Pres. Hinckley's humor warms chilly audience
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President Gordon B. Hinckley dubbed the event, "Music and the Frozen Word" after the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed its weekly broadcast "Music and the Spoken Word" in the frigid Tuacahn outdoor amphitheater in southern Utah Sunday morning, April 9.
The choir and audience were greeted at Tuacahn, 10 miles northwest of St. George, Utah, by a chilling north wind pouring out of the canyon that serves as a backdrop to the facility. The cold was totally out of line in an area best known for its heat.President Hinckley warmed up the members of the audience, many huddled together under blankets, with humor at the beginning of remarks he delivered after the choir broadcast.
Gazing out over the audience he said, "In this cold and frigid wind we find that many are cold but few are frozen and we this morning have listened to music and the frozen word. It's nice to be here with you. Wonderful. Let's see, crack your faces just a little and smile. St. George is famous for its searing heat in the summer. I wish we could can a little of this morning and save it for July."
At that point the audience was cheered up, though still shivering.
"Well, what a wonderful occasion this is," President Hinckley continued. "This maiden voyage, as it were, of Tuacahn, the canyon of the gods, with the majestic music of this remarkable and wonderful choir. I regard this as the world's finest choir."
He commended choir members for their willingness to give of their time and talent in voluntary service.
Then he turned his attention to the setting, calling it a majestic place.
"How wonderful it is to be in these surroundings, cold as it is this morning, but on this Sabbath Day to think of the wonders of Him who is our Creator, our Father and our God."
President Hinckley thanked those who made Tuacahn possible, "those who had big dreams and great visions and others who have assisted them so substantially in bringing to pass what we have here this morning. And how fitting that the choir should, this Sabbath morning, carry the name of Tuacahn to a vast audience of many millions scattered over the earth.
"God bless them and each of us as we look to Him with faith and with respect and appreciation for the majesty and wonder of His creations and His goodness and kindness to us, His children."
The theme of the choir broadcast was also one of gratitude to God for His creations.
In spite of the beauty of the setting, the elements were bitter as the morning's activities began - temperatures near 40 degrees seeming much colder because of the wind. As the audience began arriving, choir members braced themselves against the cold as they rehearsed for the broadcast. They wore coats and hats and many were wrapped in blankets.
The choir reluctantly shed coats and blankets and President Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie, arrived just minutes before the broadcast began. President Hinckley wore a baseball cap as extra protection from the cold, tickling the audience.
As the broadcast began, the wind let up enough that the music came clearly through the speakers and the choir sang without any signs of discomfort amidst blowing hair and flapping sheet music.
Asked about the challenges of singing in the cold, associate director Donald Ripplinger said: "That's just one of those things. You just do what you have to do. That's just the troupers they are."