Organizing these temple cultural celebrations is no small feat when so many youth are involved and all 13,000 of them came together only two times for a total rehearsal. Until then they practiced in smaller groups, hoping it would all come together well.
Lana Hiskey, chairman of communications for the event said what surprised them was that they had 105% of the youth in the Payson Utah Temple region sign up to be a part of this event. This meant that many who were inactive or not members were interested enough to want to participate. She was moved to tears when she talked of the dedication of the youth.
Many of the youth dancing on the field already have mission calls like Dallin Mckinney, who is leaving for El Savador on July 1. He is going to receive his endowments at the Payson Temple in time to see his sister sealed in the new temple on June 20.
Adam Warnick already has his mission call to Leeds England and leaves July 22. These youth celebrations mark a transition for many who are headed for the mission field.
A black, threatening cloud hovered over LaVell Edwards stadium and then just before the celebration was to begin, a downpour started. Everyone was advised to leave the stadium and for an hour no one was certain if the show would go on.
The rain stopped. The celebration started an hour late, but no one’s enthusiasm seemed dampened. All cheered when President Henry B. Eyring arrived.
He said, “We all feel the excitement of this night and gratitude that the weather is going to let us go forward.”
President Eyring said, “You have spent countless hours mastering the parts you are to play tonight. You have found talents as you have prepared that you didn’t know you had. You will never forget the feeling of satisfaction that through effort and determination, you could do more than you thought possible. One of the reasons you felt that growth is that the Lord has magnified your performance because of your faith in Him.”
“Your purpose is to help the Lord fill the earth with light. The memory of this night will stay with us. You performers will carry with you those wonderful feelings and the reason why they came to you.”
As the show began, a magnificent array of doves were released which flew in formation back and forth across the sky above the stadium.
The enthusiasm was electric as these youth danced to “Happy.” That is how they feel about the temple.
The danced the lyrics: Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.
Because Santaquin, known for its orchards, is a part of the temple district, Elaine Hansen, the writer and director of the show felt keenly that springtime and apple orchards should be included in the program. She teared up when she first saw the temple interior and saw that apple blossoms were the theme. She knew she had been inspired.
As part of the orchard dance, several maypoles dotted the field were dancers entwined their colorful satin ribbons.
The youth from Goshen danced to a theme from “Prince of Egypt” called “Through Heaven’s Eyes” since the LDS Church’s movie set of Jerusalem is in their area.
In a Patriotic section, red, white and blue flags snapped across the field, while actors dressed up like Nephi, Moroni, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln talk about how the Lord’s eye is on America.
The two thousand sons of Helaman were represented by two thousand youth, giving the audience a visual perspective of just how big that army was.
Helaman’s army was probably about the same age.
“Shall the youth of Zion falter in defending truth and right? While the enemy assailleth, shall we shrink or shun the fight?” “No!” they all shouted.
A baseball sequence began with a soloist singing “The Star Bangled Banner” and the audience responded with patriotism and love of country.
Lauren Swindlehurst, from Spanish Fork, had to give up playing in her soccer tournament because it was this weekend. In fact, the entire team had to forfeit because they chose to be in the temple celebration instead.
It seems that according to the “Guinness Book of World Records, Spanish Fork has more baseball diamonds were capita than anywhere else in the United States.
The youth from Nephi are the tops in the state in rodeo.
Moving across the field in waves of color, this number acknowledged that we have difficulties in this life just as Joseph Smith did in Liberty Jail.
The hope for all of us is found in “Redeemer of Israel our only delight.”
Ribbons flashed across the field.
Madeline Jones of the Salem Stake, auditioned for a special dance number . She said, “I had to wake up many mornings for practices that went from 6-9.
They danced to “I Know that my Redeemer Lives” while a model of the temple was built behind them.
This dancer climbed up the others as if she were on a staircase, climbing to the temple.
The youth will never forget that they danced to celebrate the Lord.
Lana Hiskey (pictured here) said that through the celebration everyone would be thinking of the director Elaine Hansen. After months of practice, the day before the celebration she collapsed, was taken to the hospital, and learned she had a serious health problem. She was unable to direct but all thoughts and prayers were on the director.
The entire group sang: “And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me, To be brave and strong and true, And to fill the world with love my whole life through.”
Noah in his day was given a rainbow as a token of the covenant. Instantly the youth, who had been dressed in white became a rainbow.
The Lord said. “And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy.”