Both Cameron Blake and his wife, Dana Blake, described the Saturday afternoon session of the 191st Semiannual General Conference as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Not only were the couple able to perform as members of the multicultural choir, but they were able to feel the personal acknowledgment of a Prophet of God.
Following Sister Rebecca L. Craven’s “amen” in the Saturday afternoon session, President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson — instead of exiting the Conference Center auditorium — bolted up the stairs behind the podium to the choir seats.
“He told us, ‘Thank you so much and it sounded beautiful,’” Cameron Blake recalled to the Church News.
He and Sister Nelson then waved and blew kisses. The 180-member choir of Church members from stakes throughout Utah represented 39 countries and 35 languages from six continents.
“We felt [President Nelson’s] love for us and the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through him,” Cameron Blake said.
“It was so special,” added Dana Blake.
At the conclusion of the session, as the choir gathered on the steps of the plaza outside the Conference Center to take photos, music director Jamie Kalama Wood told choir members that the Prophet asked her: “How did you do it? They sound just like the Tabernacle Choir.”
In a final impromptu number, the excited choir members then sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.”
Choir member Leticia Bishop said she was “sobbing like a baby” when President Nelson approached the choir. The Spirit witnessed to her that President Nelson is a Prophet of God.
Performing in the choir definitely felt like a tender mercy, she said. “Heavenly Father reserves special moments just for us. … I’m so glad I acted when I saw the email about participating in the choir.”
In a social media post the day before the choir performed, Thom Reed, deputy chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch, shared a little bit about the multicultural choir and his experience preparing to sing for general conference.
Members of the choir originally applied in February 2020 and were selected to perform in April 2020 general conference.
After COVID-19 changed general conference’s format, including no live performances, the choir was put on standby for 16 months until June of this year, when it was informed of the First Presidency’s decision to permit the choir to sing.
“It has been a personal sacrifice and a sacrifice for my family to devote the time necessary to adequately prepare both spiritually and vocally for this opportunity,” said Reed, who serves as bishop of the Eastlake 3rd Ward, South Jordan Utah Eastlake Stake.
Following the choir’s performance, Reed told the Church News that he was still “basking in the spirit” of the experience. “It is something I’ll cherish.”
Cameron Blake said he and his wife are “so excited” to tell their three children — ages 7, 5 and less than a year — that they saw the Prophet.
Dana Blake said the entire experience — performing in general conference and President Nelson’s recognition of their efforts — felt like answers to their prayers. The gospel is being spread to all nations and peoples. It was a privilege, she said, to be able to be a visual representation of that.