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How would you like an opportunity to go on a luxury Eastern Carribean cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas? Well, now is your opportunity.

On 12-19 January 2020, you can set sail with America’s Violinist, Jenny Oaks Baker, and world-renowned composer and performer, Kurt Bestor. The cost of the cruise includes two private and exclusive concerts with Kurt Bestor. Jenny Oaks Baker will also be performing along with special guests, her four children – Sarah (cello), Hannah (piano), Laura (violin), and Matthew (guitar) – who are known musically as the “Family Four.” 

In addition to the wonderful concerts, there are plenty of activities for the passengers, including a carousel, zip line, flow-rider surf simulator, water slides, an escape room, ice rink, and of course lots of great food. And that’s not all!

The cruise is hosted by Larry Gelwix, the “Getaway Guru®” from Columbus Travel®. Columbus Travel who put together the cruise package has partnered with Swing 4 Cancer, which is a Utah based 501c3 charitable organization founded in Aril 2018 by Bryan and Susan Pendleton. The purpose of the partnership is to raise money for those who suffer from the horrible disease of cancer that affects so many of us and our loved ones. 

Three hundred dollars per cabin will be donated to cancer research. So, as you are relaxing and having a great time cruising the Eastern Carribean and enjoying places like CocoCay Bahamas, San Juan, and St. Maarten, you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping a great cause. 

Kurt Bestor is a Utah based composer and performer. He is perhaps best known for his innovative interpretation of seasonal carols found in his popular five-CD boxed set The Complete Kurt Bestor Christmas and his haunting musical prayer for peace, Prayer of the Children.” He launched his career writing music for television and movies. His credits include more than 40 film scores and more than 40 themes for national TV programs and commercials.

Jenny Oaks Baker, America’s Violinist, is a Grammy Nominated, Billboard No. 1 recording artist, and performer. She began playing the violin at age four and made her solo orchestral debut in 1983 when she was only eight years old. She received her Master of Music Degree from the renowned Juilliard School in New York City and her bachelor’s degree in violin performance from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Whether her music is experienced Live or through one of her many recordings or music videos, it is impossible to escape the magic of her artistry. She is often joined on stage by her four children – the “Family Four.”

"Still Still Still" Fluglehorn Solo - Demo Preview - YouTube

The Greatest Showman Medley by Jenny Oaks Baker and Family Four - YouTube

The post Join Kurt Bestor, Jenny Oaks Baker, and Family Four on an Eastern Carribean Cruise to Help Raise Money to Fight Cancer appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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Behind every song, there is often an amazing untold story. Sometimes the “amazing” part is about the lyrics, the setting, the circumstances, or the music, and sometimes it’s about all four.

Sometimes more than just a small band or orchestra is needed to tell the story of a song. Sometimes it requires an entire symphony and chorus to accurately portray the characters in a collection of songs, like a broadway musical. Such is the case with James Dunne’s epic project, Words of the Prophets.

James, an astute student of the scriptures, devoted 25 years to creating and completing a masterpiece unlike any other, that is sure to resonate with listening audiences for many years to come. He not only created a magnificent collection of 24 compositions, using lyrics directly from the Book of Mormon but indeed, he has created a musical legacy. 

Speaking about the project, James said, “Although this project was my #1 dream in progress for 25 years… underlying it all from the beginning was the desire to share it… which is the entire message of Enos, Alma, and so many others I was spending time with, so to speak.” James Dunne is now on a spiritual quest to share his soundtrack to the Book of Mormon, “dedicated to those who love the spirit of the living scriptures and might enjoy them enlivened further with music.” 

The first question that begs an answer is, “How did the colossal project Words of the Prophets come about?” The story begins about a quarter-century ago. James recalls:

In 1994, I became intrigued that “Nephi’s Psalm,” (2 Nephi 4:15-31), did not have any music I could locate. So, I determined to do it and ultimately concluded that the magic is in ​his words​, not me writing new words about it. That led me to other personal testimonies and passionate outpourings in the Book of Mormon… and the aptly named project, ​“Words of the Prophets,” ​was born.

