13,000youth to per­form at tem­ple cel­e­bra­tion

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Lana Hiskey

Re­hearsals are now in full swing for the Payson Tem­ple Cul­tural Cel­e­bra­tion, which is set for June 6 at Brigham Young Uni­ver­sity’s LaVell Ed­wards Sta­dium.

On the eve of the tem­ple’s ded­i­ca­tory ses­sions, 13,000 youth from the Payson tem­ple dis­trict will gather to com­mem­o­rate the his­tory and cul­ture of the area through nar­ra­tion, song and dance.

“I’m ex­cited to see ev­ery­one come to­gether and work hard as well as have fun cel­e­brat­ing a new tem­ple in our area,” said Sarah Sher­man, a youth from Span­ish Fork.

Plan­ning be­gan last fall when Elaine Hansen of the LDS Canyon View Stake was in­vited to co­or­di­nate the event. With Hansen’s ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in mu­si­cal theater, in­clud­ing work at Dis­ney World and the Kennedy Cen­ter, church lead­ers felt she was well qual­i­fied to han­dle the cel­e­bra­tion’s cast of thou­sands of per­form­ers and vol­un­teers.

“I’m hon­ored and a bit over­whelmed with the re­sponse we’ve re­ceived from the 27 stakes in our dis­trict,” said Hansen. “We cur­rently have a 103 per­cent par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for youth ages 12 to 18 – in­clud­ing both LDS youth and their friends from other faiths. We hope ev­ery par­tic­i­pant will feel the pur­pose, power and ex­cite­ment of the event.”

Last De­cem­ber, Hansen or­ga­nized a plan­ning com­mit­tee com­prised of writ­ers, TV pro­duc­ers, web­site de­sign­ers, com­posers, mu­si­cians, chore­og­ra­phers and cos­tumers to as­sist in the ef­fort. Fol­low­ing two months of in­tense brain­storm­ing, the com­mit­tee emerged with a 70-minute pro­gram em­brac­ing ev­ery­thing from high-en­ergy hip hop-style dances to beau­ti­ful, faith-filled an­thems. “Our se­lected theme is ‘Fill the World with Love,’ and that is ex­actly what we wish to do,” said Hansen. “Think of the pos­si­bil­i­ties – one sim­ple ges­ture of love has the po­ten­tial to change the world. With all of us lov­ing each other, our fam­i­lies, our friends and our neigh­bors, think how fast just a lit­tle love will spread!” Since has its quickly Fe­bru­ary gaine­droll mo­men­tu­mout, the cel­e­bra­tion as train­ing meet­ings, fire­sides, au­di­tions and dance re­hearsals have filled par­tic­i­pants’ cal­en­dars. Thou­sands of yards of fab­ric and boxes of props are be­ing or­dered to out­fit the 13,000 per­form­ers. “The youth’s cos­tum­ing and props re­quire more than 9,200 yards of fab­ric and 8,900 yards of rib­bon,” said com­mit­tee mem­ber Sherry McKel­lar. “This is no small un­der­tak­ing!” Hansen be­lieves this tem­ple cel­e­bra­tion will be a his­toric spir­i­tual event for the area and en­cour­ages all youth ages 12 to 18 in the Payson tem­ple dis­trict to par­tic­i­pate. “We need singers, ac­tors, tram­po­line artists, brass play­ers, bag­pipe play­ers and dancers to help us share our fun, lo­cal cul­ture of base­ball, rodeo and grand pa­rades,” said Hansen. “To­gether we will toss Fris­bees and beach balls, braid rib­bon around may­poles, wake up or­chards and cel­e­brate pa­tri­o­tism, but pri­mar­ily we will fill the sta­dium with love and trib­ute to the new­est House of the Lord.”

A limited num­ber of tick­ets will be dis­trib­uted to par­tic­i­pants. All other res­i­dents of the Payson tem­ple dis­trict are in­vited to view the cel­e­bra­tion via satel­lite broad­cast at their lo­cal LDS stake cen­ters. For more in­for­ma­tion go to the Face­book page Payson Utah Tem­ple Cul­tural Cel­e­bra­tion and Open House.

Thou­sands of youth from the new Payson tem­ple dis­trict are pre­par­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the Payson Tem­ple Cel­e­bra­tion set for June 6.

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