Surprise!

NOTE: I’m not a Christian, and this is Christian—it’s also beautiful, and wonderful. Enjoy—and Merry Christmas.

Sent to me by Amy Kuhns, and definitely good enough to pass on.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

22 comments… add one
  • Lyyda May 20, 2011 @ 10:39

    As I’ve just found Holly’s site again, I’m a bit late with responding to this incredible video. Thank you for posting.

  • Tasha Jan 13, 2011 @ 22:58

    This has to be an opera company singing and not a church choir. Their technique and sound are professional, not amateur. And if it’s a church choir…where do I sign up, because I’ve NEVER heard one sound like this…unless it’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

  • Ed Dec 29, 2010 @ 11:11

    I saw this in YouTube recently, and I just thought I’d add that despite the religious theme of this work, I think it has generally been accepted as a masterpiece in its own right, even within the secular realm. You don’t have to be Christian to appreciate the beauty of this music, though it is nice to hear it performed publicly during this special season for Christians.

    It’s such a shame that we have come to the point where anything religious at all has become a minefield of political correctness and a ridiculous dance across eggshells to avoid offending anyone. If I witnessed a flash mob perform a piece from a different religious tradition, especially if it was near one of its feasts, I would enjoy it as a cultural experience rather than be “offended” by its presence.

    Anyway, thank you, Holly, for sharing this with us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

  • zette Dec 28, 2010 @ 15:39

    I think many of us mentioned not being Christian merely to point out that this is a piece that far transcends the cultural setting in which it had been created. It’s also the power of something so lovely in such an unexpected, mundane spot in the world. I have watched it several times now, and it is still moving. Amazing work by the choir and by the video team who put it together. Just enough of the ‘pre’ shots to give us a feel of the setting and then straight into something unexpected and beautiful.

    There’s probably a lesson here for writers, but I’m still trying to figure out how to adapt it to words. (grin)

  • Hanna Dec 28, 2010 @ 8:10

    I have always wanted to be somewhere that sa flash mob show up, or better yet, be part of one that is as positive and beautiful as this one. I am also not Christian, but I love the decorations and music, even some of the sentiment of the season. Its the only time of year that there are feel good, smarmy, sappy movies everywhere, and I watch just about all of them. The Hallelujuah (sorry, sp) is beautiful, adn I can never hear the words anyway. This song always brings me to tears as does the one that has “fall on your knees.” I cried just watching this, and I sure I would have shed a tear over my lunch had I been there.

    Thanks, Holly.

  • Texanne Dec 27, 2010 @ 16:05

    I love these flash performances! Of course it’s a choir, and of course it was professionally photographed and recorded. It was professionally composed, too. But still, to stand right up in a food court and belt out some Handel–hallelujah and huzzah!

    It’s called caroling, right? Thanks for the link, Holly, and Amy. We enjoyed it a bunch.

  • Dwayne Dec 27, 2010 @ 13:58

    I guess I should plant my religious flag before I comment…I am a Christian. I’m slightly amused at the apparent need to declare your religious orientation before making your comment. While I understand the nature of the song in the video is religious, the “bottom line” for Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. I would propose that the reason our emotions are stirred while listen to such music as this is because God created us as emotional beings. (We read in the Bible that even Jesus wept.) Why create us as emotional creatures? So that He could share the joys of a personal relationship with us, thus the babe in the manger. I’m not trying open up a debate…just planting this thought: Christianity is not a label or a religion. It’s a relationship.

    • Holly Lisle Dec 28, 2010 @ 14:05

      Dwayne says: “Iā€™m slightly amused at the apparent need to declare your religious orientation before making your comment.”

      Don’t be. Across my site, I’ve made it clear that I’m pro-religious-freedom, but deeply anti-religion. The disclaimer is so I don’t have to deal with the handful of folks who are not regulars here, who would use my appreciation of a beautiful piece of music beautifully performed as an attempt to claim that I’m somehow a hypocrite for presenting a clearly Christian piece of music.

      I’m not amused by such people.

      Furthermore, I disagree with your assessment on the reasons for our reaction to music—but this is not going to turn into a religious discussion.

      And your comment on Christianity—my site is NOT appropriate for proselytizing. I know the ropes: I’m the daughter of Christian missionaries and was brought up Christian. I have a solid understanding of a large number of other religions, as well. And no love for any of them.

      So please note that any attempt to shanghai the discussion into one on religion will result with me marking the offending posts as spam and deleting them.

      • Dwayne Dec 28, 2010 @ 15:23

        Point made, and well taken. Not sure that your accusation of “proselytizing” is accurate, since I just shared a personal belief. When you stated that you thought the video was “beautiful and wonderful” I didn’t perceive that as you telling me that I had to think it was “beautiful and wonderful.” Nor was I belligerent. As stated in the original post, I wasn’t attempting to begin a debate.