Creating Lyrics from Scripture

Distilling scripture passages into lyrics is a major undertaking, especially to ensure that doctrine is not misstated. To help with this part of the process, James initially asked two seminary principals to proof his lyrics for proper context… even when large amounts of scripture had been deleted. 

Identifying the Person(s) Speaking

James Dunne and his “Nephi,” Jason Bromely (Vocal Point)

To help him visualize the settings for the songs, as well as the interactions within the songs, James sometimes imagined he was writing a musical score for an unwritten play or movie. The Book of Mormon has crisp personal passages that well convey the emotions of the voice of the writer. However, the text was edited by the prophet Mormon to less than 10 percent of the original volume, and there are many places Mormon interjects perspective or summaries. Some passages flip from first-person to third-person, and for James, it became very important to identify who is talking at all times. 

In Helaman 5, for example, Helaman counsels his sons, and one of the sons then comments, “and we did remember his words.” Mormon later summarized the sons’ follow-up actions. In the song, “Remember, Remember” each of these moments are sung by three separate vocalists, representing Helaman, his son, and Mormon… as if they each stepped forward on a stage.

Setting the Tone

James considered the context of Alma’s outcry, “O that I were an angel,” that begins Alma 29, to set the tone for his original song, “O That I Were an Angel.” Alma was told by the Lord to preach repentance to the people of Zarahemla, and he was not well received there, to say the least. Alma was relieved when that mission was completed, but the Lord then instructed him to go to yet another city to preach repentance again. During his journey, Alma tried to buoy himself for the forthcoming task. James imagined the events as follows: 

This likely took place on a dirt path or road between the two cities, with virgin forest rising high to a deep blue sky. I always imagined our discouraged Alma taking a break, sitting down against a tree.  As he pondered the contentious experience he had just endured and was now heading into another one soon, he tipped back his head against the tree, gazed up to the cumulus clouds floating by, and out came, “ O that I were an angel and could have the wish of my heart,” (then, paraphrasing his feeling) “and had a magic wand that could make this all go away and everyone be at peace.”  

An example of the project’s audio engineering complexity: “Nourish the Word” with 33 vocal tracks and 21 instrument tracks.

That “feeling,” which we can relate to today, is what James tried to convey with the tone of this song.

“The Voice,” opens with the sons of Helaman tied to the stake in a ring of fire (Helaman 5:23-52).  Adrenaline and heartbeats are high, which the music represents.

Another setting insightful to James was related to “Mormon’s Lament,” (Mormon 6:17-22).  This outpouring has traditionally been portrayed visually as “the morning after” the great battle.  James concluded that we actually have no idea exactly when Mormon wrote this. It could have been the morning after, a month after, or for a memorial of some kind much later.  James chose to portray the latter, where there might be others gathered and joining in. In that context, Mormon’s lament is now presented as a duet, and begins with simple instruments, played simply, as if around a campfire ceremony.

New Perspective from Dissecting the Scriptures

The general process James used for refining the scriptures into lyrics can be likened to the crafting of a sculptor who works with a substance to see what might be shaped. James sorted and downloaded the passages he wanted to analyze, then highlighted what to keep, and deleted the rest. 

For example, Amulek’s words are thoroughly intertwined with Alma’s and disappear entirely for 14 chapters at one point. So, James filtered the scriptures down to Amulek’s words only and then began searching for a theme. To his surprise, he found what he considered to be a psalm, beginning with a powerful psalm of praise and concluding as a psalm of wisdom, including the only place in scripture that admonishes us that we can pray for virtually anything.  James was pleased to name this discovery, “Amulek’s Psalm.”

Women in the Book of Mormon

In pondering his lyric adaptations, a delightful moment occurred when James woke with the lyrics from 3rd Nephi in his head… “We heard him pray” (3 Nephi 15:5-24).  It suddenly occurred to him that Mormon had been summarizing the events in 3rd Nephi, but this line was written in first-person present tense… and Mormon clearly was not there (being born about four centuries later).  Apparently, Mormon had begun quoting the followers of Jesus who were present. James quickly surmised “if it’s simply a disciple speaking, then there’s a 50 percent chance it’s a woman.” He was quite excited to then justify a female soprano in a lead role.  

He later extended this same artistic license with another song from 3rd Nephi called “He Wept” (3 Nephi 17). This takes places as Jesus is blessing the little children. It is highly likely that the mothers of the children were present, and who better to convey the feelings of such a moment than a mother.

Topics Versus Testimonies

When James began using computer processing for his research in the mid-1990s, he found four different prophets used the phrase, “for a wise purpose,” (Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Mormon). Although that phrase was familiar to James, he realized he wasn’t clear to what it was referring, exactly. In bringing together all the scriptures related to this phrase, it then became clear that this phrase always referred to the purpose and value of keeping records and journals. Thus, he decided to break from only capturing personal testimonies, and created the “topic” song, “For a Wise Purpose.” He also did this for the topic of “Joy,” as the song is named in Volume 1. This leads off with one of James’ personal themes, “… men are, that they might have joy,” (2 Nephi 2:25). James says, “Might is the keyword. You have to work at it.

King Benjamin’s Address

Alden Papritz recording “Know the Name” as the voice of Benjamin

In analyzing Mosiah 2-5, commonly referred to as “King Benjamin’s Address,” James considered these the words of Benjamin, the prophet, not the king. (James now refers to “Benjamin” just as any other prophet is called – only by a first name.) While there is much that can be extracted from those three chapters of Mosiah, James found a thread he highly valued within the Hebrew chiasmus structure of this well-crafted formal address, which conveys multiple levels of meaning to the various hearers of his words.  “Know the name by which you are called,” can refer to simply knowing your shepherd’s voice (by studying the scriptures), and to numerous metaphors and eternal principles. These lyrics became one of James’ favorite “finds,” for the song, “Know the Name,” in Volume 2.

The Result

For James, creating a soundtrack of songs for the Book of Mormon was a joyful journey of discovery in the scriptures. There are many ways to gain additional insights into the never-ending nuances of the scriptures.  James’ approach just happened to leave a harmonious result, forever.

O That I Were an Angel - YouTube

Mormon's Lament - YouTube

The post Beyond the Music – James Dunne’s Masterpiece “Words of the Prophets” appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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On Monday, 9 September 2019, beloved President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as “the Mormon Church”), President Russell M. Nelson, will celebrate his 95th birthday. Latter-day Saint musicians like Donny Osmond, Nathan Pacheco, Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, GENTRI, and The Bonner Family will perform along with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in honoring President Nelson’s life of service. 

According to Newsroom, the influence of the Savior in the life of President Nelson and his lifelong service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be celebrated. The program will begin at 8:00 pm MDT in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, 6 September 2019. 

Those who wish to view the live broadcast will be able to do so by going to the official Church website at ChurchofJesusChrist.org and the Church’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Additional channels and broadcast and rebroadcast times are pending. The program will be rebroadcast in seven languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Mandarin, and ASL. Tickets for the event will be available beginning Tuesday, 30 July 2019, at 9 am MDT and will be limited to two tickets per individual.

The Church News reports that former sportscaster and professional quarterback, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, a General Authority Seventy, and former television news anchor, Ruth Todd, will emcee the event. Special videos will be shown that evening, focusing on how President Russell M. Nelson’s career, family, and ministry have shaped him into who he is as a special witness of Jesus Christ. 

President Nelson was born 9 September 1924, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The former heart surgeon was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in April 1984. He also served as the Sunday School general president. President Nelson became the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January 2018. 

Medley of Primary Songs by The Bonner Family - YouTube

The post Several LDS Music Artists to Join Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in Honoring President Nelson on 95th Birthday appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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On Monday, 24 June 2019, YouTube star and well-known Latter-day Saint music artist, Alex Boyé, held a concert at the Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale, Utah. The concert was part of a national campaign for mental health awareness. According to a press release by JJ Abernathy, the objective of the concert was to deliver a message of hope and understanding to young people and teens struggling with mental illness, and who may be considering suicide. Event host David J. West commented that Alex’s message of hope is more than inspiring. All profits from ticket sales were donated to the Bend Not Break Foundation.

