And why it is the best-kept secret of all church callings.
Have you ever wondered what all the fuss of being the primary chorister is about? If you are newly called, don’t let the fact that you can’t sing or read music worry you, or that there are 78 pairs of eyes expecting you to entertain.
I’ve been a primary chorister for over 10 years combined, and I’ve got 7 reasons that explain why being primary choristerized (yes, I made that up) is the best kept secret in the church.
#1: You Don’t Have to Climb a Mountain
to Find God
Some people do the nature thing to seek out God. They join a peace retreat in the wilderness or practice the Lotus Position on a mountaintop. After 30 days of malnourished silence they re-enter the world feeling centered, balanced, and deeply spiritual.
Sheesh! How easy would that be? They ain’t got nothing on a primary chorister.
Primary choristers show up. They prepare. They’ve got life-sized posters and well-planned strategies, not to mention tablecloths and handouts. Heck – they have an entire closet at home dedicated to primary music props.
That’s only the beginning. When you are the primary chorister, you enter the primary room like a boss. Sure, you hear the crying chain in the Sunbeam class, and the CTR 5 singing full throttle in the microphone at the podium, and you are fully aware of the 11-year-old boys playing freeze tag around the piano, but you do not freak out; it’s handled. For a chorister, this is child’s-play. Literally.
With no more than the snap of your fingers or the wave of your hand, you calm the Sunbeams, and bring order to the rest of the group. They know you. They trust you. They love you!
Let’s get real. You could climb a mountain to find God, but these children, and the way your heart swells when they sing, “I am a Child of God,” brings you closer to HIM than any kumbaya-meditative-nature-dwelling-peace-seeking-yurt experience could ever do.
#2 You Get Away with Stuff
It’s true. It’s your ticket to fun. You get to play games, dance, and sing. You get to be silly and laugh out loud if you feel like it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about swinging from the light fixtures. Maintaining reverence and teaching the doctrine is always paramount. What I am saying is that there are certain liberties given to primary choristers that you will never see in Relief Society or in the High Priest classrooms. Music time in primary has some serious fun going on. Stuff like this:
- “Secret Service Sing-Along” by the Barefoot Chorister, Stacy Sanchez
- “Captain CTR” by The Crazy Chorister
- “Primary Idol” from my own, The Ordinary Adventures of a Primary Chorister
#3 You Get Treats
You know it. Treats are one of the best perks of serving in Primary. Holy yum! I’m just going to say it: some days, snagging a few Goldfish when you visit the nursery, or getting a home made Valentines Day cookie, might be a life saver. (Sometimes your cookie might actually have a Lifesaver on it!) After all, you are just a kid on the inside. Church is 3 hours – and you are hungry!
#4 Kids are funny! (and Honest)
Yes, they are, and you’ll be cracking up all the way home. Did you know that the “flowers are naughty” in the song, In the Leafy Tree Tops? Or that the “empty sea” is the first place you will go on your mission? Check out Primary Kids Say the Darndest Things from LDS Living for more laughs.
Even better, do you want honesty? Do you wonder, “Do I look fat?” or “Is my dress ugly?” Just ask a kid. They will tell you straight up, and they’ll never let you go walking around in meadows of clover with your zipper down, or rolling alongside the oxen with a dingle-thingy hanging out of your nose.
After getting over the embarrassment of a 4 year old asking if you are going to have a baby (when you are not, ‘cause you’re a guy), remember that kids’ testimonies are honest, too, and you hear them in the primary music. When the children sing with all their hearts that they know the scriptures are true, or that the Savior loves them, the Spirit testifies of truth. Seriously, it’s amazing.
#5 No Manual for You!
Think about it – there are very few callings in the Church that function without a manual, and Primary Chorister is one of them. And this is good, why? you might ask. It’s more than good! It’s terrific! You get to create and control your own lesson plans. It’s like having your own talk show!
#6 You Get Unconditional Love
They may never actually remember your name, but the primary children feel your love, and give it right back. Just when you think you are a failure, the most unlikely child hugs you and tells you he loves you; and it melts your heart. This is what it’s all about. If you love a child enough for them to reciprocate, you are doing it right.
#7 Blessings Upon Your Head
You already know the scripture – “…the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads,” (D&C 25:12). Primary choristers get full access to these blessings all week long as they ponder, plan, and prepare their lessons. The simple words in primary songs are basic reminders of the foundations of the gospel. You will feel the Spirit in your home and family as you practice and teach the sacred music of primary songs.
Look, if you are worried that getting primary choristerized will be too challenging because you don’t know music, or can’t sing, think again. The there are only 3 things you need to do to rock this calling:
- You need to love the children
- You need to prepare, and
- You need to wave your arms like a bird
Simple. That’s it. I promise you that if you do these 3 things, choristerization will change your life. It’s the best-kept secret in the church.