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School of Music

Professor Diane Reich Shares Lessons from Her Career in Faith + Works Lecture ‘Schooled by Performance: Tales of an Opera Diva’

Reich shared meaningful moments from her career as a performer through stories and music

School of Music voice professor Diane Reich began her March Faith + Works lecture with a bang — performing “The Year’s at the Spring” by Amy Beach.

“God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world,” she sang, accompanied on the piano by professor Scott Holden. Reich performed the piece as an example of the beautiful messages she has encountered during her career.

“In the College of Fine Arts and Communications, there's an element of performance in all disciplines — whether on the stage, presenting our work or on display,” said Reich.

Her lecture was centered on a scripture in the Book of Mormon: “Ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

Reich shared experiences in her life and career that have helped her understand how to consecrate performance and recognize the Lord’s plan for her. “The gifts and responsibilities that I've been given are not for my glory and gain,” said Reich. “It is for my growth and my service to others, and to build the kingdom in whatever way I can.”

Reich also recalled counsel she received from Elder David A. Bednar — her former stake president — while she was in the process of being hired at BYU: “Teach the students that it is not about them.”

In addition to the importance of this bigger picture, Reich then shared experiences that confirmed to her that God is in the details of her life. She shared what she called the “Parable of the Gown,” an experience when she found herself scrambling to find a dress the day of her performance at the BYU Homecoming Spectacular.

“In my prayers, I said ‘Heavenly Father, if there's a great dress out there, please lead me to it,’” said Reich. “I wasn't even sure if that was a righteous desire, but I figured it didn't hurt to ask.”

After finding the perfect last-minute gown for her performance, she knew that Heavenly Father was aware of her desires and that what was important to her was also important to Him.

President Monson taught us, ‘Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives.’ I know that that is really true.”

Reich also recalled moments of spiritual confirmation in her career. In the middle of Metropolitan Opera auditions at Indiana University, she was overcome with emotion while performing an aria by Antonin Dvořák, 'Rusalka's Song to the Moon' – which she also performed during the lecture.

“The Spirit was witnessing to me that I was where my Heavenly Father wanted me to be and doing what he wanted me to do,” said Reich. “How grateful I was for that witness and especially at that time of my life.” Reich had always held fast to President Ezra Taft Benson’s counsel to “prepare for life’s greatest career, that of homemaker, wife and mother,” and affirmed the Family Proclamation’s guidance on the role of mothers. But she didn’t know how to reconcile the expectation of stay-at-home motherhood with her personal directives to pursue a career.

While she began her teaching career, Reich’s husband Steve stayed at home with their two young children, and later worked part-time. Initially they both felt guilt for this non-traditional arrangement, but soon realized it was exactly what the Lord had intended.

“What we discovered is that our divine roles in the home did not change, even if our secular roles did,” said Reich. “Steve provided food, he took care of our home, he kept us safe. He was our provider. And I was still the nurturer, the comforter, the homework helper, the social navigator. Even if I had a full-time career, I could still fulfill my role as a mother. Having a career and family have not been polarized options.”

Reich emphasized the importance of using personal revelation and obedience as sources of guidance.

“If you will seek Heavenly Father’s guidance and work together, you will know His plan for you,' she said.

Reich concluded her remarks by encouraging students to recognize the Lord’s hand in their lives.

“His plan is the bigger, better picture, always,” said Reich. “When we are doing what the Lord directs us to do, we will be fulfilled. I can testify that Heavenly Father has schooled me through the process of being a performer. He has taught me eternal truths, tempered me and blessed me with the desires of my heart — because He knows me and loves me, as He knows and loves you.”