Last night I was able to sing in a chorus for the presentation, The Garden by Michael McLean. No, I did not sing with a chorus directed by Michael himself, but with a group in the Kaysville area. Many of you are very aware of his Christmas program, The Forgotten Carols, but, The Garden is a very underated program that Michael McLean has written!
"He will lead the way back to the fold, The Good Shepherd is his name. There is one who when your crying's done, gives the gift you've never known. He'll give fruit because he is the vine and life because he's the living stone. He is known by oh so many names and will be forever more! Hope comes from the One with many names, and he's not forgotten yours! No... he's not forgotten yours!"
Below is an excerpt from Michael McLean's website about the story of The Garden:
"We've always felt that the single most important work any creative person could do is to create something that would help others come closer to the Savior and have a greater understanding of and appreciation for the atonement," says Michael. "But oftentimes the very nature of the subject is a bit intimidating for a composer, songwriter, musician or artist." The creative group agreed that the best way to accomplish the goal was to seek the Lord's help, and to follow his example of using allegories.
The basic premise of The Garden is: What could we learn about life, about ourselves, about the nature of repentance, faith, hope and love if the Garden of Gethsemane were to tell the story? How would it change us if we were near the Savior in the Garden? This unique musical allegory is like nothing heard before from these talented musical artists. Here, they truly reveal themselves as artists — blending the right melodies, symbols, lyrics and orchestral elements on their palette and spreading them across an outstanding musical canvas.
The Garden has been compared to Les Miserables in its style and format, and many have already been moved by the recording. A group of college students said The Garden made the Atonement more real than it had ever been for many of them. A grandmother said that she listened to it three times over two days and each time it affected more her more profoundly.
In the album's liner notes, the creators ask listeners to imagine what it was like in the premortal existence awaiting our experience on earth: We have all been taught, perfectly, the purpose for our leaving the presence of our Heavenly Father and coming to earth. We understand the plan. But because everything we hope to become hinges on the events that will take place on the earth we are about to inhabit, we find that we can't talk enough, dream enough, think enough, or sing enough with each other about the adventure that awaits us. The musical presentation is not intended to answer all our questions about what life on earth will really be like or how our individual lives will unfold; rather, it is a humble and artistic attempt by a group of musicians to focus our spiritual hearts and minds in a creatively different way on what will be the central event in all human history: the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The Garden will do for Easter what The Forgotten Carols has done for Christmas — provide celebrants with a comforting, personal experience with the Savior's love through music and song.