Living Legends tours South America


    By Christine Jackman

    Living Legends has spent the past four weeks sharing its songs and dances with the people of South America.

    Living Legends is made up of 38 BYU students with American Indian, Latin American or Polynesian heritage.

    Ed Blaser, director of performing arts management, said the students were enthusiastic for this tour because they would be performing for people with their heritage in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

    Blaser said that Living Legends (formerly known as the Lamanite Generation) was created in 1971, and part of their mission is to perform for their own people.

    “The South American people loved this group mostly because they could relate to the dances they were doing,” Pete Codella, the tour manager, said.

    Ruben Yesces, a senior from Sonora, Mexico, majoring in economics, has been performing with the Living Legends for three years.

    Yesces said he feels really close with the people they performed for on this tour in South America.

    “I connect more with the people since I come from a Latin American country,” Yesces said.

    Codella said that BYU works with the Area and Stake Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints three years in advance to choose where their performing groups will tour.

    The country that is chosen is based on where they will have the most impact, he said.

    “It is kind of like a performing mission,” Codella said.

    The BYU performing groups can open doors for church where missionaries cannot, he said.

    After the shows the group goes and talks to the people in the audience where they have many requests to sign autographs.

    “I’ve never felt like such a star,” Yesces said.

    Yesces said that he knows it is the Spirit that the audience feels.

    “They (South Americans) are so ready for the Gospel and you can really feel that,” he said.

    Yesces said that in Sao Palo, Brazil, they performed for a very important political figure that stayed for two shows because he enjoyed it so much.

    Yesces said that their whole show is based on the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

    The show follows the story line of the Book of Mormon, he said.

    Codella said he feels like the performances in South America changed the lives of nonmembers and members alike.

    “It makes members of the church in far away places feel like they are part of something bigger,” he said.

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