In the press release, Alex spoke about the purpose of his music, stating, “This is more than entertainment — my music is ‘innertainment.’ It’s music that can change lives from the inside. Even if I can save just one life, then we have done something great.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than 45,000 lives lost in 2016 and nearly 1.4 million suicide attempts in 2017. Alex’s home state of Utah has the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, with suicide being reported as the leading cause of death in youths ages 10-24.

In May 2019, Alex released two new original songs from his album Coming to Amerika. The songs, “Still Breathing” and “Bend Not Break” are intended to be songs of hope and encouragement created to save lives. Alex explained, “‘Bend Not Break’ is a song that encourages people considering suicide to look beyond their current circumstances and make a different choice, to bend and not break, and ‘Still Breathing’ shares the thoughts of someone who has overcome a difficult time in their lives and survived.”

St. George Utah.com reports that Alex Boyé is a multicultural, multigenerational, global, independent artist with over 1 billion views on his YouTube channel. His Africanized pop covers have been featured on programs like Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, Jimmy Kimmel, and more. His music is available on such music platforms as iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.

Alex Boyé - Still Breathing - Harp of Thrones [Official Video] #GOT #Tribute - YouTube

Alex Boyé - Bend Not Break [Official Video] - YouTube

The post Alex Boyé Delivers Message of Hope and Understanding During Concert in Springdale, Utah appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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Jordan James Pinkston (his stage name is Jordan James) is an 18-year-old Acoustic, Soul-Pop singer-songwriter, and pianist from Draper, Utah, who counts John Legend and Sam Smith as influencers of his music. 

To say that Jordan James has quite a few irons in the fire is an understatement. As he prepares to go on his mission, he keeps busy with writing songs, performing, and giving piano lessons. His debut nine-track full-length album titled My Desire, which is geared towards people who battle with anxiety and depression, was released on Friday, 21 June 2019. The album is available for sale on CDBaby and iTunes and for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. 

Among other things, friendships are very important and special to Jordan. Regardless of how busy his schedule is, he always finds time for his friends. He told the Draper Journal, “I have sessions two times a week. When I’m not doing that, I’m writing and hanging out with friends.” 

Jordan has a strong desire to help people through his music. His mother, Christine Pinkston, commented, “People who are struggling want to hear that you get how they feel.” Jordan’s single called “Fighter,” which was released in March 2018, for example, was chosen as the theme song for Ronald McDonald House Charities in Salt Lake City, Utah. He donated 50 percent of his profits from the song to the charity. 

One of the things that makes Jordan’s new album, My Desire, such a personal project for him, is that he has family and friends who deal with anxiety and depression issues. He commented, “Everyone goes through it, especially in your high school years. It’s not expressed very much and is sort of hidden. So I wanted to write about it. The suicide rate is worse in Utah. It’s a really important topic that isn’t spoken about enough.” Jordan also explained that the titular song on the new album, “My Desire,” is about “cultivating the fire inside and keeping it alive. It’s about the desire to live.” The Draper Journal reports that Jordan listened to songs by Jeremy Zucker while recording “My Desire,” as Zucker’s music also deals with anxiety and depression.

Other songs on the new album like “So Difficult,” which was released a couple of weeks ago, and “So Far Gone” deal with relationships. Jordan says the song, “So Difficult,” is about how being in a relationship with someone can be confusing, and the song, “So Far Gone,” deals with the issue of moving on from a relationship. With original songs by Jordan James and featuring music artists like Jay Warren, Frank Zoo, Aaliyah Rose, Yahosh Bonner, and Daysha Lassiter, it is definitely an album that a person will want to add to their playlist and listen to many times over.

Jordan’s mother commented, “Jordan does get gigs here and there but spends most of his time writing songs.” He has been working with his mentor, songwriter and music producer Nik Day, to hone his songwriting skills. He recently performed at the Big Summer Bash – a free live music festival held at the Provo Towne Center – on Friday, 7 June 2019. 

