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President Monson's birthday celebration: 'Bouquet of memories'

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At the conclusion of a program Aug. 17 in celebration of his 85th birthday, President Thomas S. Monson said, "I echo the words of the Scottish writer and poet James Barrie, who wrote, 'God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.' Tonight I have received an entire bouquet of memories."

President Thomas S. Monson, with members of his family, joins in standing ovation for performers in program held in his honor, "Golden Days, A Celebration of Life."
President Thomas S. Monson, with members of his family, joins in standing ovation for performers in program held in his honor, "Golden Days, A Celebration of Life." Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The bouquet expanded from real to symbolic. Dozens of roses decorated the stage of the Conference Center, complemented by spoken and musical tributes. The roses had dual significance: the program was titled "Golden Days: A Celebration of Life," and they were yellow, President Monson's favorite color.

The program was hosted by Jane Clayson Johnson, Emmy-award winning national news correspondent and former co-host of "The Early Show" on CBS; and Steve Young, college and professional football Hall of Fame quarterback and founder of the Forever Young Foundation.

Mack Wilberg, above, and Ryan Murphy, below, conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during "Golden Days, A Celebration of Life." Songs from some of President Thomas S. Monson's favorite Broadway musicals were part of the program.
Mack Wilberg, above, and Ryan Murphy, below, conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during "Golden Days, A Celebration of Life." Songs from some of President Thomas S. Monson's favorite Broadway musicals were part of the program. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The musical portion of the program featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, directed by Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy.

Some of President Monson's favorite Broadway classics were incorporated into the program. It was said he has seen the musical "Annie" performed in 11 languages.

Three guest singers added their voices to the program:

After a program in the Conference Center celebrating his 85th birthday, President Thomas S. Monson poses for a photo with hosts and artists who performed in his honor: Steve Young, left, Jane Clayson Johnson, Stanford Olsen, Rebecca Luker, President Monson, Dallyn Bayles. Ron Gunnell, assistant to the president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is at right.
After a program in the Conference Center celebrating his 85th birthday, President Thomas S. Monson poses for a photo with hosts and artists who performed in his honor: Steve Young, left, Jane Clayson Johnson, Stanford Olsen, Rebecca Luker, President Monson, Dallyn Bayles. Ron Gunnell, assistant to the president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is at right. Photo: Photo by DebraGehris

Rebecca Luker has performed on Broadway, television and concert stages throughout the world. Her award-winning Broadway roles include Winnifred in "Mary Poppins," Marian in "The Music Man," Maria in "The Sound of Music," "Lily in "The Secret Garden," and Christine in "The Phantom of the Opera." Also, she has had leading roles in off-Broadway and regional theaters.

Stanford Olsen is a tenor with the Metropolitan Opera who has performed in opera houses throughout the world. He regularly appears with the world's top orchestras and conductors, and his recordings have received both critical praise and Grammy nominations. A Utah native, he has performed many times with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Hosts and guest artists sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the conclusion of a program in the Conference Center honoring President Monson on his 85th birthday.
Hosts and guest artists sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the conclusion of a program in the Conference Center honoring President Monson on his 85th birthday. Photo: Photo by Debra Gehris

Dallyn Vail Bayles is a professional actor, singer and recording artist. A Brigham Young University graduate, the Utah native has toured with the companies of "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserabl├ęs." He has portrayed Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Pageant and Hyrum Smith in the films "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" and "Emma Smith: My story." He has performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and has recorded two solo albums.

Mack Wilberg, above, and Ryan Murphy, below, conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during "Golden Days, A Celebration of Life." Songs from some of President Thomas S. Monson's favorite Broadway musicals were part of the program.
Mack Wilberg, above, and Ryan Murphy, below, conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during "Golden Days, A Celebration of Life." Songs from some of President Thomas S. Monson's favorite Broadway musicals were part of the program. Photo: Photo by DebraGehris

The program included the following musical selections:

"I Think the World Is Glorious," by Alexander Schreiner.

"Trail Builders' Hymn," by Theodore E. Curtis Sr.

"Golden Days," by Sigmund Romberg, from "The Student Prince."

"Tomorrow," by Charles Strouse, from "Annie."

"All I Ask of You," by Andrew Lloyd Webber, from "Phantom of the Opera."

"You Raise Me Up," by Rolf Loveland and Brendan Graham.

"There But for You Go I," by Frederick Loewe, "Brigadoon."

"Consider the Lilies," by Roger Hoffman

"Bring Him Home," by Claude-Michel Shonberg, from "Les Miserabl├ęs."

"Seventy-Six Trombones," by Meredith Wilson, from "The Music Man."

"Memory," by Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Cats."

"The Holy City," by Stephen Adams.

"If the Way Be Full of Trial, Weary Not," by John R. Sweney.

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