Saturday, March 19, 2016

Beauty For Ashes

Prior to the dedication of a new LDS Temple, youth from the temple district participate in a cultural celebration. I believe the origin of this practice developed decades ago as a way to entertain visiting general authorities (to usually far off and foreign lands) on the day before the more formal dedication service. The idea was to highlight local culture and history through dance and song. It was also a nice way to get the youth of the area excited about the temple and to be intimately involved in an extravaganza.

The black clothed youth of the Springville Spring Creek Stake waiting for the show to start. Sarah is in the center of the photo looking right at the camera and Joel, with turned head, is in the lower right just below red-headed Jackson with the Afro.

The Provo City Center Temple district covers 16 stakes in South Provo and all of Springville. The youth from each stake performed one number. This performance involved over two months of twice a week practices--one on Mutual night and one on Saturday morning. It also involved chaperoning youth leaders, choreographers, narration writing, vignette videoing, recording of dance songs sung by local youth, preparing costumes and props etc. All done by volunteers. Truth be told, the practice part was not always that enjoyable. At times it was down right frustrating for the two participating youth from our home.

The 5,000 participating youth (ages 12-18) spent all day Saturday March 19th in the BYU Marriott Center rehearsing. They each took one zip lock bag with food and diversionary entertainment for the whole day. That night at 7:00 they performed.

For months part of the excitement for the youth was that the were always told that they would probably be performing for the Prophet and other general authorities and church leaders. Surprisingly no member of the First Presidency attended. The presiding authority was Russell M. Nelson--President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, a former president of BYU, welcomed everyone and briefly reminisced about all of the varied events that have taken place in the Marriott Center. The Cultual Celebration was a first.

The opening song was epic western music (no Come Come Ye Saints) and reenacting pioneer migration, quilting, and dancing.

Dancing (with nods to an Israeli hora) to "Through Heaven's Eyes" from the Prince of Egypt. Which illustrated the beauty and workmanship of the original Provo Tabernacle.

In honor of the many patriotic programs held in the tabernacle over the years, the boys danced to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" while the girls (dressed as Rosie the Riveter) countered with "Keep the Home Fires Burning." (video by Barrett Raymond)

Dancing to the song Glorious: as a followup to the narration about all the famous people who performed/spoke in the Tabernacle--John Philips Sousa, Helen Keller, Robert Frost, Rachmaninoff, President Taft.

A crowd (and youth) favorite were the boys of three stakes jiving and hip-hopping to a modern-day version of a favorite Primary song--Give said the little stream. The song highlighted that the tabernacle was a place where givers give--they give concerts and speeches, are graduated, are instructed etc.

Missionaries "Called to Serve" who over the years were trained and taught in Stake Conferences and other church meetings in the Tabernacle.

An energetic jitter bug to "Sing, Sing, Sing" noted the fun performances and community gatherings in the Tabernacle.

After highlighting the rich history of the Tabernacle, the chronological program then turned to the devastating fire the gutted the tabernacle. The youth from our stake then danced to a song about how the Lord lets it rain sometimes, but in the end growth and grace comes. It was very nice.

Sometimes He lets it rain

She sees the storm clouds gather
The sky is turning cold and gray
She knows that something's coming
When she starts to feel this way
She pleads for intervention
But heaven offers no relief
And she would understand if she could only see that

Sometimes He lets it rain
He lets the fierce winds blow
Sometimes it takes a storm
To lead a heart where it can grow
He can move mountains of grief
And oceans of pain
But sometimes he lets it rain

When her heart surrenders
To the Master in control
Her spirit learns the lessons of the tempest in her soul
When it's no longer raging
She can see how far she's come
Through the wisdom and the mercy of the Son

Sometimes He lets it rain
He lets the fierce winds blow
Sometimes it takes a storm
To lead a heart where it can grow
He can move mountains of grief
And oceans of pain
But sometimes he lets it rain

(Lyrics by Tyler Castleton/ Staci Peters)

Watch the boys of the Spring Creek 18th Ward (including Joel) in the opening part of the dance.

  Watch all of the youth or our stake--with a focus on our ward in the corner. Watch for Sarah.

Here is another view of the performance from neighbor/scout leader Barrett Raymond.

