On 30 May 2017, students from Maple Mountain High School, located in Spanish Fork, Utah, who comprise the Maple Mountain High School Chamber Singers released a wonderful music video of their rendition of “Even When He is Silent” composed by Kim André Arnesen. The piece is published by WALTON MUSIC (GIA) NORSK MUSIKFORLAG.
The group is made up of auditioned juniors and seniors at the school who are taught by “extremely talented, incredibly gifted, and amazingly kind choir directors” Cory Mendenhall and Vicki McMurray. Kaylie Evans, a member of the group, said, “We are so thankful for them and everything that they have taught us, and we feel very blessed to have been able to call them our directors.” She continued, “We are also incredibly thankful for our fantastic choir student teacher, Mr. Braden Rymer. This past spring 2017 semester he taught in several choir classes at MMHS, including Chamber Singers. Mr. Rymer is an amazing teacher who helped us immensely and taught us many things alongside our two other phenomenal directors.”
Josh Sales is the mastermind and genius behind the making of the video. He is also the director, editor, and cinematographer for the video, as well as, a member of the Chamber Singers. He commented:
The making of this video started with an idea that came to me one day at school while singing this song. I got a few people together and asked them their thoughts about my idea. They loved it and wanted to continue with the audio recording portion. We then set a date to record the audio. We wanted to film this video as a surprise partially for our directors and everything they did for us but mostly to inspire others and spread the hope that the meaning this song has. There are many times in our lives when we feel like we are alone but as the song states “I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.” We always know the sun will come up the next day. We can then relate that to the words “I believe in God, even when He is silent.” We will never stand alone in this life and He will be there even when He is silent.
The message of the song is powerful and is one that the world desperately needs to hear. The tone and the mood set by the singers, combined with the Salt Flats being used as the backdrop mirror the backstory of the words of this melancholy, yet optimistic tune.
The backstory is as follows:
There are many dark moments recorded in the pages of history. Perhaps one of the gravest are the accounts of the inhumane atrocities that were committed against a sect of people, the Jewish people, during one of history’s bleak midwinters known as the Holocaust. History records that the Holocaust was a genocide in which some six million European Jews were killed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and the World War II collaborators with the Nazis. Of those victims, approximately 1.5 million were children. Yet, even amidst the atrocious cruelties that these Jewish prisoners endured, there were those who still believed that even when it seemed as if midnight – the darkest times of their life – would last for an eternity, and it appeared that God was silent, they knew in their heart that God was there, and He heard all their endless cries. One such individual was a Jew in the Cologne concentration camp who engraved some immortal words upon the walls of a cellar. Those words have since been composed into a song by Kim André Arnesen titled “Even When He is Silent.”
About a week after the group finished filming the video, they learned that one of their beloved classmates, Kathrynn Shaw, had passed away in a car accident. She is lovingly remembered as a shining example to those around her and as having a “beaming light about her.” The students held a candle lighting ceremony in her remembrance where they shared their personal memories of her and what they loved about her and grew stronger as a student body. At the end of the ceremony, they sang “Even When He is Silent.” After singing the song, Josh says, “I (along with many others) felt impressed to dedicate this song to Kathrynn and the Shaw family.” The Shaw family contacted the group and asked that they sing “Even When He is Silent” at Kathrynn’s gravesite at her funeral, which they did, and continue to dedicate the song to her and her family.
There are times in all our lives when we feel alone and it seems that God is silent. During those times of discouragement and despair, may we find solace in these words:
I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I feel it not.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.
The members of the Maple Mountain High School Chamber Singers for 2016-2017 were: Emily Ells, Kaylie Evans, Danielle Graves, Jentri Harris, Chloe Henry, Kaleah Jackson, Amber Ray, Cami Roberts, Annie Weight, Emelia Call, Maggie Ellis, Allison Ells, Sarah Foutz, Joie Hunter, Kate McInelly, Alison Nelson, Andrea Ockey, Kelsy Robinson, Cristina Villalobos, James Berky, Jake Blonquist, Joseph Draut, Dallin Huffaker, McKay Kriser, Ben Leishman, Jason Metler, Dane Robertson, Quincy Whittaker, Josh Aagard, Cooper Arndt, Caleb Colette, Landon Evans, Mason Evans, Ryan Hawkins, Zachary Nuttall, Josh Sales, Talon Tippetts, and Brendan Willis.