"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
August 29, 2012
LDS Music Picks for All Ages
by Laurie Williams Sowby

This week’s “book” column turns musical, with a look (or is that a listen?) at three diverse and disparate albums geared toward LDS audiences. We’ll go in order, youngest to oldest (intended listeners, not artists).

Prolific songwriter Janice Kapp Perry, composer of this year’s Primary theme song, “As a Child of God,” offers a collection of new songs in an album of the same title, from Prime Recordings. The $19.98 price is as winning as the sweet voices singing the songs when you consider what you get. It includes two discs — a vocal CD to listen to and sing along with, and an instrumental CD for use as accompaniment. In addition, a PDF songbook makes it easy to print the words and music.

The well-selected young vocal artists are credited on the album cover alongside the titles of 17 new songs that reinforce gospel principles and values. Perry has written the lyrics for 10 of the songs, including “I’m Learning the Ways of Jesus,” “My Pathway will Lead to the Temple,” and a lovely two-part song, “I Will Say a Prayer.” Her cousin Joy Saunders Lundberg has contributed the words to three.

Rae J. Meyer wrote the lyrics for “When I Read the Book of Mormon,” and Bonnie Hart Murray is responsible for my three-year-old grandson’s much-requested favorite, “Two Thousand Stripling Warriors,” which features many of the singers as a choir.

This “children’s” album is professional throughout. Greg Hansen has done most of the instrumental arrangements, with “Warriors” arranged by Merrill Jenson.

Music from musicals takes center stage in a delightful album by BYU music-dance-theatre grad Sandra Turley in her self-titled debut album, Sandra Turley on Broadway, recorded on the Shadow Mountain label ($17.98).

Now a wife, mother, Washington, D.C.-area resident, and popular speaker and performer, Turley selected 12 upbeat tunes to reflect positive values and optimism, lending the songs much of her own personal sparkle.

If you’ve seen Wicked or Les Miserables, you’re likely to recognize not only the songs but the quintessential voice singing “Popular,” “For Good,” and “On My Own.” Turley played Cosette in Les Miz on Broadway, but she has amazing skill and all the vocal nuances to sound like the original actress in whatever show.

“The Girl in 14G,” from Thoroughly Modern Millie, is a delightful display of her vocal prowess and Songs like “Astonishing” from Little Women, “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera, and the title song from The Sound of Music couldn’t be a better fit for Turley in her debut album.

As large and imposing as the choir and orchestra who perform it is Glory! Music of Rejoicing, a sort of greatest-hits in the choral/orchestral music realm of grand religious music (Mormon Tabernacle Choir, now $11.99 at deseretbook.com).

No less than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square ought to be performing some of these selections from the likes of Gounod, Holst, Rossini, and Rimsky-Korsakov.

There are also hymns (“Hymn of Praise,” arranged by music director Mack Wilberg), folk hymns (“Pilgrim Song”), and several movie themes (John Williams’ “Exultate Justi” from Empire of the Sun and “Non Nobis, Domine,” a wonderfully evolving piece from Henry V in an arrangement by Sam Cardon).

Tenor Stanford Olsen shines in three selections, including “Nella Fantasia” from The Mission and “The Holy City.” Last of the 14 tracks is the crowning piece, a fitting “Ode to Joy,” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The jacket accurately describes the “unmistakable buoyancy of spirit” not just in the works themselves, but in their performances here.

(Just a small request: Please, please make the type on these CD covers easier to read in size and contrast. A person could go blind listening to Glory!)

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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