Jordan James Pinkston is a 2019 graduate of Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah. He is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as, “the Mormon Church”). He recently received his mission call and will be serving his mission for the Church in the Arizona Phoenix Mission. He leaves for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Pioneer Day, 24 July 2019. He hopes to use music a part of his mission, and says, “Whatever the Lord wants me to do with my music I’ll do it.” When he returns from his mission, Jordan will attend Utah Valley University on a music scholarship. 

The post Jordan James Pinkston’s Desire to Help Others Through His Music appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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Photo: Courtesy of Barabra Bell

Adam Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as “the Mormon Church”), is a talented 18-year-old beatboxer from San Clemente, California. Coming from a family of classically trained musicians, much of Adam’s childhood involved recitals and concerts. While performing with California’s All-American Boys Choir, he was introduced to Adam Heimbigner and Matt Newman, two Brigham Young University (BYU) students/beatboxing experts.

For the novice who may not know what beatboxing is, perhaps a definition is in order. Dictionary.com defines beatboxing (also beat boxing or b-boxing) as “a musical style or technique, especially in hip-hop, in which the sounds and rhythms of percussion instruments or a drum machine are simulated by using the mouth and voice.”

After meeting Heimbigner and Newman, Adam was hooked. He started perfecting his own beatboxing skills by sitting in on sessions with Heimbigner and Newman and by studying YouTube videos of elite beatbox performers.

His immense talents have also helped him gain new friendships. In an email to the Church News, he wrote, “I especially enjoy the community beatboxing creates in the way of finding friends and making music together. I participated in a great BYU summer camp called Remix Vocal Academy, which teaches contemporary a capella, and while I learned a lot of musical skills there, I also made a supportive group of amazing friends.” Adam also explained:

Beatboxing’s been super helpful to me personally because I have high-functioning autism and I’m in constant need of trying to know what to say and finding a way to fit in. Since beatboxing is the ultimate portable sound kit, I can practice my routines wherever I need — and whenever I’m put on the spot to exhibit my talents, I’m never without my instrument.

In 2018, during BYU Vocal Point’s tour of Southern California, Matt Newman, a member of the a cappella group and Adam’s mentor, called Adam up to the stage to perform a duet. Unbeknown to Adam, a CW network producer was in the audience and was awe-struck by Adam’s talents. A short time later, as The Big Stage talent show was being developed, Adam received an invitation to join the lineup.

On Friday evening, 14 June 2019, with his only prop being a wireless microphone, Adam Bell appeared on The Big Stage – a non-competitive talent show on the CW television network. He admits that the experience “completely caught me off-guard.”

Adam Bell is a priest in the Marblehead Ward, San Clemente California Stake, and plans to attend BYU for a year before serving a mission for the Church. He sees the Lord’s hand in his musical development. He commented, “I see beatboxing not as some parlor trick, but as a unique tool to bless and uplift those around me; to help take them away from whatever negative emotions or experiences they may be experiencing to be entertained for a couple of minutes.” He further remarked, “While serving a full-time mission, I’d anticipate doing more in the way of singing sacred music, and I would also hope to showcase the skills I’ve gained because of the Lord’s hand and then be able to testify that those skills come from Him.”

  • Lead photo credit: Barbara Bell

Beatbox with Matt Newman & Adam Bell - YouTube

The post 18-Year-Old Latter-day Saint Beatboxer, Adam Bell, Appears on “The Big Stage” appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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“Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.” (Mosiah 15:11, Book of Mormon)

James Lee Dunne, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a man of many talents. Not only is he a family man, but he is also a composer, multi-instrument musician, marathoner, mountain climber, lover of ancient text, backpacker, storyteller, Olympic torch bearer, audio engineer, music producer, writer, scouter, and photographer, among other things. He is also the founder of Treble Clef Music, which has uplifting songs ranging from humor to deeply spiritual, bringing positive music to positive-thinking people. In short, James describes himself as an “explorer of all good things for the mind, spirit, and soul.”

