Church: Ward Music Coordinator
…previous Church assignment: Nursery Leader
After a year of merciful emotional decompression in the Nursery, Bishop Kip Thompson called me to my first Church assignment ever without either missionary or secretarial overtones: now, after a quarter-century or so of singing in Cambridge congregations and ward choirs (and learning a whole lot about music from some superb leaders), I was now Arlington Ward Music Coordinator (or some title closely akin to that—such terminology tends to evolve all over the place). Having participated instrumentally in bands and orchestras, studied music as an elective at MIT, and attended innumerable concerts and other musical offerings in the marvelously-fecund Boston-area cultural arena, I’d gestated some pretty strong (and not always entirely conventional) ideas and opinions.
Kip
Kip Thompson
I was now responsible to select hymns (EXCLUSIVELY from the Green Book) for the congregation to sing in our worship services and to organize occasional special musical numbers for those services, as well as Christmas, Easter, and other commemorative programs. Latter-day Saint congregational singing customarily has somebody up front beating time, called (idiosyncratically and curiously) a “chorister”, and I was to do that or to arrange for somebody else to.
Ours was traditionally a singing congregation, with a lot of talent among its typically well-educated members and visitors; so, this was a job, however unfamiliar, that I could get my teeth into and enjoy thoroughly.
Before leaving the nursery entirely behind, though, I have to share one sweet anecdote. As mentioned, my work in the nursery had strong therapeutic overtones for me, in the midst of our ongoing familial brouhaha over Erik’s perennially-distressing behavior. I do suspect our dear bishop of intending that, and the Spirit of guiding it.

Well, in the middle of my term of service there, a large fraction of my young “customers” turned three and graduated from the nursery to the “Sunbeam” class in Primary. I’d stepped out into the hall to fetch little chocolate-bear cookies for a nursery snack, when the door to the Sunbeam classroom opened, and the big blue eyes in the cute blonde head of one of my recent alumnae turned upward toward me, and she said, with an expression that I’m at a loss to describe, “We miss you!”

That’s all there was. But that’s all it took to provide me with what we’ve come to call a major “tender mercy.”
Next Church assignment: Ward Choir Director…
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