BETA

Jubilee

Cast of thousands celebrate in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The May 21, 2005, journal entries for thousands of LDS youth in Texas likely read much the same:

Danced the "Cotton-Eyed Joe" with new friends from San Antonio, Laredo and Austin and many other cities. Performed in front of Mom and Dad at the Alamodome. Raised my hand high when Elder M. Russell Ballard asked if I planned to serve a mission. Listened to a prophet's voice.

Flamboyant skirts and costumes inject color in Mexican folk  dance. San Antonio boasts a strong Latino heritage and influence.
Flamboyant skirts and costumes inject color in Mexican folk dance. San Antonio boasts a strong Latino heritage and influence. Photo: Photo by Jason Swensen

All memorable moments from a once-in-a-lifetime evening.

A cast of some 4,300 young adults, youth and Primary children from the San Antonio Texas Temple District danced, sang and marched together May 21 as part of the "Heart of Texas Youth Jubilee," a colorful, joyful pageant celebrating the restored gospel, a new temple, America and all things Texas.

An estimated 20,000 spectators gathered inside the Alamodome football stadium in downtown San Antonio. They were treated to lively dances, a few "Yellow Roses" and wranglers on horseback and the polished performances of young LDS Texans eager to share their talents and testimonies.

Prior to the jubilee, the entire cast and support crew — which included some 2,400 adults — sat on the Alamodome floor to listen to the devotional messages of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Elder Ballard and other General Authorities. The Church leaders were then whisked to a viewing area in the stadium to take in the musically diverse program.

Kristen Phillips, 15, focused on each step as she performed in a pioneer dance, the foot-stomping Cotton-Eyed Joe number and perhaps the largest line dance in Lone Star State history. She knew President Hinckley was watching.

"You were performing for someone very important and you wanted to do your best," said Kristen, a Mia Maid in the Encino Park Ward, San Antonio North Texas Stake.

Dancers on the center stage kick off Heart of Texas Jubilee in front of thousands at the Alamadome. The event included a variety of Texas-flavored song and dance numbers.
Dancers on the center stage kick off Heart of Texas Jubilee in front of thousands at the Alamadome. The event included a variety of Texas-flavored song and dance numbers. Photo: Photo by Jason Swensen

Cast members spent months preparing for the jubilee, and the entire city was invited. Musical themes reached back into Texas history from the time of the Indians and included festive Mexican folk dances, polka numbers, Western waltzes, a tribute to families and American military personnel, and a celebration of modern-day prophets and temple building.

"I thought the (jubilee) was absolutely spectacular," said Elder Ballard, adding he envisioned thousands of future missionaries as he watched the cast members perform.

"They sang and danced together and had a good time knowing the president of the Church was there participating with them."

Elder M. Russell Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, arrive for May 21 Alamodome events.
Elder M. Russell Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, arrive for May 21 Alamodome events. Photo: Phots by Jason Swensen
A lone horseman hits his stride during a dramatic portrayal of the Mormon pioneer experience. The events prompted by the gospel's restoration played a prominent role in the pageant.
A lone horseman hits his stride during a dramatic portrayal of the Mormon pioneer experience. The events prompted by the gospel's restoration played a prominent role in the pageant. Photo: Photo by Jason Swensen
The Alamo remains a lasting symbol of San Antonio and frontier pride. The San Antonio Texas Temple is expected to be popular with LDS visitors to city.
The Alamo remains a lasting symbol of San Antonio and frontier pride. The San Antonio Texas Temple is expected to be popular with LDS visitors to city. Photo: Photo by Jason Swensen
The football stadium's massive floor provided plenty of space for the thousands who participated in the jubilee.
The football stadium's massive floor provided plenty of space for the thousands who participated in the jubilee. Photo: Photo by Jason Swensen

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