James is also an avid student of the scriptures and is on a spiritual quest to bring to life the stories of persons from the Book of Mormon. After 25 years in the making, he has completed a colossal music project, which “distills lyrics from the Book of Mormon and sets them to music.” The project is called Words of the Prophets. He recounts how the project, which became a labor of love, came about:

In 1994, I became intrigued that “Nephi’s Psalm,” (2 Nephi 4:15-31), did not have any music I could locate. So, I determined to do it, and ultimately concluded that the magic is in ​his words​, not me writing new words about it. That led me to other personal testimonies and passionate outpourings in the Book of Mormon… and the aptly named project, ​“Words of the Prophets,” ​was born.

James says when he began the project a quarter century ago, his goal was to get it out to the world, but not until, as he says, “the finished quality was worthy of the source material.” He completed his mission and thanks to advances in connectivity in the last 25 years, the two CDs (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2), released September 2018 and May 2019, respectively, are now available worldwide.

James now has a new mission to share his soundtrack to the Book of Mormon, “dedicated to those who love the spirit of the living scriptures and might enjoy them enlivened further with music” as noted on each CD. Speaking about the project, he said, “As I have a strong testimony of the different voices of the Book of Mormon, there are 17 different vocalists involved. Tim Gates (The Nashville Tribute Band) is my Lehi, Jason Bromley (Vocal Point) is my Nephi, and all the other vocalists are fine local LDS singers I’ve mostly known for many years.”

The depth and intricacies of the project over the past 25 years have resulted in some interesting insights and perspectives inspired by Hugh Nibley to John Welch to F.A.R.M.S to the Maxwell Institute. The Words of the Prophets project has garnered positive reviews ranging from a General Authority of the Church to a vocalist in Nashville, Tennessee, who is a not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and did not know the source of the lyrics.

This vocalist’s feedback was the most inspirational to James in that context. She wrote:

I will try to describe what I heard and felt: the immediate effect on me was of being soothed and uplifted, being embalmed and surrounded with a sense of acceptance, encouragement, and strength. I listened with my eyes shut and I felt so “hugged” by your music and the lyrics. You are teaching me, reminding me of what is the truth of the world and is so reassuring to my inner spirit. It was exquisite to shut off the world and listen to such melodious singing and the delightful harmony. What a lovely treat to my ear, my heart, and my spirit!

James said he finally felt fully comfortable releasing the project publicly when he received this review from a member of another church, who was clearly touched by the Book of Mormon messages he had apparently conveyed appropriately with music.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, in the New Testament of the Bible, we are taught, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Being true to what is taught, James Dunne spent 25 years reading, studying, researching, and pondering the scriptures to create a masterpiece, a legacy that will be cherished by all who listen for many years to come.

Some of the songs on the two CDs include:

  • “I Have Dreamed a Dream” (Lehi)
  • “Nephi’s Psalm” & “Nephi’s Farewell”
  • “How is it Done?” (Enos)
  • “Know the Name” (Benjamin)
  • “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains” (Isaiah via Abinadi)
  • “Can You Feel So Now?” “O That I Were an Angel”  “Nourish the Word” (Alma)
  • “Amulek’s Psalm (Cry Unto Him)”
  • Four 3rd Nephi moments
  • “Mormon’s Lament”
  • “Moroni’s Farewell”

You can listen to four-minute samples of each volume by going to Treble Clef Music and clicking on “Go To Music Overview.”

As music is an inherent part of every society, it is no wonder that the Apostle Paul would teach in his epistle to the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16, KJV). James Dunne has captured the full meaning of this scripture with his timeless project, Words of The Prophets.

Nephi's Psalm - YouTube

The post James Dunne – Bringing the Book of Mormon to Life Through Music appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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Can you imagine what your life would be like if you were deaf? What would it be like to try and have a conversation with someone and not be able to hear what they are saying, or to watch a television program or movie and not be able to hear anything that is going on? How about attending a concert in Madison Square Garden in New York, with thousands of screaming fans all around you, and you can not hear the screaming, or even your father and uncles performing some of the hits that made them mega-stars of the 1970s?

