It's the weekly Thursday night rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the concert hall is dotted with tourists. Most have not likely heard a crisper, more stirring version of Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean. At least not in person.
That's the beauty of 350 voices singing with one purpose and, even during the stops and starts of practice, it's easy to understand why this is one of the most famous choral groups in the world. Perhaps the only other one that's as widely known is the Vienna Boys' Choir.
O, Columbia, the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free
The power of the orchestra, the beauty of the unified voices carry us away, doing what patriotic songs are supposed to do. Inspire. Motivate. Maybe even move listeners to heart-swelling tears. Okay, forget the maybe. It's a bit sappy, but we are caught up in the moment.