Noteworthy Shares Joy and Light

The classic Christmas carol “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was written in 1944, a year darkened by the tragedies of WWII. Featured in the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” the song quickly became a holiday anthem of hope. BYU Noteworthy recently released a beautiful a cappella take on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on YouTube to accompany their latest album. “Though the names and faces change through the years, that beautiful Noteworthy ‘sound’ and ‘vibe’ shine through with lovely clarity,” says a commenter on YouTube. Though the world has different troubles than it did in 1944, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” still brings encouragement to the downtrodden. “Thank you for making my Christmas much better thus far,” another commenter says. “You all sound so nice. First time away from my kids for Christmas and it tears me up. I have you all [on] in the background. Thank you again.” “I think what makes creating a music video so special is no matter how long of a day it may be or how many times we have to retake certain shots, at the end of the day, it’s just so rewarding,” reflects Randi Sanofsky, a member of Noteworthy. “We have the opportunity to bring joy and light into other people’s lives through music, and that’s such an amazing experience to be part of.” Watch Noteworthy’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” here.  Listen to Noteworthy’s “What Christmas Means to Me” album on Spotify and Apple Music.

BYU Singers Perform for the Quorum of the Twelve

Recently, BYU Singers had the opportunity to perform in the Area Committee meeting. “I had a meeting with Elder Christofferson, Elder Rasband, and Elder Gilbert later that day,” says Shane Wright, director of Performing Arts Management. They were each effusive in their praise for the powerful singing and inspiring feelings that resulted from the performance.” Commissioner of the Church Educational System Elder Clark G. Gilbert was also deeply impressed by the Singers’ work. The following are his comments regarding the experience. “The technical performance was remarkable, they brought spiritual hymns in as the backbone of the program, and they sang with the Spirit. They also had selected students share their backgrounds and why they love BYU. Without exception, these were powerful and inspiring comments. At the end of the program, Elder Holland had them shake the hands of each of the Twelve, which I’m sure will be memorable for the whole group. Please tell Andrew Crane and the performing students what a remarkable job they did representing the university and the Church.”

“His Promise is Peace For Those Who Believe”

When questioned why He chose to spend time with outcasts, Jesus replied, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick…I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12-13) Young Ambassadors recently released an inspiring cover of “Oh Come, All Ye Unfaithful” that echoes this truth. A twist on the classic Christmas hymn, the song is a beautiful reminder to those who worry that their flaws are irredeemable. “I love that this song invites all of God’s children to come to Christ, especially the ones who feel guilty, sin-ridden, vulnerable, and lost,” says artistic director Nathan Balser. I think it speaks to people because it reminds us that Christ didn’t come for the saint but for the sinner.” Watch “Oh Come All Ye Unfaithful” here.

Vocal Point Celebrates the Christmas Season with New Music Video

On December 1st, Vocal Point released a music video featuring their take on “This Christmas,” a holiday classic from R&B icon Donny Hathaway. Described by Rolling Stone as “a soul legend,” Hathaway was a brilliantly talented musician. He demonstrated a grasp of many different types of music during a time when the music industry sold records strictly by genre, so perhaps an arrangement of his song in a relatively new and modern style is very fitting. Vocal Point’s version of “This Christmas” is warm, cozy, and infused with their signature enthusiasm. You can’t help but feel excited for the season of giving to begin – watch “This Christmas” here!

Noteworthy Releases Stirring "Mary, Did You Know?" Music Video Featuring Peter Hollens

On November 9th, Noteworthy released a captivating rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?” featuring Peter Hollens. Hollens is a well-known a cappella artist and has collaborated with powerhouses such as David Archuleta, Jason Mraz, Lindsey Stirling, Gladys Knight, and the Piano Guys. The combined vocals of Noteworthy and Hollens are strikingly expressive, inviting the listener to reflect on Christ and His birth. The music video is part of Noteworthy’s “What Christmas Means to Me” album, which includes family favorites such as “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and uplifting classics such as “O Holy Night.” Get into the Christmas spirit with Noteworthy here!

