David Archuleta and comedy group Studio C will perform at an event centered on discovery, technology and family history on Feb. 14.
RootsTech is a family history conference that takes place annually in Salt Lake City. The first conference was held in February 2011 with the goal of creating a venue where people can receive tips from genealogists as well as hear messages from advocates of the family unit. The event will take place Feb. 12–14, with several different keynote speakers and presentations, in addition to a special closing event.
This year’s closing event will feature an original song by David Archuleta and a new sketch by Studio C. Both acts reflect the familial theme of the conference, as both Archuleta and Studio C members have been heavily influenced by family in their own lives.
Archuleta’s parents are both passionate about music. His father was a jazz musician, and his mother was a salsa dancer and singer. With musical roots, it is understandable that he followed a similar path, auditioning for “American Idol” and later recording a single on the Billboard charts.
“My family is great,” Archuleta told EW behind the stage of “American Idol.” “I wouldn’t be who I am without them, and they’ve helped keep me grounded.”
Family also influenced Studio C member and comedian Stephen Meek when he decided to pursue comedy.
“My family is positively the biggest influence on my comedic sense,” Meek said. “My parents both have very charming personalities, and making them laugh has always been one of my favorite things to do.”
Meek’s sense of humor and his decision to be a comedian was not only influenced by his parents but also by his siblings.
“My older brother frequently shared BBC productions such as ‘Blackadder,’ ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Monty Python’ with me, heavily shaping my personal tastes,” Meek said. “When he went to BYU, he was the one who came back with a Divine Comedy DVD and then, probably eight years later, he was the first one I called when I got into the group.”
As the RootsTech event nears, other Studio C members also reflect on the influence of their families and their own family histories.
Natalie Madsen, also a member of Studio C, remembers her own ancestors in light of the upcoming event and remembers the impact her grandmother’s passion for music had on her. Although her grandmother passed away when she was young, Madsen’s parents passed on that same appreciation and love of music.
“My grandma passed away when I was 2, but my mother always taught me about how much she loved music,” Madsen said. “My mom and dad both passed that on, the love of music, to their kids, and I love performing and making music.”
Sydney Braybrooke, a student at BYU, has done substantial amounts of family history on her own and shares how easy it is, due to the development of technology and increase of resources online.
“It is so easy to access birth certificates and censuses from different countries,” Braybrooke said. “The hardest part is connecting people through the sources because you have five tabs of sources open on your computer to compare the sources.”
Attendees of the conference will be shown new ways of studying their own family history and will be encouraged to start doing research for their own families, just as Braybrooke has.
Plus, with a variety of presentations and the introduction of new technologies, participants may discover all sorts of things about past generations and relatives.
“I think I’m related to a king who’s first name was Cole,” Madsen said. “Old King Cole.”