Editor's note: Former "American Idol" contestant Carmen Rasmusen Herbert writes about her favorite entertainers in her column "What I Love About …"
The other day, I walked in our front door after a particularly trying afternoon and evening. My car had broken down, my kids were tired and had both missed their naps, and I had several important things on my to-do list that I just couldn't imagine sorting out that night. My brain felt completely fried, my energy drained and the only thing that kept me going was the promise of our huge, soft couch, my favorite late-night treat (usually a really sugary cereal) and the beautiful sound of silence.
After the kids were finally zonked, I plopped my weary self down and began thinking of some music I could put on to help calm my nerves and soothe my soul. Immediately, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir came to mind.
With such a huge repertoire of songs to choose from, there is always one that seems to be just perfect for my mood at that particular moment. I love the well-trained voices, the incredible arrangements, the instruments, the feeling and spirit of the music. I always somehow feel better about life after I've listened to the choir.
Even my young children have been positively affected by this renowned choir.
When my oldest son was just 5 months old, every time we'd buckle him into his car seat, he'd take that as a cue to begin wailing at the top of his lungs. It didn't matter if the ride was five minutes or 50; that poor kid absolutely detested car rides and, as a result, so did I.
One day, as his shrill cries became increasingly louder and more incessant, I grabbed my choir CD, found the song "How Firm A Foundation" and turned up the volume full blast. My intent was to clear my head, calm my flustered nerves and invite a peaceful spirit into my chaotic car.
And then I noticed something: not only had my blood stopped boiling, but my boy had stopped screaming. I don't know if it was the loud volume, the bold, repetitive melody and beat or the earnest voices, but something about that particular song made my son quiet down and listen — really listen.
In fact, he made it through the entire song without another peep. I was stunned. Immediately after the song ended, the spell was broken and he resumed his high-pitched squeal. Frantically, I pushed the "repeat" button and, amazingly, his cries stopped a second time.
Needless to say, "How Firm a Foundation" became my boy's "theme" song. Whenever he was tired, worked up or buckled into that dreaded car seat, I would either sing or play it over and over until he calmed down. And I must say, it worked like a charm every single stinkin' time. (My husband would sometimes complain that he knew every part of that song; male, female and instrumental, backward and forward, and "could we PLEASE pick something else to listen to?" I would politely remind him that it was his son's favorite and ask if he would prefer the singing or the screaming.)
There have been many days when I've just wanted to call it quits, shut down and escape the world. I've always found solace in the beautiful strains and solid testimony of the choir's many different numbers, from reverent hymns to show-stopping showtunes to Christmas classics. There is something so inviting and peaceful about listening to a choir sing, and no one does it better than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.