A perfect note

by Scott Gibson

An old radio

We were looking forward to our fast and testimony meeting, but very bad chest pains at 4am intervened. Having had heart problems, I recognised the problem I had. My wife also quickly recognised it by the look on my face and my constant wriggling in bed to find a comfortable position to ease the pain.

Like all wonderful wives, mothers, and sisters in the gospel, she paused, picked up her iPad, and said, “I am sending you a YouTube link; please look at it.” The YouTube link was Slow Down sung by Sissel Kyrkjebe at the 2019 Pioneer Concert with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

It was a sweet and lovely piece of music with beautiful singing. At the end all 20,000 people in the Church’s Conference Centre stood and applauded for a long time.

I have learned from my wife the calming effect of music. Although I have not been blessed with a singing voice and I am going a bit deaf, the sweet sounds touched me and said, “Slow down.”

It made me reflect on when I first joined the Church in October 1981. I attended my first ever conference and heard a talk by Elder David B Haight, entitled People to People.

He started with a short story about Arturo Toscanini, the late, famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, who received a brief, crumpled letter from a lonely sheepherder in a remote mountain area of Wyoming. It included these words: “Mr. Conductor, I have only two possessions—a radio and an old violin. The batteries in my radio are getting low and will soon die. My violin is so out of tune I can’t use it. Please help me. Next Sunday when you begin your concert, sound a loud A so I can tune my A string; then I can tune the other strings. When my radio batteries are dead, I’ll have my violin.”

At the beginning of his next nationwide radio concert from Carnegie Hall, Toscanini announced: “For a dear friend and listener back in the mountains of Wyoming, the orchestra will now sound an A.” The musicians all joined together in a perfect A.

The lonely sheepherder only needed one note, just a little help to get back in tune, and he could go on from there.

He needed someone who cared to assist him with one string; the others would be easy. Then, with all strings in tune—in harmony—the lonely sheepherder would have a source of companionship and joy and could play uplifting music.

Elder Haight continued, “My expressions and encouragement this morning is to God’s children whose batteries may be low or with strings in need of tuning, those whose souls were one time touched by the words and teachings of the Master and His servants but have been attracted away into other interests and activities.

“Some may have been neglected or not sufficiently involved in a meaningful Church responsibility or may have a feeling of injury or hurt or even unworthiness.

“Some have allowed themselves to get out of tune. They may have lost the pitch and drifted from the original score. The Saviour of the world gave rules to live by and taught principles of love that encompass concern and encouragement: He said, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’”

What a need we have to minister in these challenging times. What wonderful examples of ministering are reflected in the acts of my wife, the conductor Arturo Toscanini, and the Saviour.