Below a ceiling of thousands of tiny white lights, hundreds of people recently danced and celebrated in commemoration of the great legacy of faith, commitment and triumph of the Utah pioneers.
Approximately 1,500 attended the Sesquicentennial Ball on Feb. 22 held at Centennial Hall in downtown Mesa. The ball, entitled, "Faith in Every Footstep and in Every Dance Step, Too," was hosted by the Mesa Arizona East Stake.It served as a kick-off for this stake's year of commemorative activities.
Stake Pres. R. Wayne Johnson said in planning the ball he had envisioned a "gala event where everyone could come together to celebrate. I'm thrilled," he added. "This is exactly what I envisioned. I think the pioneer fathers would be pleased with the celebration."
Some came dressed in their formal attire of tuxedos and evening gowns. Everyone 16 and older was invited to attend, and many couples danced to a live swing band alongside parents and grandparents. Many stake members also brought friends and neighbors.
Several musical floor shows were presented, one featuring couples in the stake who had taken bi-weekly Friday-night dance lessons up to a year prior to the ball. Decorations included a replica of the Eagle Gate and a silhouette of the modern Salt Lake City skyline.
Prior to the closing prayer the first verse of "Come, Come, Ye Saints" was reverently sung by those attending the ball in tribute to the pioneers.
"That hymn has always been a part of my life," said MarJan Moulding, stake cultural arts director, who helped in planning the ball. "There was a spiritual feeling there. It helped us remember why we were there that night and why we were celebrating. It was a spiritual ending to a gala event."