Recently returned from a monthlong tour of Australia and New Zealand, the University Singers performed, and some of their members spoke of their experiences for Tuesday’s Devotional in the Marriott Center.
“Through our singing, we were able to share our testimony of Jesus Christ with the people of Australia and New Zealand,” said choir President Emily Wood.
All of the music sung Tuesday was performed during the University Singers’ tour.
The choir was directed by Ronald J. Staheli. “We are especially pleased that Brother Staheli will be leading the choir today. In a tragic accident, Brother and Sister Staheli’s son lost his life, and we as a community express our deepest sympathy to them,” said President Merrill J. Bateman, conducting the Devotional.
“The theme of our performance was centered around our opening number titled ~~’Come Unto Him.’ That was the main thrust of our performance, to invite all who do not know him, to come unto Christ and those who are members of the Church to strengthen themselves,” said Tracy Madsen, member of the choir.
In his talk, Michael Raddatz, another member of the University Singers, said that some of the most cherished memories of their tour was the interaction with other church members in firesides and other appearances.
“These songs express our innermost joy and faith in Jesus Christ,” said Raddatz.
Wood spoke of the bus driver they had while in New Zealand who gave them some advice as they left. “He told us how lucky we were to be so close to the prophet, and he told us to take the love we had been given and use it to accomplish the Lord’s work,” Wood said.
“We have a responsibility as members of the Church to leave others better off than when we met them,” said Marcianne MacKay, a member of the choir.
All of the speakers talked of the impact the people they met had on the choir. MacKay said, “I learned from a lonely old woman how to lose myself. From a family of 11 with only one bathroom in the house, I learned to share, and from a mother and daughter who were so poor that I had to eat dinner at their neighbor’s house, I learned the true meaning of giving.”
During their tour, the choir members stayed with host families. The host families were responsible for providing a place to sleep, transportation to the performers’ concerts and some meals.
“We went down there thinking of all the people we would teach, lift and bless. I don’t think anyone realized the impact that they would have on us as they taught, lifted and blessed us,” MacKay said.
Wood spoke of the need to be about the Lord’s work.
“We will not be able to choose the place we serve, and sometimes it will include pain and suffering. We must prepare ourselves to accomplish the Lord’s work,” Wood said. “As Alma rejoiced in the opportunity to be part of the Lord’s work, I find myself facing this new year with new faith and hope because I was able to take part in the Lord’s work.”
Jennifer Curtis of the Public Communications office estimated that there were 5,502 people in attendance.