Innovators II-Keepers of the Flame: Kurt Bestor and Sam Cardon
Reviewed by Jared Johnson

Are many Saints able to see past February 24, when the Olympic torch is passed back outside the Beehive State, likely never to return? Have media eyes seen how to fill their pages and airtime once the Closing Ceremonies become the concluding words in the epic chapter of the 2002 Winter Games? We wonder what stories will fill that chapter. What names will henceforth be called when the world speaks of Utah and its global spotlight?

Another pertinent question at the close of next month will be how Utahns and others will keep Olympic memories from flickering, and Kurt Bestor and Sam Cardon have at least one answer. “Innovators II: Keepers of the Flame” takes the same format as its 1992 predecessor: honest instrumental odes to men and women who have made a difference in the world. The first “Innovators” had a CD distribution of over 500,000, a PBS special, and has been performed in Washington, D.C., Salt Lake, Sundance, and San Francisco.

This second offering is as unique and unforgettable as Utah’s opportunity to host a global stage. It represents a local tie to international greatness; it took musicians as talented as the athletes they embodied. Words that have typified the Olympic competition – diversified, strong, spirited, reverenced, inspiring, phenomenally talented – in likeness capture the mood of “Innovators II.”

People who pick up the CD and read the liner notes will know whom Sam and Kurt are writing about and understand the musical symbolism. Jesse Owens defied Hitler’s ideals by winning four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Summer Games. Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect ten on the uneven bars in 1976. Mirsada Buric completed the 5000 meters in Barcelona less than two months after spending time in a concentration camp. These and other true heroes gave new life to their sports because the Olympics gave new life to the athletes.

Those who are interested can also see a full stage production of “Innovators II: Keepers of the Flame” at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah (on the campus of the University of Utah) beginning Monday, February 4. Michael McLean, who pioneered the Church’s “Homefront” series of commercials and is well known for his “Forgotten Carols” production, wrote the stage show around the stories of the athletes. For Kurt, Sam, and Michael, the goal for the show was to “treat sport as an art form, and music as an athletic endeavor.”

If anything, the Olympics bring a chance to treat sport as art and to combine the diversified talents of many Saints with the world at large. The spirit of the 2002 Winter Games is built on the hearts of men and women typified by the Owens, Comanecis, and Burics of the world, which we can now bring home to our living rooms and recall while listening to world-class music.

“Innovators II: Keepers of the Flame” runs February 4, 12, 13, and 14 in Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. For ticket information, visit



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