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May 22, 2001

BYU Singers on Mission in Ghana

Additional Articles:

BYU Singers will be first to tour Africa

BYU Singers perform in New York's Carnegie Hall

Singers harmonize in Carnegie Hall, across cultures

The Kingdom Progresses in Africa

A Temple for West Africa

Ghana -- A Household of Faith



By David Winters

This choral group has been called "stunning" and "one of the premiere choral organizations in the country."╣  The choir members are also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They have performed in the great concert halls in the United States (including Carnegie Hall), Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.  They represented the United States at the 4th World Choral Symposium in Sydney. They have appeared on national television as part of two programs created for PBS.  Is this the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? No, although they have sung in concert with them several times as well.  BYU Singers is the "premiere choral" group spoken of -- and the choir along with director Ronald Staheli are currently performing in Africa.

BYU Singers perform in Carnegie Hall -- photo courtesy of Sandefur Schmidt

The BYU Singers perform for Jews and Arabs at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies -- photo courtesy of Mark Philbrick

The group is on a mission to make friends for BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  At a concert held in March, Ronald Staheli spoke of the choir's excitement to go to Ghana.  "We are hoping to do much good for the Church -- particularly as the groundbreaking for the temple in Accra approaches."

President Hinckley traveled to Ghana in February 1998 as part of a five-country tour of the African continent. While in Ghana he announced that a temple would be built in the capital city of Accra in a neighborhood near a number of foreign embassies.  The temple will serve roughly 29,000 members of the Church in Africa.

The Church has faced some opposition in Ghana in the past.  The trip by BYU Singers is viewed as a way to build bridges and promote goodwill.  Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Quorums of the Seventy said during a sermon in the April 2000 General Conference that since the announcement of the Ghana temple, "the adversary has been relentless in trying to prevent that from happening."  Perhaps the BYU Singers are part of the optimism Elder David B. Haight expressed in that same conference when he declared, "I know the problem [regarding the opposition] will be resolved; that will only be a chapter in the on-rolling of this work."

The BYU Singers complete their four-week tour to Italy, Ghana, Togo, and Benin on Sunday.

╣Jo-Michael Scheibe, DMA, President of American Choral Directors' Association Western Division and Maurice Casey, former president of the American Choral Directors Association.

Additional Resources on the web:

Brigham Young University Singers

Tour Itinerary

Accra Ghana Temple

CD excerpts

Order CDs

Other BYU CDs

Rehearsal video clip

Contribute to BYU Singers endowment fund



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