BYU Musicians Perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 9

Widely regarded as the finest symphonic work of all time, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 has been performed over and over since its 1824 premiere. The work was nicknamed “the choral symphony” as it includes vocalists in the final movement. This creative choice broke the mold of the genre, which upset some purists. However, the symphony was greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm from the general public. By far the most loved movement of the symphony is the fourth, “Ode to Joy.” Beethoven experienced a slow decline of his hearing abilities as he aged, and was profoundly deaf by the time he wrote Symphony No 9. This tragedy only makes the lyrics of “Ode to Joy” more poignant. Adapted from a poem written by Friedrich Schiller, the song is an anthem of courage, peace, and unity in the face of hopelessness. “[Symphony No. 9 is] dedicated to all Mankind. Embracing all phases of human emotion, monumental in scope and outline, colossal in its intellectual grasp and emotional eloquence, the Ninth stands today as the greatest of all symphonies,” orchestra director Frederick Stock once said. On October 7th, the BYU Philharmonic and BYU Combined Choirs released a video of their performance of the symphony, recorded at the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle. The project was a massive undertaking, requiring the cooperation of many artists, directors, and tech experts. The final result is a resonant tribute to the human spirit that is just as inspiring as it was nearly two centuries ago. Experience “Symphony No. 9” here.

Folk Dance Ensemble Participates in Cultural Exchange

The most recent production from International Folk Dance Ensemble is an energetic performance of the traditional Hungarian dulándlé. This style of dance comes from the Kalotaszeg Region of Romania, an area committed to preserving traditional folk arts. The villagers preserve Hungary’s rich history of folk art with music, dance, embroidery, woodcarving, and painted furniture. Many of these distinctive elements are included in “Dulándlé,” particularly in the dancers’ ornately embroidered costumes. The video was filmed in Budapest during the ensemble’s June 2023 tour. In order to ensure the authenticity of the dance, BYU invited the renowned Hungarian choreographer Zsolt Juhász to campus. After learning from Juhász’ expertise and practicing for months, Folk Dance Ensemble brought the dance back to Hungary. While abroad, Folk Dance Ensemble and several other talented dance groups performed for each other, sharing the results of their hard work. The students deeply appreciated the opportunity to learn from world-class artists and found joy in sharing their light with others. Watch “Dulándlé” here!

BYU Singers Collaborates With Italian Composer Paolo Orlandi

Included in the first hymnbook of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the hymn “God is Love” has been sung in homes and chapels for nearly two hundred years. The lyrics were written by Thomas R. Taylor, an English poet and minister. He passed away at the age of 27 due to a chronic illness, but his legacy of faith lives on through his work. Taylor was recorded as saying, “what a glorious place heaven will be! And what is more delightful still, heaven will not be a place of rest and enjoyment merely, but I shall be actively employed in serving God…and showing forth my gratitude to him.” BYU Singers echoes this truth as they sing an arrangement of “God is Love” by Paolo Orlandi. An award winning Italian composer, Orlandi was specifically commissioned to write a piece of music for the Singers. Director Andrew Crane submitted several texts for Orlandi to choose from as they collaborated. Though Orlandi is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was moved by the lyrics of “God is Love.” The arrangement he wrote following this experience is nothing less than magnificent. The piece premiered at BYU Singers’ November concert, and a polished recording is now available on YouTube. The choir’s voices effortlessly blend together, creating a piece that feels less like a mere performance and more like a prayer of gratitude. There are many different Christian sects in the world, all varying in belief and practice. However, we all find strength in the knowledge that God loves us and wants us to find lasting joy. Listen to “God is Love” here.

Vocal Point Releases Powerful "Gratitude" Cover

On November 16th, Vocal Point released a touching cover of Brandon Lake’s “Gratitude.” Filmed in the stunning red rock canyons of Southern Utah, the song is perfect for the Thanksgiving season. The lyrics teach about the constant love and kindness that God shows us. “For us, this song is all about being thankful for what is most important in our lives, especially the gospel, family, and friends.” says artistic director Carson Trautman. One YouTube commenter shared the following experience: “Your performance of this song brought tears to my eyes. We lost seven immediate family members last January in a tragedy. It has been an incredibly hard, long year and much of it (was) spent in prayer. However, through all the pain and prayers the Lord has carried us through the darkness of grief. This song seems to explain exactly how I feel right now and I just want (to) show my immense gratitude and thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for carrying us through.” Watch “Gratitude” here!

Noteworthy Releases "O Come (Let Us Adore)" Music Video

Noteworthy consistently uplifts and inspires through music. Their arrangement of “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” is a particularly memorable example. With 74M views and 504K likes, the song has touched millions of lives. The group’s latest gospel piece “O Come (Let Us Adore)” is no exception. Filmed in the stunning Arbor Event Center in Idaho Falls, the song is a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season. The lyrics are a celebration of Christ’s birth and the light He brings to the world, and Noteworthy channels the joy of the season into their performance. “Noteworthy created something special with this video, and I can’t wait to stream this constantly in our home,” says one commenter. “This song revolutionizes Christmas and Christlike worship.” Listen to “O Come (Let Us Adore)” here to invite the Christmas spirit into your life!  