Life without sound could become a very lonely world. That is the world that Justin Osmond, son of Merrill Osmond, the lead singer and bassist of the original Osmond Brothers, grew up in and continues to contend with. Justin was born on 1 March 1977 and was diagnosed with 90% hearing loss when he was two-years-old. Being at the concert in Madison Square Garden on 23 November 1973, in the middle of 20,000 people – an event which the New York Times described as “a rare occasion when audience noise beats down group amplification” – he never felt more alone. Speaking about that experience, he said:

One of the biggest mountains in my life was being born into the musical Osmond family and not being able to hear and understand their music. I remember one time watching my family perform to a sold-out crowd at the New York Madison Square Garden with screaming fans and flashing lights and songs blasting over the sound system. I could feel the vibration of the drums, but I could not understand the words of the lead singer of the Osmonds—my own dad.

He continued, “It was one of the strangest things because, in the middle of the crowd, I felt alone. I felt isolated, disconnected, frustrated. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world.”

Justin and his dad have created a new inspirational podcast series called Sound Advice. On the latest episode of the series, Justin talks about what it was like being a part of Utah’s most famous musical family – the Osmonds – while being born 90% deaf. He also shares the challenges of being deaf in a legendary musical family and how he learned to embrace his limitations and turn them into his greatest strengths, in a new awe-inspiring TED Talk.

Among other challenges, Justin also shares how he was bullied in junior high and high school because of his hearing loss and how he got through it. He also explains that he received 12 years of intense speech and listening therapy. And, in spite of being told that he could never learn to play an instrument, he has learned to play the violin, viola, piano, and drums. Towards the end of his TED Talk, he gives a stunning performance on the violin.

Justin wants people to know, “We do not overcome hopelessness by removing the obstacle in our lives. We conquer adversity by not letting it own us, control us, or overcome us. . . . I may a have a hearing loss, but my hearing loss does not have me. . . . [Being deaf] made me who I am today. . . .We can control the quality of our lives just by how we think and act toward those challenges. My [hearing] loss has become my greatest advantage. I’ve learned to embrace my hearing disability and then allow it to empower me instead of holding me back.”

Justin Osmond is the founder of the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund which raises awareness of deaf issues and promotes hearing-health educational services.

Embracing our Limitations | Justin Osmond | TEDxRexburg - YouTube

The post Justin Osmond Talks about Growing Up Deaf in a World-Famous Musical Family appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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Gérald Caussé is the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as “the Mormon Church”). He is an accomplished pianist and native of Bordeaux, France. Bishop Caussé received a master’s degree in business from ESSEC Business School in France in 1987. ESSEC Business School is one of the most selective French “Grandes écoles” and referred in France as one of the “trois Parisiennes.” His career has been in the food industry, where he worked with several supermarket chains and food distribution companies in France.

Nicolas Giusti is an acclaimed Italian composer and opera conductor from Rome. He has had great success with many operatic productions, such as Die Zauberflote by Mozart, Colyseum Opera House of Oporto (Portugal), Gianni Schicchi (Orbetello Festival with protagonist Giuseppe Taddei); Tosca (with Silvano Carroli, transmitted on RAI radio3); and La Boheme by Puccini at the State Opera House of Izmir (Turkey), the first production of the century in that country. He has recently directed and performed in highly competitive opera tournaments.

Nicolas Giusti and Gérald Caussé met more than a decade ago at a stake conference in Rome while Bishop Caussé was serving as a member of the area presidency. The two men became fast friends, sharing their love of playing the piano, as well as their love of the gospel. Together, they created an awe-inspiring masterpiece of piano duets and released an album called Joyful. The album recently hit no. 1 on the Billboard Classical Charts.

When Giusti sent Bishop Caussé a set of hymns he had arranged and asked Bishop Caussé to record an album with him, Bishop Caussé could not refuse. They spent months practicing together on BYU’s campus and at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square preparing for the album.

With the purpose in mind of sharing the joy of the gospel, Giusti composed five piano duet arrangements of classic hymns. Deseret Book reports that he turns the “traditionally somber meditation “Where Can I Turn for Peace?” into a surprisingly joyful celebration, and his treatment of classic hymns like “I Need Thee Every Hour” and “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” are unforgettable beautiful exchanges between two incredibly talented pianists.” Bishop Caussé commented, “It’s been a wonderful experience for me. [Nicolas] helped me to appreciate hymns even more.” And Giusti said, “He is impressive because he can do everything.” The album, which is a musical testimony, is a pure delight and joy to listen to and celebrates the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Deseret Book further proclaims, “The level of talent on this album is truly magnificent, but what stands out most is the overwhelming feeling of joy that pours out from every note.”

