BYU-Idaho Center Stage had their annual Patriots and Pioneers concert July 9 with George Dyer as their soloist.

Dyer, an opera singer, joined more than 200 students, including men’s and women’s choirs and the symphony band, according to the BYU-Idaho Center Stage website.

“We celebrate the men and women who worked, fought and sacrificed so that all who came after them could enjoy freedom and faith in this promised land,“ said Rebecca Lord, the artistic director for the concert.

Emma Bowler, a singer for the women’s choir and a freshman studying music, said she loves the theme of the concert.

“I really connect with the theme of this concert, especially because it’s so close to July 4, and the 24 of July, Pioneer Day,” Bowler said. “This concert connects both our Founding Fathers as well as our pioneer ancestors.”

Lord said she chose the theme of “pioneering spirit” after praying and seeking to know what would be the most valuable message for the student performers and the audience.

Bowler said this concert will bring the pioneer spirit to campus and help the students remember their ancestors.

“I love to sing songs that inspire, that engender people to action, to be better and to do things, and patriotic music does that,” Dyer said. “We need that; we need more patriots in our country, and we need more people to rekindle that fire of patriotism that may be dying down.”

Dyer said people who have never left this country will never realize how fabulous this country this is and how blessed its citizens are.

“The Patriots and Pioneers concert will pay homage to all of the patriots and pioneers who have come before us, as well as the modern day patriots and pioneers in our lives,” said Matthew Harrison, a singer from the men’s choir and a freshman studying theatre.

Harrison said they sang songs such as “Come, Come Ye Saints,” a song that was sang a lot during the pioneer area, as well as a medley of military anthems.

“The music was chosen as a salute to the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force and all U.S. armed forces,” Harrison said.

Bowler said her favorite songs to sing are patriotic songs and spiritual songs about her pioneers because they make her feel inspired.

“Singing those songs makes me want to study the Founding Fathers and to remember them,” Bowler said. “Those songs help me to remember why freedom is so important and why they did what they did so we can have the freedom that we have today.”

Dyer said it is imperative that people keep music like this in the forefront. He said when people celebrate the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day, music expresses thoughts and ideas better than anything else.

“The concert was really great; there were a lot of great performances,” said Jacob Cheadle, a soldier in the U.S. Army and sophomore studying exercise physiology. “I really liked the salute to arms they had to all the U.S. military branches. I thought it was really respectful.”

Cheadle said it is nice to have an event that celebrates patriotism because it is a reminder for the community to draw awareness to those who fight for this country and those who fought for the creation of country.

“I thought it was amazing and wonderful, and I loved it,” said Evada Bitter, an Idaho Falls resident.

Bitter said she liked when they showed the pictures of the pioneers out on the plains because she has ancestors that came out in handcart companies.

“My daughter and I stood up when they played music honoring the four branch services because my husband flew in the Pacific during World War II,” Bitter said. “It was an emotional moment for us.”