Vocal Affinity choir performing Christmas concert in Rexburg this weekend
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REXBURG — Vocal Affinity, a Rexburg-based choir group will examine major themes and the meaning of Christmas when they perform their “O Wondrous Mystery” concert at the Rexburg Tabernacle this weekend.
“O Wondrous Mystery” focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ but uses its music to tell that story from a different perspective than is usually portrayed.
“This one is called ‘O Wondrous Mystery’ because we’re looking at it from a more solemn, more mysterious, darker view,” Vocal Affinity Artistic Director David Torres told EastIdahoNews.com.
Torres said the concert will open with the choir performing “John Rutter’s Requiem,” a piece that would usually be sung at funerals. The piece captures the uncertainty of people living before Christ was born.
“We basically want to take the audience on a journey of ‘Before Christ came,’” Torres said. “Some people believed that one day the Lord would come and be able to help us and save us. But some people didn’t know so the “Requiem” starts us in that state of how people respected the dead not knowing that the Lord would come.”
“It’s beautiful music that sings a lot about the hope that one day the Lord would come,” he added.
From there, “O Wondrous Mystery” moves its focus to Mary and how she dealt with the emotions and insecurities she felt over raising the Savior of the world.
“She was chosen but I’m pretty sure wasn’t like ‘I’m perfect and I should be the mother of the Son of God,’” Torres said. “She had doubts, ‘Should I be the mother of the Son of God? Am I worthy enough? Why did you pick me?’ So we explore that.”
The concert ends on a high note with the hymn “Joy to the World,” a song that expresses the gratitude of all those who have benefitted from Christ’s life and mission.
“(‘Joy to the World’) is the modern take of us on the other side of the story, knowing that the Lord came,” said Torres. “We should all rejoice that he did come and he grew up and sacrificed himself for us and should all be hopeful that he will come again.”
“O Wondrous Mystery” is the fifth Christmas concert by Vocal Affinity, a semi-professional group that brings together talented singers from all across the country. The group is a nonprofit organization that uses donations, along with its ticket sales, to fulfill its mission to promote, encourage and foster the educational and cultural enrichment of its members and the community.
Choir members learn and practice their parts on their own, coming together in Rexburg every two to three months to rehearse and perform.
“Because we’re all over the place and it’s very expensive to come together, everyone’s expected to rehearse their pieces from home and come to the rehearsal knowing all of their notes and rhythms,” Torres said. Then we put them together based off that motto ‘At home, you’re responsible for your part, together we’re responsible for our part.’”
Torres said he hopes that “O Wondrous Mystery” helps its audience members work through losses they’ve suffered, loved ones they’ve lost and noted that that aspect of the concert is especially important in light of what we’ve been through during COVID-19.
“We’ve gone through a lot of loss over the last year to year-and-a-half,” he said. “There’s been a lot of pain and a lot of ‘Why is this happening now?’ and ‘Lord, where are you?’ So, I want people to know through this program that, yes, death is a big, critical part of the plan and it’s going to happen.”
“But through death, there is hope,” he added. “There is this hope in The Savior, that he did come and because he came, that we will see our dear loved ones who have passed away again.”
You can catch Vocal Affinity’s “O Wondrous Mystery” Christmas concert Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 pm at the Rexburg Tabernacle. Click here to purchase in-person tickets. Vocal Affinity will also stream the concert on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 pm. Click here for tickets.