The tracks on the album include:

  • Where Can I Turn for Peace?
  • I Need Thee Every Hour
  • You Can Make the Pathway Bright
  • God Be with You Till We Meet Again
  • Because I Have Been Given Much
  • Abide with Me, ‘Tis Eventide

Joyful - About the Album with Gérald Caussé and Nicolas Giusti - YouTube

"Where Can I Turn For Peace" by Gérald Caussé and Nicolas Giusti - YouTube

The post Bishop Gérald Caussé and Nicolas Giusti’s Album “Joyful” Hits No. 1 on Billboard Classical Charts appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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St. David’s Hall in Cardiff Wales. Photo Credit: © Kiran Ridley

The world-renowned Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square has announced plans for their international tour, dubbed the Heritage Tour, in 2020. The tour is scheduled from Thursday, 25 June 2020 through Thursday, 16 July 2020. During the 22-day tour, the Choir will be performing in six cities in four Nordic Countries – Stockholm. Helsinki, Copenhagen, Oslo, Cardiff, and Edinburgh – and the United Kingdom in the following venues:

June 27: Konserthuset Stockholm in Stockholm, Sweden
June 30: Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland
July 2: DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Denmark
July 7: (Venue to be announced) in Oslo, Norway
July 10: St. David’s Hall (invitation only) in Cardiff, Wales
July 11: International Convention Centre Wales in Cardiff, Wales
July 14: Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland

The performance on 10 July 2020, at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, Wales, will be a benefit concert with attendance by invitation only. Ticket information for the other venues will be announced at a later date.

Ron Jarrett, president of the Choir, stated that the name of the tour is a tribute to the early converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as “the Mormon Church”) with musical talents from Wales and other areas that the Choir will visit on the upcoming tour. He said, “We stand on the shoulders of these musical pioneers who created a legacy that has influenced the entire world for good. What an honor it will be to share the joy and peace the music of the Choir brings in some of the very places where it all began.”

Usher Hall in Edinburgh Scotland. Photo Credit: © Real Edinburgh

The first time that the Tabernacle Choir traveled to Europe was on a seven-week concert tour in 1955. Since then, the Choir has traveled to Europe five times on tour: to western and central Europe in 1973, northern Europe in 1982, Eastern Europe in 1991, southern Europe in 1998, and central Europe in 2016. The Heritage Tour will be the first time that they have visited Wales or Scotland since the first European tour in 1955. The Choir first visited the four Nordic cities on their tour schedule 37 years ago, in 1982.

Since its first tour outside Utah in 1893, the Choir has toured extensively at home in the United States, as well as, abroad. In addition to its previous European tours, the Choir has performed worldwide, from Israel and Russia to Japan and Australia. The Choir has also performed at the inaugurations of seven U.S. presidents. Since 2005, a complement of approximately 65 members of the Orchestra has also traveled on tour with the Choir.

The Choir, which is comprised of 360 voices, is frequently accompanied at home by the Orchestra, whose member roster totals over 200. The Choir and Orchestra can also be heard weekly as part of the world’s longest continuing network broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word. The 30-minute program airs on over 2,000 radio, TV, cable and satellite stations worldwide.

The Choir and Orchestra are also active recording artists with their own recording label. Since being founded in 2003, the Choir and Orchestra have released over 90 CDs, DVDs, books and other products. The Choir’s current CD release, Let Us All Press On: Hymns of Praise and Inspiration was number one on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Albums chart for 3 weeks at its release. This marked the 13th time an album from the Choir has received such an honor.

Where Can I Turn for Peace? (arr. Mack Wilberg) - The Tabernacle Choir - YouTube

The post The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square Announces 2020 Heritage Tour appeared first on Latter-day Saint Musicians.

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