1995, Las Vegas, Nevada.
A wonderful thing happened as I began to compose church songs. My friend Seth introduced me to some amazing sisters, Kim and Kerri. I was at a church youth dance, and they were dancing in his group. I remember meeting Kim, and I remember her outgoing, friendly, and fun loving soul. I later met her dear sister Kerri, a girl with beautiful, long red hair, and a contagious smile that she always wore. Both of them had a love for singing and harmonizing. My life has been blessed ever since meeting them.
After that, Seth, Kim, Kerri, and I began inviting our friends to get together at Seth's home every Sunday evening from 5-8pm to sing music. What began as a simple gathering of friends with a mutual love of music turned into a tender and spiritual legacy. I played the piano and would teach them my songs. We sang favorite hymns and other church songs, too. Thinking back, I'm just amazed and humbled to have been a part of this. Not too often do you hear of a pack of teenagers choosing to spend three hours a week driving to a home and singing uplifting music, and returning to do it again and again. It was also a fantastic flirt fest of guys and girls just enjoying each other's company. We lifted each other, strengthened each other's testimonies, gave each other hope, and included everyone. The music was the foundation of this wonderful time in our lives. We invited anyone who liked music to our choir. There were no clicks or anything like that. All were welcome, and all had something great to share. I loved our little group.
Nearly each week, I would return to choir saying ' I wrote a new song. Want to hear it?'. I would get to Seth's home a few hours before choir, and use his computer to type out the notes with a music software. As I typed away, I remember Seth calling people on the phone, 'You coming to choir?'. I remember the door bell being rung passionately at 5pm, with Kim bursting in followed by the sounds of laughter and our friend's voices.
We learned the songs, and then would schedule a time to sing them at church, at different wards (locations). Sometimes, we would sing a song at one church building, hop in the car, and go sing at another church building in the same day. It was great fun!
We also planned firesides. Teenagers planning firesides, how stinking fantastic! Bless those dear people who came to our shows and gave us hugs and sweet words afterwards.
Along with our choir meetups, we planned highly fun parties. Swim parties were a regular hit, along with movie parties, holiday get-togethers, and going to the church dances together. Sometimes, we would all go to Taco Bell right after the dance, which was at midnight. Dressed up in church clothes, we were a huge pack of teenagers coming in. Taco Bell had no idea what was going on:)
We were quite ridiculous on New Year's Eve. I remember one night when the countdown was almost ready to happen on the radio. A bunch of us ran outside to the street, piled into the smallest car possible, turned on the radio and yelled out the countdown. I think we also drove around the block just for the heck of it, drove back to the house, and all fell out of the car onto the street, laughing.
It was the greatest experience a teenage girl could ever have. I simply shared my songs, and made a bunch of wonderful friends through it all. I loved our choir, and treasure all the memories in my heart. There is huge strength in choosing friends that will lift you and help you stay close to the Lord. I saw it. I lived it, and I am eternally grateful for their influence on me, and their examples. I pray that my kids will have a similar experience as they grow older.