Encore Spring 2020

Young Ambassadors

Celebrating 50 Years

The Young Ambassadors perform to “Singin’ in the Rain” with singer Hilary Weeks at the BYU Spectacular! during Homecoming 2019.

The BYU Young Ambassadors is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the group’s first international performance, at Expo ’70, a world’s fair held in Osaka, Japan. Throughout the last 50 years, about 1,700 members of the Young Ambassadors have traveled thousands of miles, visited 68 countries, and met millions of new friends. 

In addition, 2020 marks the last year that the Young Ambassadors will be led by director Randy Boothe, who is retiring. For more than 40 years, he has guided the group with love, kindness, and selflessness. 

The Merced Theatre in California is a full house for the Young Ambassadors in February 2020.

From Boothe’s example, current and former members of the Young Ambassadors share light and joy to all those they meet. Some alumni work and perform for Broadway, national touring companies, cruise lines, regional theaters, schools, and studios. 

Husband and wife alumni Jon Uland and Whitney Uland toured with the Young Ambassadors to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 2014. Today they live in New York and work in the entertainment industry. Whitney produces and acts, working on commercials, television, and film. Jon produces and scores film for Warner Media; he also has a band. 

A 2014 issue of Utah Valley Magazine features the Young Ambassadors director Randy Boothe. Boothe received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from BYU–Hawaii and a master’s in music education from BYU.

The Ulands remember lessons from Boothe. “Randy always taught us to look out for the one person who needs our help. We live in a world that has so many needs,” says Whitney. “But you can make a difference in the world just by showing kindness to one person, and I am grateful my experience on the Young Ambassadors taught me that.” 

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the Young Ambassadors planned to tour Japan in May. In addition, current members and alumni prepared a reunion performance in late March with special guest Marie Osmond. However, due to COVID-19, the tour and special performance were canceled. The Young Ambassadors now plan to tour Japan in 2022. 

The Young Ambassadors tour the Great Wall of China in 1979 as BYU’s first performing group to visit China.

In January 2020, the Young Ambassadors visited Rexburg and Twin Falls, Idaho, and Afton, Wyoming. In that three-day tour, the group had two community outreaches and three performances. 

In February, the Young Ambassadors visited Reno, Nevada, and San Jose, Fresno, Oakland, and Merced, California. This midsemester tour included two community outreaches and four performances. 

The Young Ambassadors perform at the 2005 Meet in Beijing Arts Festival in Bell and Drum Tower Square outside Beijing’s historic Forbidden City.

Josh Roberts, an audience member in Rexburg, said of the Young Ambassadors, “They just brought a smile to my face every time they sang. . . . They will raise your spirits.” 

Members of the Young Ambassadors change, but the joy that audiences receive is constant. 

In Wrocław, Poland, in 1978 a BYU performer is backed by the Young Ambassadors Show Band.