In the newspaper in the UAE

Two weeks ago, I had an exhausting week of work during the day and rehearsals or performances every night, for seven days straight (excluding the intervening Friday). The light at the end of the tunnel was Thursday the 19th, when I had a brief breather of no work or performance, with only my church congregational Christmas devotional program to worry about on the 20th (I'm the music director of our congregation and I had prepared and organized a music/spoken word Christmas program for that day). But compared to the gauntlet of performances I had just run, the Christmas program was minor and I figured the pressure was off.

Then the bishop called me and said, oh, by the way, a reporter and photographer from The National will be at church to watch the Christmas program and research an article about how Mormons celebrate Christmas in the UAE. And the pressure was back on!

Fortunately, everything went well. All the narrators showed up, including one person who took a taxi to get there on time since his family was running behind. God bless people like that! I had to last-minute sub out a musical number - like, announce it to the performers over the mic as they walked up to perform - because I thought they didn't have the music. They took it like champs, even though it turned out after the fact that they did have their music and I just didn't know it.

Afterward, since Sterling and I were roaming the halls, we had our picture taken by the photographer many, many times. I talked to the reporter for a while, mostly about how I chose the music and speeches for the program. Then I went home and took a NAP.

Here is the resulting article. No picture of Sterling and me, but that's fine. I am quoted at the end and I'm grateful she did not include some of the more inane things I said, though "December is only four weeks long" comes close, and that was even cleaned up. I'm pretty sure I actually said that Christmas is only four weeks long. I was just trying to say that there are only so many Fridays that are suitable for Christmas music, so I wanted to give the congregation a chance to sing as many songs as possible during the program rather than feature a lot of musical numbers. Because singing is awesome.

And so were the concerts, by the way! I was nervous every night. It was so precious to have my daughters with me, though. Miriam got to go onstage as my page-turner, and I think she had as many butterflies in her tummy as I did. There is something so special about being involved in a performance - rehearsals, whispering in the green room, stretching your jitters out backstage, and then going onstage and giving it your best. I'm playing a few songs at the dance concert next week, so the fun isn't over yet!

January 2nd, outsourced

The Jay interview