The Folk Revival Lives On Through Mountain Strings

While on tour in Hungary and Czechia, Mountain Strings filmed a cover of “Wave the Ocean,” a traditional American melody with lyrics by Tim and Mollie O’Brien. The song is inspired by the sounds of the Appalachian mountains, the birthplace of bluegrass and American folk music. Set against the backdrop of the rich harmonies and acoustic instruments that popularized the genre, “Wave the Ocean” tells a story of a young man who falls in love right before he is drafted into the military. “While filming…crowds of tourists would gather around us to watch as we played music and got footage for the video,” says Mountain Strings fiddler Ellie Geslison. “They would clap at the end of a take, and we had many of them come up to us and say they loved the music and ask where they could watch the video once finished. It was a really cool experience for me. I thought it was so cool how people from all over the world are drawn to music and I loved getting to share something that I am passionate about.” Watch “Wave the Ocean” here!

Vocal Point Enchants With New Cruella de Vil Cover

BYU Vocal Point astounds audiences once again with their sensational rendition of Cruella de Vil as part of their extraordinary Magic: Disney Through Time series. This captivating music video showcases the group’s remarkable vocal range and dynamic performance style, as they delve into the wicked and charismatic persona of one of Disney’s most infamous villains. With their trademark harmonies and innovative musical arrangements, BYU Vocal Point breathes new life into the iconic Cruella de Vil, leaving viewers spellbound. Prepare to be transported into a world of musical enchantment as this talented a cappella group continues to mesmerize us with their unique and unforgettable interpretations of Disney classics.

Young Ambassadors Releases Spirited “Don’t Stop Me Now” Music Video

In the first of three music videos filmed while on tour in the UK, Young Ambassadors covers Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now with all the energy and flair of the original. Soloist Anson Bagley infuses personality into his performance as he dances down the streets of Edinburgh and sings about defying the laws of gravity. Join Bagley and the rest of Young Ambassadors for their lively take on this classic glam rock hit.

Men’s Chorus Collaborates with BYU Irish Dance Club and BYU Celtic Ensemble

“Come let us use the grace divine, and all with one accord, in a perpetual covenant, join ourselves to Christ the Lord.” Arranged by Men’s Chorus director Brent Wells, “Grace Divine” is a powerful tribute to the strength God offers us. Set to the same tune as the beloved hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” the song has a spirited, courageous feel to it. The tune dates back to the Middle Ages, and has been used in many English and Irish folk songs. Appropriately, Men’s Chorus collaborated with BYU’s Irish Dance Club and Celtic Ensemble to create a dynamic performance that pays tribute to the song’s roots. Watch “Grace Divine” here!

Vocal Point's "MAGIC" Album Picks Up Momentum

There’s something about Vocal Point that is just unapologetically Vocal Point. Every performance is packed with color, confidence, and a flair for theatrics that leaves audiences demanding more. With 780k subscribers on YouTube and over a quarter million monthly listeners on Spotify, Vocal Point’s unique musical flavor has driven their work into the spotlight. The group’s most recent album, MAGIC: Disney Through Time, is no exception. Bursting with Vocal Point’s signature energy, the album includes favorites such as “When You Wish Upon A Star” from Pinocchio, “Remember Me” from Coco, and “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. Polished but unserious, nostalgic yet original, MAGIC was met with enthusiasm by longtime fans and new listeners alike. “(Disney) music always seems to bring back those feelings of childlike innocence, wonder, and heroic courage that so often fade away as we grow older.” says McKay Crockett, producer and former artistic director of Vocal Point. “Even though we all grow up, we don’t have to grow out of the MAGIC that comes with believing and remembering!” The album continues to gain traction as Vocal Point releases the accompanying music videos. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto was particularly successful, racking up 21 million views on YouTube. The latest release, “Cruella de Vil,” offers a modern twist on the classic song with all the glamor and drama of the original. “Seriously, who choreographed this? I need to thank them” says one commenter. “Awesome moves, awesome voices!” says another. Infused with the lifeblood of youth, creativity, and passion, Vocal Point has the world of music eagerly waiting to see what they’ll do next. Find out for yourself here.