PORTLAND, Ore. – Members of the Sandbutte Ward are still singing praises to one sister who, to everyone’s utter enjoyment, officially sings louder than the rest of the congregation combined.
34-year-old Shania Teresa III spent two years of high school dedicated to the school’s Chamber Choir program. “I sang a few solos. After one concert somebody threw some fruit to me on stage,” she said, “so yeah, I guess you could say I can sing.”
Shania hopes to one day strike a record deal, but for now she’s looking to start out small.
“I figured I’ve got to start somewhere, so I brought a megaphone to church with me for the hymns,” she said.
Members say they are usually graced every week by Shania’s unusually powerful voice, but this week many were brought to tears during her rendition of High on the Mountain Top (hymn #5).
“It’s something you can count on every week. She will be there. She will do her vocal warm-ups in the foyer. She will sing louder than you,” one member said. “It’s relaxing. You can’t even hear yourself think.”
But not everyone is a fan. Jordan Tell is new to the ward and feels like Shania might be singing to a slightly different tune.
“I’m just confused,” he said. “Is she trying to encourage the rest of us to sing louder? Sometime I try to sing as loud as she does and I literally hear her get even louder just to overpower me.”
“Jordan doesn’t know anything,” SandButte Ward Bishop Ray Stevens said, “We’re lucky to have Shania; and she’s just so humble about it, too.”
Bishop Stevens recalled that by the last verse of the closing hymn, Rejoice! A Glorious Sound Is Heard (257), Shania had made her way to the organist’s side, where she belted out the last few words with a Christina Aguilarian twist.
After the hymn ended, allegedly feeling “moved upon” to act, Bishop Stevens left a bouquet at her feet and offered her his seat on the stand.