        You’ve got a great site here and I look forward to learning more from you as I aspire to be a better communicator and writer. I have really enjoyed the “Magic of Goals” piece you posted. I do hope you’ll allow me to engage with you and your “tribe.” You strike me as one who can handle multiple perspectives on your material. But as you implied, it’s your “party” and you decide who gets to come.

        Thanks!

        • Holly Lisle Jan 1, 2011 @ 16:38

          You’re welcome to stay, and I’m happy to have you. You’ll note there are plenty of other folks here who are Christian as well. Just leave religion and politics off the site unless I specifically ask.

  • Klharrds Dec 27, 2010 @ 7:33

    I love this kind of advertising and this was pretty good, nice Xmas feel and all that but if you want to see the first and best of these check out t-mobile’s advert from Liverpool street station. There is nothing more satisfying than a surprised smile from a grumpy commuter. It’s almost enough to make you want to buy their product, (but not quite)!

  • Cathy Dec 26, 2010 @ 22:57

    I was in choir many years ago, and after a large performance of Handel’s Massiah, there was rarely a dry eye in the house – including the choir. Beautiful music, art or literature transcends all religions and politics, it is the common bond between all people, the bond that makes us human.

  • Sallie Dec 26, 2010 @ 15:05

    Wonderful to have treated the shoppers that way and the kids faces are just wonderful. Definitely touching, moving and a really neat thing to have been involved in and witnessed. Happy Holidays!

  • L.C. Gant Dec 26, 2010 @ 13:30

    I am a Christian and was moved to tears by this video as well, although the tears came for a different reason due to my faith. But that’s neither here nor there.

    I was particularly moved by the way many of the spectators stood and joined the singers, so that in the end you couldn’t tell who the “professional” performers actually were. Just beautiful and touching, regardless of what you believe.

  • Danzier Dec 26, 2010 @ 2:14

    I am a Christian, although not terribly vocal about it. I’ve also loved Handel’s music for years and I’ve heard this piece done hundreds of times by hundreds of choirs. These guys nailed it! I was very impressed with the sound quality they were able to pull off; usually public spaces are bad for audio. It was still easy to tell they were in a public space, but it was clear and loud–which performances (even in some auditoriums) often lack. I did wonder about the soloist with the phone, though.

    Merry Christmas and Happy everything to you all, and a Happy New Year to boot! šŸ˜€

  • Nancy Dec 25, 2010 @ 23:53

    Not a Christian either, but this is an awe-inspiring piece of music, and I, like others, was moved to tears at the end, and was singing along myself. Beautiful. Thanks Holly and Amy for sharing! And happy holidays (whichever you celebrate) to all!

    Nancy

  • Prue Dec 25, 2010 @ 20:10

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing this, Holly. I’m sending it on šŸ™‚
    It’s a fantastic piece of music. It’s fantastic that people will get together and do this sort of thing – it brings magic into other peoples’ lives and it’s EXCITING šŸ˜€

    Merry Christmas to you and everyone reading this!

  • Margaret Fisk Dec 25, 2010 @ 17:11

    It was beautiful and I love how these flash mobs are bring live singing out in the world again :).

    However, as I understand it, notifications are sent out about when and where it will happen in advance, and it is often organized by a choral association. These are not random people getting up to sing.

    What I can’t wait to see is someone standing up in a public place to sing a well known folk tune and people joining in THINKING it’s a flash mob…which would make it the real thing 100% :).

  • zette Dec 25, 2010 @ 3:32

    Yes it was plainly professionally staged and recorded — you cannot get that kind of quality without being prepared. And since the end piece is a tag by a photography business, I would expect them to have gone into it as prepared as the choir was. It’s even likely that many of the people where were friends and family of the choir and workers shooting the piece.That doesn’t make it any less wonderful to watch, and an unexpected gift for people who were plainly surprised by the choir bringing this lovely music to the middle of a food court mall.

  • JM Dec 25, 2010 @ 2:47

    I am not a Christian, either, though I’ve been one. The presentation is beautiful and the song is one of my most favorites — I tear up every time I hear it — but I wonder at the video. What group of people organized this show (it is as though the Mormon Tabernacle Choir invaded the Gateway Mall)? Mr. Cynic asks how many people were involved in the presentation and how many were spectators especially regarding the clarity of the recording and the myriad of camera angles. Mr.-Spirit-of-the-Season says it doesn’t matter how many were entertained nor how many were entertainers. The fact remains that the song is eminently emotional; people were moved (and, unfortunately, unmoved — as shown by the video), and if I were there would have thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well as have participated in it.

    It doesn’t matter whether the video is genuine or contrived, nor whether you are Christian or not, I wish every human being and all that they hold dear a Merry Christmas.

  • zette Dec 24, 2010 @ 16:06

    There is something so powerful about that music, even for those of us who are not Christian. Like Angie, I was tearful by the end as well. What a fantastic gift to give those lucky people.

  • Angie Dec 24, 2010 @ 12:44

    I’m not a Christian either, but I love this music; I was tearful by the end.

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