“Cinderella” Joins Choir and Orchestra at Pioneer Day Concert

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 18 July 2015

Laura Osnes sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015.  Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Last year, it was Prince Charming on stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square; this year, it was Cinderella.

Laura Osnes, who nominated for a Tony award for playing the title role in the most recent Broadway production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein show “Cinderella,” was the guest artist at the annual Pioneer Day concert of the choir and orchestra July 17 and 18.

With a stage set suggesting the skyscrapers of New York City and the neon lights and marquees of Broadway, the concert consisted almost entirely of show tunes, with the exception of the opening set.

Laura Osnes sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Lloyd Newell makes introductions at Music for a Summer Evening, presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

President Thomas S. Monson attends the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square's Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015.
Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Laura Osnes sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

One of those show tunes was from “Cinderella.” Osnes performed “A Lovely Night,” backed by the choir and orchestra, part of a set of seven selections of Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes.

The guest artist, who mentioned that she has portrayed five Rodgers and Hammerstein heroines on stage, also sang “If I Loved You” from “Carousel,” and drew a standing ovation with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from “The Sound of Music.”

Other pieces in the Rodgers and Hammerstein set were “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” from “State Fair,” “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music,” and the title song from “Oklahoma.”

The orchestra was showcased in its own right with its performance of “Guadalcanal March” from the 1952–53 documentary television series “Victory at Sea,” the musical score of which was composed by Richard Rodgers and his partner Robert Russell Bennett.

The orchestra also opened the concert with the familiar theme from the movie “The Magnificent Seven.”

Osnes immediately connected with the Conference Center crowd. Mentioning that this wasn’t the first time she had performed before a largely Mormon audience, she said that she had once sung in the Manhattan 8th LDS Ward in New York City, but that it was not nearly the size of the Conference Center.

She spoke of her “onstage Prince Charming,” Santino Fontana, who appeared with the choir and orchestra at last year’s Pioneer Day and Christmas concerts.

“After I saw the size of this hall, I called him last night for a little pep talk, and he said to say ‘hi’ to all of you,” she said.

She then clarified that Fontana was only her “true love” on stage, and introduced her “real-life Prince Charming and husband,” Nathan Johnson, who was in the audience.

Early in the concert, Osnes sang two Broadway tunes, “Get Happy” from “Summer Stock” and “All the Thing You Are” from “Very Warm for May,” in a set that also included the choir and orchestra performance of “On a Wonderful Day Like Today” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd.”

A high point of the concert was the performance by the choir and orchestra of “Cohan’s Big Three,” a medley of George M. Cohan tunes that they performed at the United States Military Academy at West Point and the choir performed a cappella during on center field at Yankee Stadium during the recent tour.

The song segued into a organ solo on “Give My Regards to Broadway” by Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott, whose whimsical keyboard antics, choreographed with special-effects lighting on the organ pipes, have become a much anticipated and appreciated feature at choir concerts in recent years.

A standing ovation came at the end of the concert after a performance by the choir and orchestra of “One Person” from “Dear World” and “Seventy-Six Trombones” from “The Music Man.” A demand for an encore was answered with Miss Osnes singing a reprise of “Seventy-Six Trombones” with the choir.

Observing the Pioneer Day occasion, the choir and orchestra near the opening of the concert sang the traditional pioneer hymns “They the Builders of the Nation” and “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” The choir and orchestra also performed a Sam Cardon arrangement of “The Handcart Song,” written in 1856 for LDS immigrant converts from Europe to sing as they pulled their handcarts across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.

The concert was streamed live Saturday night at www.motab.org and on the choir’s YouTube channel. Watch it here.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings with the Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings with the Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings with the Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings with the Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings with the Orchestra at Temple Square during Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

Mack Wilberg conducts the Orchestra at Temple Square as they perform Music for a Summer Evening with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform Music for a Summer Evening at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.