One of the more touching vignettes as part of the narration was the account given by a fellow stake member (we connected years ago when we were both dealing with cancer) who was undergoing chemo at the time of the fire. She likened her body being ravaged by chemo inside her to the burnt out shell of the tabernacle slowly being restored into a temple. Both have now emerged brighter and better.

Life and the Kingdom of God roll on.

The final song was "Savior Redeemer of my Soul" which focused on the purpose of the soon to be dedicated Temple.

Grand Finale: A song about "Beauty for Ashes" Isaiah 61:3. The imagery was that of a fire, sunset, or sun with extending rays (what I thought). No concluding rainbow like in the Payson Temple cultural celebration.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Every aisle was filled with red, orange and yellow t-shirted youth.

Watch it here:

Happy to have watched and participated in such an enjoyable, uplifting event and happy to have it over.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Yeti Twelve: Deer Valley

It was the last day of the term and Sarah and Joel were all caught up with school work so we decided to play hooky. Delightful Deer Valley was our destination. It is a rare treat to ski at this expensive resort so we waited for a good day.

 Morning sun on Mt. Timpanogos never disappoints.

 It was a longer hike up to the lifts than last week at Sundance. We should have taken advantage of the valet drop off of skis and poles at the base for pick up after parking.

 Today would have been a $362 day of skiing. The Yeti pass makes skiing at Deer Valley much more affordable.

From the base looking up to the Olympic and World Cup moguls course down Champion run.

To the right of the mogul run is where the freestyle jumping event is held.

Here is how the two venues (lit up) look during the 2013 Freestyle World Cup. Photo courtesy of Tom Kelly.

Here are the two Olympic venues. My job as a volunteer one day was to pick up garbage from the grandstands. Before that I got to watch some of the mogul events.

Returning to this Olympic venue got me all nostalgic. Salt lake City really did an exceptional job hosting the Olympics. I thought the huge banners on SLC buildings was a nice touch. Surprising to many was the willingness of the LDS Church to allow a short skirted figure skater to grace the side of Church Office Building. 

This is better than school.

Joining us for the day was my brother Bob, his wife Annie and their daughter Kristin. We lucked out. Kristin taught ski school at Deer Valley a few years back and Bob has skied there enough that they could lead us all over the mountain. Nice not to have to open my trail map. We feel honored that Annie chose a ski day with us to break her two year hiatus from skiing.

For our warm up run, Bob got it in his mind that we should try the double black diamond Daly Chutes and/or Daly Bowl. OK we said.

Daly Chutes (l) and Daly Bowl (r).

 From the top of Empire Express we traversed through the trees to the top of the cornice.

 Sarah tackling a difficult run like a pro. Note to self: teach the kids how to do kick turns.

Thanks for the photos Bob.

Four cousins on Lady Morgan Express.

Time for lunch at the Empire Canyon Lodge.

 $70 worth of food! The curried cauliflower panini was tasty.

Great company.

After lunch Kristin took us to the secret Cabin of Quincy the bear--a favorite destination for young ski-schoolers.

Looking east from the summit of Mt. baldy towards the partly frozen, lower than usual Jordanelle Reservoir and the Unitah Mountains in the distance.

 Bob and Annie showing how they have been doing it for over 35 years.

In honor of John W. Emmett who loved the groomers on Wasatch Express we skied the steep, fast and fun Revenge several times. We also enjoyed a few runs down  Perseverance on Sultan Express.

 April 27, 2005 at Deer Valley. Dad's treat. Father and four sons. Jake, Tom, John, Bob, Chad.

From the right Annie with three sons, John, Brain and Michael. Robert Hutchison in blue is a life-long skiing buddy of dad's and fellow member of the corduroy posse.

Looking north from the top of Baldy down on the many ski-in-and-out "cabins" of Deer Valley with Park City in the distance.

It was a great day. Deer Valley has lots of fun top to bottom, well groomed runs. The web of lifts--with four all converging at the summit of Flagstaff Mt, require little traversing. Since it limits the number of people on the slopes and does not allow snow boarders it makes for less congestion. The main demographic is certainly older white males (presumably with money).

The steep and hard packed runs required more edging that we are used too. Our legs were shot by 2:30. No worries, that allowed us time to get home just in time for Joel's 4:00 soccer practice, for Sarah to go the temple with her friend and for Will to play basketball with his friend before his 5:30 soccer practice.

Afternoon sun on Mt Timpanogos never disappoints.

 Spring has sprung in Springville.