Five choirs from BYU-Idaho came together to perform at the Saturday afternoon session of the 194th General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6.

Over 400 students and five choral directors played a part in the musical program that afternoon. The choir was made up of students from the BYU-I concert choir, vocal union jazz choir, two women’s choruses and men’s chorus.

The choir sang four hymns: “We Will Sing of Zion,” “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son” and “How Great the Wisdom and the Love.”

Thomas Melone-Farr, a junior studying music education and a baritone in the concert choir, said the experience was an opportunity to learn more about the meaning behind hymns.

Womens

Women in the BYU-Idaho combined choir being led by choral director. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

“Whenever we sing hymns in sacrament meeting its awesome, its such a wonderful spiritual experience,” Melone-Farr said. “But I feel like this has given me an opportunity to spend each of the rehearsals… doing the whole hour of just hymns. We get to learn them so deeply and so intricately that I feel like the text starts to mean a little more and starts to get to me a little deeper.”

Randall Kempton, director of choral activities at BYU-I, confirmed that this has been a goal of the choral directors.

“We like to talk about the texts so (students) make connections with the hymns and the words that we’re singing,” Kempton said. “It needs to become personal because its like were singing these scriptures into our hearts and hopefully learning how to apply them in a new way, so that’s a very important part of the process.”

Kempton emphasized the importance of music at General Conference because it provides another way for the gospel to be taught during the session.

Atina Coates leads choir in their final performance of the session.

Atina Coates leads choir in their final performance of the session. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

“We are getting twenty minutes of time at this session, which is equal to a general conference talk,” Kempton said. “So the music is really also teaching the gospel in a way that the talks don’t, its with music, and there is a little pathway to the heart there, so we’re part of the messages of conference.”

BYU-Idaho has a long standing tradition of being invited to sing at General Conference every other year, alternating with choirs from BYU.

Jadyn Weber, a senior studying public health with a minor in music and the alto section leader in concert choir, shared her excitement to share her testimony through song as part of the choir.

Over 400 students made up the BYU-Idaho choir at General Conference.

Over 400 students made up the BYU-Idaho choir at General Conference. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

“Being able to sing in choir this semester and having invitation to go to General Conference is quite a rare opportunity, especially for it being my last semester,” Weber said. “It’s comforting to be able to have a unique experience where (we’re) able to sit behind the General Authorities and all the leadership of the Church. I love singing, so being able to have that opportunity to share my testimony with others and to represent the school. I think is such a humbling and marvelous experience.”

Watch the recording of the Saturday Afternoon session of General Conference here.