BYU Men’s Chorus will perform at the priesthood session of General Conference this April.
The Men’s Chorus will fill the 21,000-person Conference Center with grace and harmony through special pieces of music prepared and directed by Ronald Staheli.
BYU Men’s Chorus is a performing group directed and led by the world-renowned Rosalind Hall. Hall has been consistently rated as one of the 300 best professors in the country by the Princeton Review, and she is ranked the No. 4 best professor on ratemyprofessor.com.
The group provides opportunities for more than 180 students to express themselves through growth, hard work and continuous learning from Hall. BYU Men’s Chorus has performed several times in General Conference, often alternating between mixed choirs performing at Saturday afternoon’s session to the Men’s Chorus performing at priesthood sessions. The assignments have come about every other year for several decades now.
“I believe that art brings beauty into our lives,” Hall said. “Music especially opens windows and brings dimensions that are beyond normal life.”
Hall then explained the process of choosing music for the performance. The BYU Men’s Chorus is not assigned any particular piece but is encouraged to choose what to perform at the session.
“It’s tricky because we can run into licensing and copyright issues when we used pre-composed pieces,” Hall said. “We usually just compose our own pieces for this performance. We choose hymns and arrange them to create the pieces that we sing.”
This year the pieces have been arranged by Staheli and Thomas Durham, who will both retire at the end of the school year. “We thought it a proper tribute for their final moments,” Hall said.
For Mark Frost, a junior from Georgia majoring in exercise and wellness, singing in the Conference Center is the opportunity of a lifetime to connect and reconnect with the souls of the families and friends he taught on his mission in Argentina.
General Conference is broadcast to more than 80 countries, so many of these men will be watched from families in the Church they have taught during their missionary service.
“Those people mean a lot to me, and it will be fulfilling to know that the mission is not the only effort that I have made to reach out to them,” Frost said. “Knowing that they are watching helps me to sing with heart. It helps me to remember that this is not about me at all. It is about our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Nicholas Ortega is a senior from California majoring in electrical engineering. Ortega said Men’s Chorus has provided the spiritual growth and stability that has helped him become an excellent student.
“(Men’s Chorus) has helped me be a lot less stressed out, because I have something that I look forward to every day,” he said.