It was my second week in the ward. Brother Aamodt, who was conducting priesthood meeting, closed the session with a request. “Brethren, as you know, we have been lacking musical talent in our priesthood quorums for some time. Could you pray that we might have some sent to us?” I waited for the laughter — Brother Aamodt had been the accompanist for the opening hymn, and had done a perfectly fine job. There were a few smiles, but even more nods.
The next week before priesthood meeting started, I carried my not-quite-nursery-aged son Trevor with me to the podium, and told Brother Aamodt, “I just moved into the ward, and heard what you said last week, and I figured I should let you know that I play the piano.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” he exclaimed, with genuine enthusiasm and a bit more excitement than I had expected. Did he really dislike playing the piano that much? “Let me find the bishop. Bishop, this is Brother Inouye. He plays the piano.”
The bishop expressed his gratitude for this news and offered to take care of Trevor while I played. I accepted the offer somewhat reluctantly, worried that Trevor might not be too happy about being handed to an unfamiliar set of hands, but the bishop managed to keep him from crying, although Trevor had a worried look on his face.
I sat down at the piano and started to flip through the hymnbook. Brother Aamodt asked, “What hymn would you like to play?” meaning perhaps to ask, “What hymns can you play?”
I told him, “It’s your meeting. I’ll play whatever you would like,” to signal back to him my comfort level with the hymns.
Brother Aamodt replied, “Oh, you don’t know how happy everyone will be. I’ve been playing for us, but I’ve never had a piano lesson in my life. I’ve taught myself how to play six hymns, and everyone is just sick of them.”
As I started to play some prelude music, one of the priests leaped up the stairs to the piano. He was holding a hymn book in his hand — clearly, he was tasked with leading the music. “Are you new?” Nod. “Do you play the piano?” Nod. “Are you good?” Shrug. He turned to Brother Aamodt and said, “Yeah, he’s good.”
He then turned to the rest of the assembled priesthood quorums and announced in a loud voice, “Everyone, this is our new brother. He plays the piano….and he’s good!”
The young men in the audience, seven or eight of them, all seated in a group in some of the side pews, jumped to their feet spontaneously, applauding and cheering. That was the only time I’ve ever seen a standing ovation in the chapel.