day for me to start going! Also we were going to be singing Christmas music (of course) which is my favorite thing to sing. Furthermore, she put out a special plea for more girls to come because the boys have historically outnumbered the girls every time. I am almost always more than happy to volunteer in situations where more girls are needed because they are being hopelessly outnumbered by boys. (Oh and did I mention that Megan was bringing treats for those who came? This also may or may not have contributed to my decision.)

So, at 1:30 this afternoon, I found myself marching through the first real snow this year to the Raintree clubhouse where the choir practice was being held. It was a quite enjoyable practice. We started out singing "I am a Child of God," just to warm up, and then started on the Christmas songs we will be singing in church next week. I don't know what it is about Christmas music, but I cannot stop smiling when I'm singing it. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but it just makes me want to smile as big as I ever have and sing as loud as I possibly can. It's like I want everyone to hear me singing about Christ's birth or something. We are just singing three songs, O Come all ye Faithful, Joy to the World, and Picture a Christmas.

The people in my ward choir are a really fun group, and we don't sound bad, either! I think I am going to continue going next semester. When I go for a long time without singing, I forget how much I like it, but I really do love singing, even if I'm not the best at it.

At one point during the rehearsal something really funny happened that reminded me of a discussion we just had in my marriage and family class this past week. During one of the songs, the girls sing while the boys hold an "ooooooh" on a D. I guess that's the starting note for "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," because while Megan was trying to explain this to the boys, someone started singing that. Almost all of the boys joined in and proceeded to enchant the rest of us with a lovely rendition of this classic Christmas song. Before they could finish, one of the boys who wasn't singing (named Sam) interrupted. "Hey, everyone! Megan is trying to lead a rehearsal and you are all being very disrespectful! She has worked very hard and no one is giving her the respect she deserves. I have been in positions where you have to get up in front of people and I know that it is very difficult when no one is listening or giving you the time of day." etc. He went on for a full minute, calling everyone in the room to repentance.


At some point in the middle of his scolding, I realized that I hadn't been doing anything wrong when he got mad; in fact, the girls had all been very cooperative! It was the boys who had started singing "White Christmas," which had prompted this outburst in the first place, that he was really talking to. I looked up and scanned the choir. All the girls had assumed a penitent stance, their eyes lowered and their expressions remorseful. I then glanced over at the boys. Every single boy had his head up, his eyes trained on Sam. The top of the tenor section was rippling as every head nodded in agreement with everything Sam was saying. When his speech was done, I watched as several guys reached over to give him a high five or a congratulatory pound. I was amazed! How could these boys think that he was talking about anyone but themselves?

After pondering this for a few minutes, a discussion we just had in my marriage and family class came to mind. I don't remember how it came up, but I raised my hand and mentioned that I had been doing an exercise video recently and I noticed that the whole time, I was being barraged with enthusiastic compliments by Lena Pareira. I said that I have never seen a football huddle that contained that much love and encouragement, and therefore, I have concluded that boys are encouraged by different things than girls.

My teacher said that was very true and brought up a friend of his who has coached men's and women's soccer for years. His friend said that you need to adopt two totally different coaching methods when you're talking to each team. When he would talk to the men's team during their halftime, she would just tell them everything that needed to be improved. He could maybeee throw in a compliment or two, but for the most part, it was yelling about what they should have done, what they had better do this time around, and what he never wants to see again. As he presented this pep talk, he would look at every boy's face, and he could tell that they were all thinking the exact same thing: "Oh, he's talking about so-and-so. Yeah, he really needs to step it up. I'm doing my best, I'm carrying this team! He's not talking to me, definitely not. Gosh, why don't these other guys get it?" Then they would go out and play harder to make up for those other guys who the pep talk was clearly intended for.

When coaching the girl's team, however, it was a different story. 90% of the talk had to be complimenting their performance. "Great job on this, really nice work. I like how you're working as a team. Susie, I love that pass you did. You girls are awesome." Then he would say one thing, one thing, that they needed to improve on, and every single girls eyes would just drop, and he would know exactly what they were thinking, "Oh, he's talking to me. He's totally talking about that time I totally blew it a few minutes ago. I really should've been on that. There's no excuse, ughhh I haveee to do better! All the other girls are good. I'm the worst on this team. I know he's talking about me." And with just that one little suggestion, the girls essentially do all the work for the coach.

In choir it was the same situation. All the boys were certain that Sam was talking to someone else. All the girls were certain that Sam was talking about them.

Anyway, the rest of the rehearsal went smoothly. We sound beautiful, and I'm sure that we will inspire thousands with our voices next week :)

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