Tradition and Surprises: BYU Opening Ceremonies

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In celebration of Homecoming Week, BYU’s opening ceremonies aims to honor past traditions and introduce a few surprises.

The opening ceremony, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the Marriott Center at 11:05 a.m., will introduce the 2012 Homecoming theme, “Of Pillars and Cornerstones,” and showcase some of the university’s nationally ranked and award-winning groups and teams.

[/media-credit] BYU Homecoming theme to be highlighted in Tuesday’s opening ceremony.
In years past, President and Sister Samuelson lit the metaphorical opening ceremonies torch, giving a short speech to reveal the week’s theme. This year, however, in honor of Karl G. Maeser and the building that bears his name, the university asked his great, great grand-daughter, former BYU student Elizabeth Funk, to do the honors.

“I’m humbled to be asked to do this,” said Funk. “Karl G. Maeser inspired a lot of people, and he inspires me and my family. He worked tirelessly to create an institution that blended the Church’s views with academics and scholarship, and others caught that vision as well.”

The program also features the BYU marching band, which will lead the audience in singing the traditional “College Song.” While current BYU students are often more familiar with the university’s “Cougar Song,” also called the fight song, the “College Song” is presumed to have been sung at the dedication of the Karl G. Maeser building.

The Cougarettes, two-time national champions, and Vocal Point, BYU’s renowned a cappella group, also plan to compete in a spin-off of a hit reality tv dance show. The competition, called “So You Think You Can Sing Better Than We Can Dance,” features the two groups switching roles. Cougarettes will sing, and Vocal Point members will dance to determine the all-around talent champions.

Brandon Hatch, BYUSA president, will also participate in the program, and the winner of the annual Brimhall Essay Contest will be revealed. The essay theme this year focused on the symbolism of the Karl G. Maeser building to BYU students.

While the winner has not yet been identified, Hatch shared his feelings about what the building and this year’s Homecoming theme mean to him.

“That building is literally the cornerstone of campus. We’re celebrating its hundred-year anniversary now. The fact that it is named after Karl G. Maeser, and the way his way of thinking about things, his views on the honor code, shaped the university and what it stands for, make it that much more significant.”

One of the most anticipated moments of the show is what Charlene Winters, the script writer and member of the BYU Alumni Board, called a “special surprise.”

“I can’t spoil it,” Winters said, “but let’s just say you may see the Samuelsons in a way you have never seen them before!”

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