Alumni Report

Spectacular: Honoring the Prophet with Song and Dance


Joseph Smith

Photo Courtesy L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library

BYU will bring its finest performing groups to the Marriott Center stage Oct. 13 and 14 to honor the Prophet Joseph Smith for Homecoming Spectacular 2005.

“The Church will celebrate the bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s birthday in many ways this year,” says Spectacular artistic director Michael G. Handley (BS ’83). “We, too, want to honor him. This Homecoming will probably be unique among the festivities in that each group’s director will offer an individual interpretation of honoring the Prophet.”

“We are not trying to offer a documentary of Joseph’s life,” adds Janielle Hildebrandt Christensen (BA ’67), artistic director. “Ours is a tribute through the performing arts and will emphasize the Prophet’s commitment to education. His vision of developing one’s mind became part of the vision Brigham Young carried with him to Utah, and Joseph Smith emphasized the importance of learning as part of the founding principles of the university.”

Among the musical numbers at the event will be a musical section called “Praise to the Man,” which features music of the Restoration and will be performed by the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra and the Men’s and Women’s choruses. The Philharmonic will also present an original arrangement of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.”

Also new to the show will be a reconfiguration of the Nauvoo Brass Band, composed of the best brass musicians from the Music Department, wearing period costumes. Directing them will be Mark Ammons, associate director of the BYU School of Music.

The Dancers’ Company, Young Ambassadors, Living Legends, and Ballroom Dance Company will also be featured. Among the planned numbers is “Songs of Deliverance,” a dance with a pioneer feel. Choreographed to honor those who faced affliction and went forward with faith, it will be performed by The Dancers’ Company to sacred songs recorded by University Singers.

“We haven’t produced a show this close to our heart,” Handley adds. “We anticipate celebrating the spirit of the prophet of the Restoration in an elegant way.”