I used to belong to the Baptist Church in Matamata, NZ (pop. 7,000) when I was a teenager. One Saturday evening, we drove around an hour to get to Hamilton (pop. 100,000) to go to a special evangelistic outreach and healing meeting where a renown pastor was speaking.
I don't remember much about the service... nothing spectacular sticks out for me. I guess it was a 'normal' charismatic Baptist affair with the usual "hallelujah Jesus" moments, people praying 'in tongues' and people receiving the 'laying on of hands' for healing.
The thing that holds this meeting fast in my memory is the hour-long drive back to Matamata. I was sitting in the back seat of a Leyland Chevrolet along with my mother and another person who had gone to the meeting. In the front was one of the church elders and his wife in the passenger seat. I remember being pretty tired and I think I was slumped forwards in some way... maybe I had my elbows on my knees or something - this was long before the days of compulsory seat belts in the backs of cars in NZ (c.1976).
As I sat in my tired blissful state in the back of the car, in the dark, with the headlights of other passing cars lighting up the inside of the Leyland, I could hear the radio quietly playing music from up the front. I didn't recognise the song but it seemed very familiar somehow. It was very beautiful with many voices, both male and female. I was a musician at school and in the choir so had a fairly good ear for what was going on. The music continued on... maybe for a good 20 minutes. It was kind of in the background, along with the hum of the motor and the constant drone of rubber against tar seal. But you could definitely hear it as 'composed music' rather than just 'overtones' arising out of a conglomeration of environmental sounds, like you can sometimes get.
After a while, I broke the silence. No-one else had spoken for of all this time. I'd figured that everyone else was caught in the 'dream' of being tuned in to this beautiful music... along with me. Not wanting to disturb, I said to the Elder, "What's the music that you're playing?" He didn't sound too surprised at my question, but glanced at his wife. He said, "I'm not playing any." I just said, "Oh", and left it at that.
But I knew...
I knew i'd just been listening to Angels : ) for that full 20 minutes. How blessed was I ??? : )
It was definitely the most beautiful music i've ever heard... Much better even than this recording below... But I have every reason to believe the experience of these 7 choristers. I just thought i'd add my own story to corroborate what this video says : )
I wonder if the 'music expert' noticed something like 'bird calls' when he listened to this recording ?? And yes... The top 'ladies' part would be sung with great difficulty by anyone except a very well trained high colleratura :-/ The 'harp' sounded intermittently to me like a piano (certainly in the first couple of minutes) but then becomes more harp-like part way through. And yes... When the 'female' soloist starts singing, you can clearly hear what sounds like Eb Horns or Trombones... rather than a trumpet as the top video's introduction stated... It's much too low a sound to be a trumpet (but on the right track, at least). Pretty amazing. Pretty wonderful : )