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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been performing songs composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein for decades. Some of those classic tunes were featured during a special concert for RootsTech, the world’s largest family history conference, at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City Thursday, February 9, 2017.
The musical event, titled “Music, It Runs in the Family,” included special guest soloist Dallyn Vail Bayles and the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein with narration by Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III, grandson of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.
“It’s a real honor, to be honest,” said Hammerstein, a painter, writer and lecturer whose family has been in the theater for 150 years. “I think it’s a perfect fit. Rodgers and Hammerstein music is very spiritual music.”
The family historian said he has gained a greater appreciation for his grandfather’s talents while trying to write lyrics. “I’ve come to realize just how difficult and amazing that job is. It’s a lot harder than it looks to do it really well. I admire my grandfather more and more. The more I try to do it, the more I realize, wow, simplicity is genius, and he had that.”
The performance showcased songs from the Broadway musicals “State Fair,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” “Oklahoma” and “The Sound of Music.”
Musical selections included Rodgers and Hammerstein fan favorites “Climb Every Mountain,” “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Hello, Young Lovers,” one of the younger Hammerstein’s personal favorites because he said it describes how he met his wife.
Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy conducted the musical performance for the thousands of family history enthusiasts in town for RootsTech, which runs through Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Hammerstein will teach a class at RootsTech and will narrate the choir’s live broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” on Sunday.