Musical ‘miracle’ in BethlehemBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Thanks to the readers who’ve expressed their appreciation for our recent “inspirational” article on Mitch Valdes’ unique Christmas show at Bethlehem’s Manger Square last Dec. 22. Even more inspiring, however, is what happened after that well-received performance—and, therein lies this “miraculous” tale:
During Mitch’s “Songs from the Heart at Christmas” mini-concert, the chilly night and some sound problems conspired to adversely affect her singing—she had to project her voice louder to get heard, and in so doing, at the end of the hit show, she realized to her dismay that she had lost it.
Problem: She had been invited back to sing again at Manger Square on Dec. 24, or just a couple of days later. How could she possibly recover enough to do even passably well in that short a time? She would have to sadly beg off.
But, some people pointed out that the Dec. 24 show would be covered by TV crews from all over the world, so it would be an even bigger showcase for her and the country she proudly represented. —Still, she couldn’t represent it well if all she could come up with was a catch in the throat and an unmusical croak, could she? —What to do?!
Some friends promised to pray for her voice to come back by the evening of Dec. 24, but Mitch realized that she would have to do some prayerful thinking and focusing, too.
She reminded herself why she had agreed to come to Bethlehem and the Holy Land in the first place: To sing for the child Jesus, in the small town where He had actually been born, some 2,000 years ago. It was her simple way of expressing her renewed love for Him, and sharing that expression with other people, who might benefit from get similarly affected by it.
When that realization shone through, the “problem” resolved itself for Mitch: With God’s help and healing, she would sing again on Dec. 24 at Bethlehem’s Manger Square, in a Christmas Eve show like no other!
Heart full of love
Making the challenge even more daunting was the fact that Mitch would have to sing a capella, with nothing to help her except for her now recovering but still husky singing voice. With a hope and a prayer, and a heart full of love for her Savior, Mitch faced the overflow crowd and TV cameras, took a deep breath—and started to sing a Christmas carol. And, as she did so, the other Filipino pilgrims in the audience were amazed!
Just a few minutes ago, they had spoken to her and she had responded only in a husky whisper—but, now, her voice was much stronger, in firmer musical focus, and the audience responded with delight and deep empathy as her obvious love for Jesus rang and sang out!
When she started to sing a Filipino carol, her kababayans in the audience, most of them lonely OFWs longing to be back with their families in the Philippines, sang out, too, making the evening a specially meaningful experience—for everyone. Now, that was a beautiful “miracle,” too!
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