Last Sunday, Feb. 21 the Arizona Scottsdale Mission joined with the Mesa Maricopa and Mesa Maricopa North Stakes to present our mission’s annual musical fireside. The theme of the evening was Seek This Jesus – which is an excerpt from Ether 12:41 “And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” This event was first held last year in the Scottsdale North Stake and features the best missionary talent combined with the best talent from the sponsoring stakes and nearby churches of other denominations. This year the program had choirs from 2 other churches, the Living Spirit Gospel Choir and the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Mesa.
Under the direction of Lori Woods and Dottie Layton, excellent musicians and choir directors from the 2 stakes, the combined member-missionary choir performed 2 spectacular numbers, This is the Christ (to open the performance) and I Believe in Christ (to close the performance). From all accounts the 80 singers became a physical and spiritual power that spiritually lifted the entire 800 persons who gathered to view the performance.
Under the direction of Elder Morgan, and the supervising and arranging of Elder Johnson, the missionaries also performed several other numbers. Elder Sands and Elder Thompson performed a stunning version on organ and piano of For the Beauty of the Earth. Elder Johnson joined with 3 others to form a string quartet and played A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief with just the right amount of tenderness and strength. The Missionary Choir performed Beautiful Savior with Elder Sands on the piano and Elder Kirk Taylor – one of our Service Missionaries on the organ (He also runs his own music school here in the valley). They were perfectly led by Elder Morgan and sounded angelic. A smaller subset of the choir then performed a perfect (I keep using that term!) and demanding rendition of Savior, Redeemer of My Soul – with Elder Johnson backing the group (literally) on violin.
Here is just one of the reactions from those who attended: “Another highlight of the week was the Musical Fireside this past Sunday! It was wonderful! We came with a less active and she burst into tears when the Spanish Choir sang “Nearer My God to Thee”. She is from Texas and Hispanic and she was raised speaking Spanish, but is also completely fluent in English. Her family has been through a lot in the past year with the sudden passing of her little brother. This event led to her inactivity in the church, but she has recently been taking great strides to come back. She came to church and the fireside yesterday. We are so proud of her and all of her progress and can already see how much happier she is.”
I thought we could never equal last year’s performance – but I was wrong. This year’s performance combined members and missionaries working together for His glory – it was by all measures – a resounding success in inviting all to “seek this Jesus.”