During what may seem to be the darkest nights of our lives, in times of adversity and distress, music can soothe the aching soul and bring the calm and serenity that a person yearns for. During moments of quiet and reflection, music speaks to our souls, and at times brings to remembrance even some of the little things of life that may have long since been forgotten, but for which we are eternally grateful.
There is healing power in music. At times, we may find ourselves asking the question, “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” (Jeremiah 8:22). It can be said that music is a healing balm for the soul. Music expresses that which an ocean of words is inadequate to do. Whereas mere words can get lost in the translation, music writes its indelible melodic tones upon the heart and expresses itself in a manner which the individual listener can easily understand.
An example of such power found in music is the excellent performance of “If You Could Hie to Kolob” by the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic. The music for the awe-inspiring video was conducted and produced by Kayson Brown. The video was released on the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic YouTube channel on 23 March 2017, and as of 28 March 2017, it has amassed more than quarter-million views on YouTube and Facebook combined. The powerful full-orchestra arrangement was written by Marshall McDonald for the orchestra’s album, The Master, in 2014.
Per the description, the video is dedicated to Rand Henderson (1960-2016) and his loving family. Rand Henderson was the father of 17-year-old Joseph Henderson who is one of the orchestra students. In the fall of 2016, as the orchestra was preparing to perform “If You Could Hie to Kolob” at the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, Joseph approached the director and said, “I’m so grateful that we are playing this arrangement on this concert. I played the cello and piano version at my father’s funeral last month.”
Rand Henderson was an extraordinary man who was both a supportive father to his son, as well as an avid supporter of the orchestra. He gave all that he could to support his son, including driving more than two hours in each direction to get Joseph to his weekly three-hour rehearsals, and he and the family sacrificed to get Joseph a new cello and tuba. That Joseph would play this song at his father’s funeral was perhaps his way of expressing his love and sincere gratitude for all that his father had done for him. Through his gift of music, he could still feel connected to his father whom he loved and have the reassurance that they would one day be reunited. Joseph’s own words express his feelings best, “Oh, how we cried the day you left us. We gathered round your grave to grieve, but I wish I could see the angels faces when they hear your sweet voice sing. And when in pain, from sorrow’s anger. I’ll Fall to my knees and plead that day, then feel your hand, rest on my shoulder, and hear the words you have to say” (adapted by Joseph Henderson from “Go Rest High”).
It was Joseph’s experience which provided the backstory for the video. The video was filmed at the iconic Bonneville Salt Flats. Molly McMurtey, also a student of the orchestra, portrays a student who has recently lost a loved one. It is through prayer and the healing power of music that she finds comfort and hope.
As you listen to this beautiful performance of “If You Could Hie to Kolob” may you find peace, comfort, and rest for your soul. If you have recently experienced the death of a loved one, be comforted with these words, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).