Form and Performance

From audition to execution, BYU musical performing groups abound in talent. 

Hyrum J. Weibell

Graduate student Hyrum J. Weibell (BM ’06) belts a high A-flat while performing the prologue of the opera I Pagliacci in the Evening of Concertos, an annual event featuring the Philharmonic Orchestra and several soloists.

One muted moment plays out on campus over and over again. It occurs just after 225 pairs of stunning white oxfords take the football field, commanded in step by the heartbeat of a snare drum. They line up, turn to stone, and . . . wait.

Marching Band

At the last home football game of 2006, every tier of instruments in the Cougar Marching Band – from the piccolos on up – conspires for the win.

It happens again in a stilled Marriott Center, as one student harpist, under a brilliant spotlight, palms her strings to a hush before her devotional prelude. The pause draws thousands of eyes to her fingertips.

And it occurs when 190 chests swell in unison as the BYU Men’s Chorus—the largest male collegiate chorale in the country—takes in one last, deep breath.


Benjamin D. Taylor (’09) and Samuel M. Pettit (’10), trumpets blaring, perform with Synthesis, BYU’s top jazz ensemble.

An overture all their own, such moments of anticipation precede some 240 performances put on by the School of Music each year. BYU’s musical coffers brim with nearly 2,500 talented student musicians who fill the ranks of more than 40 performing groups, which include orchestras, ensembles, and choirs for the aspiring as well as those who are simply rounding off their college curriculum. Fewer than half of these musicians are music majors. Many of the performing groups have a mission to represent BYU across the world. In the last 10 years, these groups have performed in 41 different countries. They are some of the most traveled collegiate performers in the nation.

But most BYU performing groups are not world travelers, obliged to the bounds of the campus stage. The campus community, likewise, is the primary beneficiary of BYU’s treasury of talent. The array offers hundreds of performances to choose from each academic year.

Capturing the immense volume of music that resounds from campus stages is a feat. But in the last year, BYU Magazine tuned in to the School of Music’s performing groups so readers could see and hear a sampling for themselves. For the eyes are candid moments of a year in music at BYU. For the ears, a repository of free, downloadable music awaits.


Photography by Bradley H. Slade (BFA ’94)

Experience game day from the band seats.

BYU Marching BandOn Nov. 18, 2006, Cougar football clinched its first Mountain West Conference title in five years, beating New Mexico 42-17. It was the band’s last home-field performance under director Don Peterson, and the band and the fans honored the longtime director at halftime. BYU Magazine photographer Brad Slade was there to record the entire day, from the warm-up session on the Marriott Center parking lot to the final song performed after fans had left the stadium. The resulting four-minute slideshow shows a home football game through the eyes of the band : Marching Band 2007

Women's Chorus

The Women’s Chorus huddles in the “green room” – a classroom adjacent to the de Jong Concert Hall – to warm up with conductor Jean Simons Applonie (BM ’84)

Men's Chorus

The BYU Men’s Chorus receives acclaim after performing in A Celebration of Christmas.

Concert Choir

Two members of Concert Choir evoke the Christmas spirit, performing in the annual combined choirs event A Celebration of Christmas.

Chris Wilson

Baritone saxophone player Chris K. Wilson (’08) plays the low register for Synthesis.

Julie Hansen

With cymbals in hand, an exuberant Julie Baker Hansen (’08) cannot contain the urge to rise and shout.

University Singers

BYU’s elite choir, University Singers, form a horseshoe around conductor Ronald J Staheli (BM ’72) in the Provo Tabernacle; members of Concert Choir and Women’s Chorus sit close behind.


The “Power of the Wasatch” holds formation as they march from the Marriott Center parking lot down to LaVell Edwards Stadium for the last home game of the year.


The Men’s Chorus sings from the rafters of the historic Provo Tabernacle in a combined choirs event.


Young Ambassadors perform scenes from Broadway musicals for an audience in the LDS Conference Center Theater as part of BYU Winterfest.

BYU Phil

The principal cellist in both the Philharmonic Orchestra and the elite Chamber Orchestra, Sharon Meilstrup (BM ’06) leads her section in playing a pizzicato section of the Russian Easter Festival Overture by Rimsky-Korsakov in the Evening of Concertos.