So glad to see you again.....
Even though the temperature is squelching, these youth didn't seem to mind. Their hearts were filled with music from the live country band. It's pre-pageant activities in the park until dusk, then the live pageant begins.
Pageant performers are totally separate from the site missionaries. Pageant families came from all over the country, hundreds of them, to perform in this popular pageant during the month of July. They danced and sang every night for two weeks, and then another crew came in for the remainder of the month.
This amazing gentleman is Dallyn Bayles, a professional actor, singer and recording artist. He played Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Pageant (below) and a lead role in the British Pageant. Dallyn has performed with the Broadway touring companies of The Phantom of the Opera and with Les Miserables. In one word, STUNNING.
You'll never see a group of performing missionaries sing and dance like this anywhere else. These young college-age students are the finalists after thousands try out to spend their summer in Nauvoo. The schedule is grueling, but what an incredible experience for them to spread the spirit of Nauvoo and testify of joy. Elder Contreras (center) broke his foot while performing, and the young men gathered for one last picture before Elder Contreras was sent home to heal.
Sunset By The Mississippi is performed on an out-door-stage every evening beginning Memorial Day weekend through mid-August. The young performing missionaries and the senior missionaries combine their talents with the Nauvoo Brass Band. The program has group numbers as well as speciality numbers. My favorites are a trio of three trombones and of course, the drum solo.
Check out the temperature! More importantly, look at the humidity and the "feels like" temperature. The horses were sent to the barn, but we still performed! We smiled and the audience came, thousands of them. We tried our best to hide how miserable we were!
Ever tried "gunnysack" racing, or walking on stilts? Hand cart races and pioneer games of every kind kept the youngsters happy. You can bet your lunch that Tom didn't do much jumping in this grain sack!
BYU International Dancers performed live for two weeks in June on the outdoor stage in Nauvoo. If you ever have a chance to go see them, don't hesitate. They are extremely good.
Summer days are filled with historical vignettes and evening programs on outdoor stages. One of the Nauvoo stars is the drummer, Elder Fjeldsted. He does a solo with both feet and hands going at an impossible pace. Then the crowd goes crazy!
Performing sisters from the Nauvoo Brass band, Sisters Young, Dalton and Grounds..
Left: Sister missionaries, Stirling, Heninger, Schenck, and Yata
Young performing missionaries sang for a special memorial program at Carthage on June 27. This program marked the historic day of June 27, 1844. It was on that day the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered by a savage mob in the Carthage Jail.
It's not just tourists that visit Nauvoo in July. Water lilies bloom in abundance along the shallow parts of the Mississippi near Nauvoo. Huge leaves of foliage and glorious lilies grow for miles along the edges of the river.
Remember in the spring when I was transplanting the seedlings in the greenhouse? I helped plant coleus in May in the Women's Garden. Look at them now - just showing off their colors. The plants think they are still in the greenhouse because it's hot and humid outdoors too. All of Nauvoo is full of gardens and pots like these.
Rendezvous performances happen in the historic Cultural Hall every night of the year (except Sunday.) All of the missionaries are divided into three different casts, and ours is called Lucy Mack. In this scene the women sing: "Come walk the streets of Old Nauvoo, Meet me at Kimball and Main. We'll stroll along to Water Street, then past the Red Brick Store again..."
"Then when the battle is past and gone, And we're as grains in the sands of time, Let it be written there upon, We did it willingly, willingly, willingly, Because we want to!"
This scene is very powerful with 30 men marching across the stage, brandishing their rifles and singing their battle song.
The Angells, from St. Anthony, ID, were central figures in our cast. Family illness caused them to leave their mission early, and they said their "goodbyes" during the month of July. Elder Angell was a part of the teamsters and the editor in Rendezvous. Sister Angell was a fellow quilter and dear friend. They are terribly missed.
One of my dreams was to be an archeologist and find relics and antiquities of great value. When a sign was posted for volunteers to help in the dig to locate the original foundation of the Samuel Smith home, I was right there. I didn't get into the hole and move dirt around, but I was enlisted in cleaning, identifying and tagging the recovered artifacts. Here I'm looking at a bone toothbrush with four or five boar hairs still stuck in the brush end. They told me it was the most valuable find of the day.
Oh, yes, the beautiful sewing room! There are eight sewing machines and four sergers in this well appointed costume center. During the winter we will make "pre-fabs" which consist of the skirt and the sleeves. When the new missionaries come next spring they will pick out their favorite pre-fab, and then we will fit and sew the bodice, add on the skirt and sleeves and the dress is done. Every sister gets three dresses, and once we finish all of those they could order a fourth dress! There's just no way we could make all of those dresses without the pre-fabs already completed. As a note, most dresses take seven yards of fabric! That's a serious skirt!
July brought visitors from home which was a true blessing. They came at a time when we needed a few cheers and hugs to keep us going. Our dear friends, Caroline and Jim Walters were with us five days. The Dallings were able to attend church with us and share a meal. I didn't get a picture of Nancy and Fred Gill, but they popped in to see us too. We are so thankful for our family and dear friends. May God continue to bless you, to protect you and shine his countenance upon you. Love from us in Nauvoo