Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's Even Better!

Believe it or not, the Pageant is exceeding expectations!  Everyone that comes, member or non-member, is completely astounded at the scope and professionalism of this production. Too many faith promoting stories to relate right now, but I'll tie a few in here and there. We're not allowed to video or take photos of the actual pageant because of the annoyance of flashes, but I grabbed a small section of a rehearsal that will give you an idea of the energy of it!  First, here are some of the wonderful faces that have been 'on site' the past four nights:

There are 20 missionaries chosen from our mission to be in the crowd every night - "How are you?  Glad you enjoyed the show!  Can I give you a program?  Do you need any directions?"  And yes, Jim, you may recognize the young Elder on the left from your P.E. class.  His Dad directs the Education arm of the Shakespeare Festival!   (Great Elder, and Preston got him as a Zone Leader!)  And 'Bytheway', guess who is Uncle to the Elder on the right?

Okay, Sister Sun (left) has to be the mission's favorite 'fellowshipper' - of everyone! She'll run at you from across a field with her infectious, high-toned 'Sister Meese!'.  There are no strangers in her life, and this disarming style opens doors and hearts....good choice for pageant greeter.

Below, we have my favorite bass along with HIS favorite fellow bass.  I hunt along that skyline each night until I can spot my companion back there.  I know that cap!

This is one of the choral directors (with his family) that Elder Meese says is amazing with creative warm-ups and vocal techniques to make them sound better and better.  By the way, each night they give out pass-along cards with a QR code so anyone can download all the pageant music. How brilliant was that to allow that music to be circulating in everyone's minds continually!

I caught the main character of the pageant in the parking lot.  In a nutshell, the story revolves around the conversion of this crusty but good-hearted man (Arthur Ashton), still grieving the death of his wife from cholera two years prior.  His young adult daughter encounters two men new to Preston, preaching in town square...Heber C. Kimball and Joseph Fielding....and the stage is set for conflict and conversion!  There are several side stories, all from actual church history.  You follow George Cannon and his sister Mary Alice.  You meet George Watt and see the race to the River Ribble.

At the close, as we're all aboard ship heading to Zion, Arthur bears his testimony and tells us 'Our story continues today!'  The choir and cast then boom out 'Called To Serve' as the current batch of missionaries from the MTC come marching up the center aisle and onto the stage (to continual applause).  Then they all break into 'Redeemer Of Israel'...and I haven't made it through without tearing up.

During the finale, Arthur Ashton's wife descends from the 'heavenly' choir on the bridge to join him on stage.  I took this shot as soon as it was 'legal' after the lights went up.  At least it will give you an idea of stage and audience size.  It still amazes me they could construct something this size so quickly.

If you try really, really hard, you can see my favorite bass on the extreme left of the choir bridge by the lamppost.

And now, if our youtube skills work, here is the promised rehearsal footage.  Notice that cute choreographer out bouncing around up there - yes, the one that just had a baby!

So that's it for this post.   And what's my part in all this?  The highly skilled distribution of will-call missionary tickets!  


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