President Thomas S. Monson
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Friday night our entire family
along with my mother and brother
got to sing
(along with 22,000 other people)
to our beloved prophet
Thomas S. Monson.
All performance photos: Kristen Murphy, Deseret News
The party was held at the Conference Center.
A Celebration of Life
in honor of his 85th Birthday.
President Monson is a HUGE fan
of Broadway musicals.
So the event centered not only around
a portrait of his life of service,
but was a celebration of songs that
mean a great deal to him;
many of them from the musical theatre.
Rebecca Luker, a favorite Broadway singer of President Monson.
What a thrill to get to hear the wonderful Rebecca Luker.
One of my girls' favorite CD's while growing up was
The Secret Garden.
Ms. Luker played the original Lily in the Broadway cast.
She has also starred in Mary Poppins, The Music Man,
The Sound of Music, Showboat,
and as Christine in Phantom of the Opera.
Rebecca Luker with The Orchestra at Temple Square
Ms. Luker sounded glorious.
She opened with "Tomorrow"
which apparently President Monson has seen in ELEVEN
She also favored us with "All I Ask of You"
from Phantom of the Opera,
as well as "Memory"
The evening was hosted by
former San Francisco 49er quarterback
and Jane Clayson Johnson
former network anchor of
CBS's The Early Show.
Dallyn Vail Bayles
A highlight of the evening for our family
was the performance of
professional actor, singer and recording artist
Dallyn Vail Bayles.
We know him and admire him not only as
an excellent performer but as a
principled and good person.
Dallyn proudly hails from Utah
and has played leading roles
in Broadway touring productions of
Phantom of the Opera
(He is also known for his portrayal of Hyrum Smith
in the films, Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration
and Emma Smith, My Story.)
Friday night he sang one of the most
exquisite and flawless renditions of
"Bring Him Home"
I have EVER heard.
(Standing ovation led by President Monson.)
Of course the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
was in top form as always,
under the direction of the incredible
Metropolitan Opera singer, Stanford Olsen
Always a treat to hear distinguished American tenor
He has appeared in all the famed opera houses of the world
with the top orchestras
and his recordings have won critical praise
as well as Grammy nominations.
Stanford Olsen kicked off the evening's theme
by singing the glorious song
from Sigmund Romberg's
The Student Prince.
(I performed in this operetta in high school
and it brought back fond memories.)
He concluded the evening with a gorgeous and emotional
rendition of Stephen Adam's
"The Holy City,"
backed by the choir.
I loved seeing him tear up as he sang
Hosanna to your King."
President Monson waving at the performers.
Midway through the performance
Mack Wilberg led the orchestra, choir and the entire
conference center in singing
Such a fitting tribute for a man beloved by millions
around the world.
It was clear he was delighted by
the entire event.
It was so lovely to see his beloved wife, Francis,
who has been in poor health for several years,
there by his side.
He showed his trademark sense of humor
at the conclusion of the program.
So blessed to have been in attendance.