“Golden Days: A Celebration of Life” is the theme of the upcoming 85th birthday celebration for president Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), to be held in the Conference Center Friday, August 17, at 8 p.m.
Beloved Broadway selections and other favorites will be performed by guest artists, singer and actor Dallyn Vail Bayles, renowned tenor Stanford Olsen and singer and actress Rebecca Luker with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
“We are very pleased that these talented solo artists will be joining the choir to honor this great man,” said choir president Mac Christensen. “I happen to know the songs being performed will delight President Monson.”
Actress and recording artist Rebecca Luker recently starred in the world premiere of Maury Yeston’s Death Takes a Holiday, for which she received an Outer Critics Circle nomination. On Broadway she has appeared in and received Tony nominations for Mary Poppins, The Music Man and Showboat. She also performed in Nine, The Sound of Music, The Secret Garden and The Phantom of the Opera, in addition to appearing on television.
Distinguished American tenor Stanford Olsen, who made his Metropolitan Opera début on an hour’s notice as Arturo in I Puritani opposite legendary soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, is one of the world’s outstanding and versatile classical vocalists. His accomplishments in opera, concert, and recital span a career of nearly 30 years at the music world’s highest levels, singing with such opera companies as La Scala, San Francisco, Australian National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Dallyn Vail Bayles is a professional actor, singer and recording artist. He most recently performed with the Broadway touring company of The Phantom of the Opera, where he understudied and performed the roles of the Phantom and Raoul. He also performed in China, Korea, Canada and the United States with the Broadway tour of Les Misérables. Bayles portrays Hyrum Smith in the films Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration and Emma Smith: My Story.
To top it off, former San Francisco 49ers star quarterback and pro football Hall of Famer Steve Young will share master of ceremony duties with national network news anchor and author Jane Clayson Johnson.
During his 15-year National Football League tenure, Steve is the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history and was Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXIX. He is now a managing director and cofounder of Huntsman Gay Global Capital. Steve founded and chairs the Forever Young Foundation, which is actively involved in children’s charities worldwide, and is currently the broadcast host as well as the former international spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Many will remember Jane from her days in New York as the network anchor of The Early Show on CBS as well as her work on The CBS Evening News and 48 Hours. Before that, she was a correspondent at ABC News based in Los Angeles, where she reported for Good Morning America and World News Tonight. She began her television career as an intern at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. She is an author and a full-time wife and mother in Boston, Massachusetts.
“President Monson has served other people all of his life. I know that he’s more comfortable in that role than having any accolades focused on him,” said Young. “This celebration is a great way to let him know how much he is loved and appreciated. It’s a privilege to play a small part in that recognition.”
The evening will also take a nostalgic look back at President Monson’s illustrious life from his childhood, marriage and stint in the Navy during World War II to his decades of service. President Monson was called as a bishop of a congregation at age 22 and has served for nearly a half century as a general authority of the Church and ultimately as president.
“So many around the world have been influenced by President Monson’s warmth, compassion and genuine love of people,” said Ms. Johnson. “We celebrate and honor his extraordinary life of service and leadership.”
Ticket and telecast Information
All 21,000 tickets have been distributed for the program. Standby tickets for those without tickets will not be issued. However, patrons are invited to stand by for last-minute seating. The standby line will form at the north gate on Temple Square prior to the event.
The program will also be shown at various LDS stake centers over the Church satellite system on Saturday, August 18, with subsequent rebroadcasts to many areas of the world.
In addition, the performance will be rebroadcast in its entirety on BYUtv Saturday, August 18, at 7 p.m., Sunday, August 19, at 10 a.m. and Monday, August 20, at 3 a.m. MDT.
BYUtv International will broadcast the performance in Spanish and Portuguese Saturday, August 18, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 19, at 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. MDT.
KBYU Eleven will air the program on Sunday morning, August 19, at 7 a.m. MDT.