Young Ambassadors back in Provo for some ‘Harmony’

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Since 1970 BYU’s Young Ambassadors traveled the globe to share their good tidings through song and dance. Having visited 14 countries in the past decade they have made a name for themselves as premier performers in the world of musical theater.

This weekend they are coming home to Provo.

According to a news release, their show, “Harmony: the Music of Life,” showcases the Young Ambassadors’ vivacious vocal style and dazzling dance moves as they guide audiences on a journey through life’s most treasured moments. From childhood dreams to teenage toils, from falling in love all the way to growing old, “Harmony” heralds the memories of a life well lived. Each scene is set to scores from America’s favorite musicals, including “Dream Girls,” “Wicked” and “Carousel.” “Harmony” also highlights hit songs from musicians Benny Goodman and Michael Bublé.

Young Ambassador Conlon Bonner, a native of New York City, has been singing and dancing his entire life.  Before coming to BYU he attended La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where he studied voice. For Bonner, who joined the group two years ago, being a Young Ambassador is more than a gig in a great show; it’s a spiritual service. He said the group begins every rehearsal with a devotional, including a prayer and song, to ensure members are spiritually fed.

“Because it’s such a great missionary tool we feel it’s our duty to be spiritually fed so we can perform with the spirit,” Bonner said.

Bonner has been performing with Young Ambassadors for two years.

Alyssa Thueson, a senior studying economics, saw the show last fall. She said that in addition to the amazing singing and complex dancing the show had important gospel messages to share.

“During the show there were video clips that showed individuals and couples talking about their life experiences,” Thueson said. “A lot of the topics were gospel related.”

She said though the songs are secular in nature, the messages in the video clips brought an added measure of the spirit.

Brad Robbins, president of the Young Ambassadors, has been performing with the group for four years. As the senior member and leader of the group Robbins has extra responsibilities on top of the rigorous rehearsal schedule. To him Young Ambassadors is a family, so the heavy lifting is a group effort.

“I feel very lucky as a leader of this group to have so many group members who are just so committed,” Robbins said. “There are so many people who willing are to step up and be proactive and give suggestions. We all kind of lift together and I just happen to be the one who gets to be called president.”

Robbins, a senior studying business administration, acknowledged that being a member of the group is a significant time commitment, but he has always felt the sacrifice to be worth it.

“I never shy away from an assignment,” Robbins said. “I always welcome them just because I love what this experience has done for my character.”

Robbins will perform the popular song “Stand By Me” with fellow Young Ambassador Tim Cooper. Robbins is also highlighted in the  closing number “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Bonner and Robbins have been able to share their talents with many audiences across the nation. Both are confident local audiences will receive the new show well. Bonner said audience members should expect to be blown away by the energy of the performance stating patrons will be filled with “joy and light.”

Robbins reiterated the idea that this show is more than an hour and a half of entertainment, but a testimony.

“In addition to being entertained I think people can expect, if they come with the right attitude, to walk away feeling inspired,” Robbins said.

The Ambassadors will perform their show “Harmony” through Saturday in the de Jong Concert Hall. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Each performance is 90 minutes and includes a 15-minute intermission.

Tickets are available at the Ticket Office of the Harris Fine Arts Center, by calling 801-422-4322 or online at byuarts.com/tickets.

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