SALT LAKE CITY — The look on Justin Lewis' face said it all. Conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir — even once — was pure joy.
"That was a rush," Lewis said. "It was an amazing experience. It was really neat to be in that position with all that surround sound."
Last June, the choir invited fans across the country to enter the "Conduct the Choir" video Facebook contest. After many entries and 10,000, Justin Lewis, an Air Force flight commander, won the competition.
"This is 360 people," he said. "I think that's a crazy number of people to have in a choir, but they do such a great job and they're all so in unison all the time. It's just really impressive how they keep it together and sing so beautifully."
Following this morning's "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast, Lewis took the stand. He has experience conducting an Air Force band but this was something all its own. Size and space really surprised him.
"When you stand up there, you realize the back row of the choir is so far away," Lewis said. "And when you're listening to your cd of them, they all sound like they're right there. So, that was a little bit of a challenge."
Justin Lewis entered basic training and could not perform with the choir last year. He returns to Pennsylvania Tuesday and his real job as associate conductor of the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band.
Directing the choir was never on anybody's list, but it is now.
"I don't think anyone even knows to put this on a bucket list. They didn't even know it was a possibility. But now that it is, I'll plop it in that bucket."