Red. White. Blue. Blood. Tears. Journeys. Trials. Faith.
These are the words and themes that encapsulated the annual performance of Patriots and Pioneers on Saturday, June 30.
Guest singer Dallyn Vail Bayles and BYU-Idaho students — in the orchestra’s black attire, the choir’s red velvet tops and bow ties, and the dancer’s cultural costumes — took the BYU-Idaho Center stage on Saturday night, bringing the audience to their feet with their closing song of “Know This, That Every Soul is Free.”
BYU-Idaho’s Department of Music began the annual tradition in 2012 and has carried it out ever since. The production honors patriot and pioneer heritage and welcomes military personnel and their families as special guests.
After the posting of the colors and the congregational singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and several other patriotic tunes, military personnel were asked to stand to be honored for their service.
Hundreds of men and women stood. Applause erupted in the nearly-bursting hall.
Emma-Lee Winfield, a sophomore studying horticulture, said the concert was a tribute to the courage of the many that have given their lives for their countries, families and faith.
“(Hardships) bring out characteristics in people — sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s bad,” Winfield said. “But we do see instances where people have to be courageous and say ‘This is what I believe, this is what I stand up for. And I’m going to put my life on the line for that.’”
Families of military personnel were then asked to stand, and the audience reaction was the same. The choir sang “Wherever You Are,” with photographs of soldiers on the BYU-I Center screens.
Bayles walked onstage and sang “Bring Him Home,” from Les Miserables, a medley of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” and “Praise to the Man,” and other musical selections.
Between numbers, Bayles told stories of his pioneer ancestors, crossing the plains and enduring severe hardships in order to reach the western Zion.
“He was so sincere when relaying the stories of his ancestors and inspired a lot of us choir members — and I’m sure the audience as well — that we could endure any hardship that was placed upon us,” said Jennifer Hull, a member of the choir and a freshman studying business management. “His voice is beautiful and I would love to perform with him again.”
Through a variety of patriotic songs, traditional tunes and hymns, patriots and pioneers were remembered and honored through the annual performance.
“I think it’s important to hear the stories of the pioneers to put in perspective what they went through because they believed the gospel and wanted to follow the prophet,” said Rachel Medley, a freshman majoring in general studies.