Performers Share Spirit of Aloha at YSA Luau
By Alan Gibby, Church News contributor
- Some 850 people attended a YSA luau in Ladera Ranch, California, on July 22 and were entertained by Polynesian Cultural Center dancers.
- The Polynesian Cultural Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
“What we like to do is bring a little of the Polynesian Cultural Center and a lot of the Aloha spirit with us and share, not only with the members of the Church, but with all those who are interested in the gospel wherever we travel.” —Alfred Grace, president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center
LADERA RANCH, CALIFORNIA
Young single adults from four wards gathered for a luau at the Ladera Ranch meetinghouse on July 22. Entertainment for the evening was provided by a team of dancers from the Polynesian Cultural Center, who shared select portions of their evening show, “Ha: Breath of Life.”
Some 850 people attended the event, organized by the Saddleback (YSA) Ward, Mission Viejo California Stake, and San Clemente (YSA) Ward, San Clemente California Stake.
The PCC performing team members were on their way to Salt Lake City for the Days of ’47 Parade festivities.
“The spirit of Aloha is to share the literal breath of life one with another,” said P. Alfred Grace, the new president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center. “What we like to do is bring a little of the Polynesian Cultural Center and a lot of the Aloha spirit with us and share, not only with the members of the Church, but with all those who are interested in the gospel wherever we travel.”
This year the PCC, which has helped thousands of students work their way through college, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“The Polynesian Cultural Center from the very beginning has been a way for doors to be opened for the Church because it was a completely nonthreatening way to make friends.
“Natural bridges have been created,” said Von Orgill, former president and CEO of the PCC who is now serving as president of the California Irvine Mission.
President Orgill called the luau a very special event.
“Most of our missionaries are coming tonight with their investigators and joining in with the young single adults,” he explained.
“The Polynesian Cultural Center has been around for 50 years and represents all of the best of the spirit of the islands. I had the privilege of traveling with the PCC promotional team for many years, and we performed at many missionary firesides. So as I was about to leave I asked if we could make a similar arrangement for the PCC to make a stop in Southern California and share the spirit of Aloha with the people here.”
Bishop Mark Walton of the San Clemente (YSA) Ward called the luau a highlight. He said he especially enjoyed singing with the PCC cast and hearing PCC performer testimonies following the performance.