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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pioneer Day Concert Held; Other Church News Stories Reported

Hello again, everyone! It took me most of the day today to feel up to doing so, but I am finally ready to share some thoughts about the remarkable Pioneer Day Concert which the Mormon Tabernacle Choir held last night and the night before. The concert last night was carried live via both the Church and BYU TV website. Featuring guest artists and famed Broadway performers Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly, with contextual narration by Oscar Hammerstein III, grandson of the famous Oscar Hammerstein II, who had partnered with Richard Rogers on many Broadway shows that are still famous today, the concert was a total success.

As the guest artists performed the songs for which the context was set by Hammerstein's narration, the chemistry of the three guests was obvious. The Choir and Orchestra provided both a background and a backdrop to these landmark numbers. The Choir opened with famous pioneer anthems "They, the Builders of the Nation" and Mack Wilberg's arrangement of "Come, Come, Ye Saints", the words for which, as some of you may know, were penned by William Clayton while he was trekking with the Saints here to Utah.

At that time, his wife, who was pregnant with their next child, was not able to come with the main company of the Saints, so, with both his wife's situation and the trials of the pioneer company in mind, he penned that hymn that is so revered as a pioneer anthem, for the purpose of providing the Saints reassurance.

Reportedly, when he first presented the song to a body of Saints, Brigham Young, who was present, directed him to make copies of it and distribute it among the Saints, and encouraged the Saints to learn the song and to sing it to one another as they continued their journey.

Following the pioneer anthems, the Broadway theme of the night started, with selections from such musicals as "The King and I", "South Pacific".. "Oklahoma!", "Carousel", and others. Morrison, Kelly, and Hammerstein all mentioned that they have friends who are members of the Church, and that they were therefore excited to join a world-renowned event. Morrison reported that he was somewhat familiar with Pioneer Day, while Kelly said that though she was not, she was looking forward to learning more about it in the days ahead.

The guests took time to honor each other's talents. And Kelly, who had had an unfortunately failed marriage previously, took the opportunity to announce on that stage that she was engaged, and as such, felt a personal connection with "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy", "People Will Say We're in Love", and "Mister Snow". All in all, it was a remarkable event, which culminated in all three guests also being featured on this morning's "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast. For more information, you can see reports from the following sources: Mormon Newsroom, the Church website's other News & Events page, and the Church News website.

In other reported Church news, Gerry Avant continued her series of articles taking a retrospective look back on her storied career.  She recently reminisced about a prophetic promise fuliflled when she accompanied President Gordon B. Hinckley to visit a small branch of the Church whose membership has since been transferred to a larger ward. And, as Pioneer Day approaches, the Church News continues its' series of pioneer-themed articles, with an article highlighting the unwavering faith of 8 pioneer women whose stories are not widely known.

The Church continues to report inspiring news through a variety of resources. For my part, I will keep monitoring these developments and will do my level best to pass word of those along to you as I become aware of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.