Last week I had the privilege of watching three of my six grandchildren participate in the Fine Arts Summer Academy (FASA), program of the Annie Moses Foundation, in Nashville, TN. This is the third time they have participated over recent years and each time I am impacted by the experience.
Students involved in the arts from all over the country (age 4 through college) audition with You Tube videos of drama cuttings, singing, and playing instruments. Those tapes are then used by the foundation to determine the roles and parts each will play when they come together for nine days of training and hard work with master teachers and musicians. The days are longer than you might think any child could withstand, but they rise to the occasion with the challenges and as the days go by the strains of the music of these groups is breathtaking.
It is hard to imagine the results can be so incredible for groups that have practiced for days instead of weeks and months. With just a week or two before students arrive on the campus of Lipscomb University, they receive the music and dramatic pieces they will be performing.
As the nine days near an end you are treated to multiple performances of varying productions featuring vocal and instrumental music as well as dramatic pieces. The finale on the last night is a gala performance with students dressed in concert dress black on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Over three and a half hours you hear various ensemble groups, a choir, and the orchestra directed by some of the finest conductors from around the country.
If that sounds amazing, you would be right. But I did not include the other piece of the time they spend together. The Annie Moses Foundation is a Christian one and days of FASA begin with chapel service. Students who participate come from Christian families from all parts of the body and grow not only in their musical skills and talents, but in their Christian experience as well.
I was struck this time by the beauty of a flute solo as the Hobbit theme music opened and later in the program it was a single violin that opened the theme. The full beauty of the instruments did not fully come into view until the full orchestra was playing. From strings to percussion, brass to woodwinds, the conductor masterfully brought the sound that can only happen when each member is playing his or her own part well. Eyes of the students trained to focus on the conductor resulted in perfection as composer, musicians, instruments, and conductor aligned in perfection.
Paul’s letter to Corinth in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 delineates the significance of being a part of the body of Christ in his words many members and one body.
As I observed this very special week at FASA, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that passage. How often we, in the body, compare ourselves to one another. How often we see one seeking to outdo another for a place of recognition or honor. How foolish! An eye cannot be an ear. A flute cannot be a violin, or a drum a cello. None of that honors God or speaks to Paul’s message.
FASA provided the perfect metaphor as the model. Various persons from varied backgrounds and places came together (many members) and as they submitted to the conductor and focused on his direction, they become one body. The result was awe-inspiring sounds of such beauty that my mind is still trying to capture the moments.
Oh, that we, His body, might learn that He, our Lord, is the conductor and our eyes need to always be on Him. He will lead the pace, the volume, and cue any parts He chooses to highlight while always keeping the whole in perfect tune and alignment.
Only then will we make incredible music that honors Him.