For many, the typical associations made with general conference include live music performed by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. However, as President Russell M. Nelson promised at the close of the October 2019 general conference, the April 2020 general conference would be anything but typical.
The bicentennial celebration held memorable changes and events including, for the first time in decades, the lack of a live choir. Like many Church members, Megan Limburg watched this April’s general conference with anticipation and excitement— knowing that it would be “memorable and unforgettable.” Because of global health concerns, Limburg knew there would be adjustments to the live music and that recordings were to be used. But while watching Saturday’s sessions, Limburg noticed that the music recordings dated not only in recent years but some as far back as a decade. As she watched the choir, Limburg wondered if she might see a familiar face—her deceased mother.
A Memorable and Unforgettable Conference
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, attendance at conference was limited to strictly those participating and even then, it was clear that those present practiced social distancing. Although the recognizable presence of the Tabernacle Choir was not in attendance, prerecorded hymns were broadcasted.
The Deseret News reported that President Nelson recognized nearly two months ago that the coronavirus outbreak might disrupt the upcoming conference. He requested that the choir begin to record the hymns planned for April’s conference in advance. The recordings were done a few at a time, until Utah’s state and local governments issued restrictions on assembling in groups. Thus, the music for the April 2020 general conference was a combination of recordings made before restrictions and some recordings from years past.
For many choir members, current or former, it was the chance to spot themselves and friends and relive special memories. But for Megan Limburg it was more than just a recognition—it was a gift from Heaven.
An Angelic Choir
It wasn’t until the Sunday morning session that Limburg’s mother, a former member of the Tabernacle Choir, made an appearance. Limburg was watching the beginning of the session with her family when a 2009 recording of the song, “This is My Beloved Son,” was used.
“As soon as the song came on, my oldest son said, ‘Mom [the recording] is back from when Grandma was in the choir.’ Then, she popped up right at the very beginning and we just felt an overwhelming sense of love—there were tears,” Limburg said.
When asked what this experience meant for her, Limburg replied, “I was expecting conference to be memorable but I wasn’t expecting that angels would be singing with the choir...it was a testimony to us that angels were a part of this historic conference.”
Limburg explained that this was something her mom believed in even while she was on earth. While growing up, Limburg remembers her mom sharing her feeling that there were extra voices singing with the Tabernacle Choir—voices from heaven.
Sharing a “Treasured Gift”
Limburg’s mother, a member of the Tabernacle Choir for 16 years, prided herself on being a musical missionary and sharing the gospel all over the world. It was the opportunity to share her testimony through music. She says her mom felt it was “a beautiful gift that she was given.”
Limburg said that singing in the Tabernacle Choir was everything for her mother. Limburg also spoke about some of the health challenges her mother faced. “She actually battled cancer multiple times and she had a tumor that wrapped around her vocal chords. Her biggest fear would be that should be alive and not be able to sing again,” she recalls.
Yet, Limburg’s mother continued to share her “treasured gift” with the world until the time of her passing a decade ago—almost to the day.
In a recent Facebook post, Limburg wrote about her experience: “How fitting that just a week away from 10 years after her passing she gets to sing again in a special general conference to share her unwavering testimony of Jesus Christ with her grand babies and many of you as well.”
Limburg concluded her post with the hashtag “#familiesareforever.”