Service and music enrich Washington youth conference

Credit: Photo by Russ Kashow
Credit: Photo by Russ Kashow
Credit: Photo by Russ Kashow
Credit: Photo by Russ Kashow


“A Perfect Brightness of Hope” (2 Nephi 31:20) was the theme for the 2014 Regional Youth Conference and Music Festival held in Vancouver, Washington, this summer.

The conference culminated with a 720-voice youth choir and a 130-piece youth orchestra performing for a combined audience of over 9,000 in three public performances on Saturday, June 28, at the Clark County Fairground Event Center.

Youth, ages 14–18, from the Vancouver Washington Stake, Vancouver Washington East Stake, Vancouver Washington West Stake, Longview Washington Stake, Dalles Oregon Stake and Vancouver Washington North Stake participated.

Missionaries from the Washington Vancouver Mission attended and welcomed many guests to the three performances on Saturday. More than 200 adult volunteers participated each day in addition to the 100 team coaches.

Organizers said they saw the hand of the Lord in bringing the event together. Youth conference activities began in September 2013 with conference kickoff devotionals presented to each stake’s youth introducing the plans for the conference. The devotionals also introduced music the youth would be learning to participate in a youth choir, youth orchestra and dance teams for public performances to be given at the conclusion of the conference.

Music was selected to teach the principles found in 2 Nephi 31:20. Selections included many Mormon Tabernacle Choir pieces, including “Pilgrim Song,” “Thou Lovely Source of True Delight,” “O Light of Life” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The orchestra accompanied many of the numbers and also performed the symphonic suite from “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” Lori Collier and Jeff Swanson directed the choir and orchestra.

The conference included two service projects for local organizations, the Salvation Army Back-to-School Program and Janus Youth Program. The youth assembled 200 school backpacks for the Salvation Army and 1,200 hygiene kits and 350 sock kits for the Janus Youth Program, a local charity serving homeless youth in the Vancouver area. As a thank you to the Clark County Event Center, the youth cleaned 50 picnic tables.

The youth were also treated to a concert by Kenneth Cope. Speakers included President Bruce G. Randall of the Vancouver Washington North Stake; Elder Robert M. Call, Area Seventy; and Jon Collier, CES director.

Reflecting on the experience, conference co-director Dale Patterson said, “We felt the Lord’s involvement in this youth conference and know it was according to His will that these [youth] came together at this time, in this place, and for this experience that would impact their lives forever. Those who came with an open heart left with a greater commitment to become more like our Lord and Savior and with a greater desire to change so they can receive ‘a perfect brightness of hope.’ ”

Holly Roberts, a young woman who attended the conference, later wrote in an email, “Before the youth conference, I was struggling to know if Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were even there listening to me and if They cared. …

“But after those three days of singing, testimonies, and service, I have learned that They are really there listening to me and caring about me and that there is a point and to stay on the path. I would have never seen this brightness of hope come into my life if it wasn't for youth conference.”

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed