These past few weeks, my brothers have been enjoying starting up their second year of Zions Choir – an LDS Youth Choir based in The Bay Area.
To give you a little background on the choir, here is part of their mission statement from their website, ZionChoir.org:
The Zion Choir is a youth performing group of approximately 45 high school juniors and seniors from the greater San Jose area, who meet at least weekly to study and memorize challenging sacred music, to be performed at ward and stake church firesides and activities. These youth are asked to prepare themselves musically and spiritually to invite the spirit whenever they perform.
All four kids in the Nef household have participated in Zion Choir. My sister was an alto from 2007-2009; I, an alto from 2011-2013; and my brothers, both basses from 2013-present.
All the choir fun and madness discussed at my house lately has given me an intense case of nostalgia. In all honesty, I really miss Zions Choir – and I don’t say that a lot.
Zions Choir was – hands down – one of the best experiences of my life. The friendships, love, and faith found in this choir helped me get through some of the most difficult years in high school. Zions Choir showed me the power of sacred music and how it can change lives.
It also gave me some pretty cool stories to tell.
During my junior year, Zions Choir had a unique opportunity to perform in a music video with Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert for the LDS service organization, Mormon Helping Hands.
‘Twas definitely an interesting experience.
For one, the choir got to meet Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert in person after one of our rehearsals. Carmen Rasmussen Herbert is known for competing in the second season of American Idol, and Alex Boye is known for his YouTube Channel where he creates Africanized versions of popular music (both are kinda hugely famous to Mormons).
Despite being rather starstruck, we managed to talk to and perform for them. Both singers were very kind and complimentary (Fun Fact: Alex Boye said that he liked my watch – basically made my week). They even spoke to us about their careers and how they got into the music business.
The head of the entire music video project informed us that we were to sing a small segment of an arrangement of the LDS hymn, “Have I Done Any Good?” Totally ecstatic about this new piece of music, we headed to a recording studio in San Jose.
It took several hours to complete, but about a week after recording, we got to make the music video. What made things more exciting: they needed extras in the video, which meant my family got to participate in the video, too.
We arrived at the set on the day of the shoot – a park right next to the church where we held our choir rehearsals. I remember that the set was chaotic and frenzied – everyone was working their hardest so that we could finish shooting the video in only one day.
The choir members were told that we would have our hair and makeup done, but due to time constraints, they couldn’t make us camera-ready. Dangit. But we didn’t really care; we were just happy to be there.
Until I found out just where we were filming – right under a pollinating pine tree.
That week, particularly the few days prior to the shoot, I had been experiencing probably the worst bout of allergies I had had in my entire life (I downed almost an entire jumbo bag of cough drops that day alone – not exaggerating).
It was bad enough that I had to sing while feeling like I had swallowed a cactus, but I also had to have my vocal cords all ready to sing for two performances of a musical at my high school that afternoon.
I was not appreciating the tree very much.
Luckily, we got to film with Alex Boye for a few hours, which made not being able to breathe properly slightly more worth it.
Side note: let me just say that Alex Boye is so upbeat and lively – a complete joy to be around.
After shooting for a couple hours and trying to keep my lungs in my chest, I had to leave the set early to perform in the musical at my high school (I technically stayed much longer than I intended, I barely made it back on time).
At days end, my voice was sore and I hated the taste of cough drops with the burning passion of 83 suns, but I felt accomplished.
However, I also felt slightly discouraged. Because of my frequent allergy-induced coughing fits and tear-fests messing up shots and because I had left early, I was afraid that I would not make it into the video.
But when the music video was posted a couple weeks later, I was quite surprised.
They got a close-ish shot of my face! Not only that, but my mother and brother appeared prominently in the video as well.
If you watch the video below, you can see my at mom and brother, Landon, at 3:35 (in the right box). You can see me pretty well at 6:01 (the girl in the back with bangs swooped to the side).
I was very honored to participate in the project. I am very glad that I have something that will always remind me of the wonderful years I spent in Zions Choir.
If you want to learn more about Zions Choir or would like them to perform at an event, check out their website:
They are starting to put ads on our blog. We do not approve these and are not getting any residuals whatsoever, so I apologize for the content. I’ll see what I can do about it.