Encore Fall 2023

Living Legends

Cultural Odyssey

Members of the Polynesian section perform for members of the Church after a joint service project at Te Fare Natura.

In early May, BYU Living Legends kicked off their summer by heading overseas to breathtaking New Zealand. Their first day in Auckland started with a special performance for the Pacific Area Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. News media professionals were also present at the performance and interviewed several of the students about their performing experiences and cultural heritage.

For the rest of the week, Living Legends students spent their time hosting outreaches at the Auckland University of Technology and the Manukau Stake, learning about local history, and performing at venues and high schools in the area. In addition to a VIP reception and performance for local dignitaries at the Aotea Centre, another memorable experience occurred during the group’s tour of Oneroa, the main township on Waiheke Island. After enjoying fish and chips at a restaurant called The Local, Living Legends sang a song for the restaurant staff. One of the restaurant owners told group members, “The singing was the most special moment we have experienced during our nine years of owning The Local. It was very emotional for us both and a memory that will stay with us for quite some time.”

Members of Living Legends meet with dignitaries attending a VIP reception prior to the performance at the Aotea Centre in Auckland.

The group’s second week was filled with shows and outreaches, concluding with a performance at the Wellington Opera House, with Elder K. Brett Nattress of the Pacific Area Presidency and several ambassadors in attendance.

When their time in New Zealand came to an end, Living Legends departed for the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia, where highlights included hosting an outreach activity with Mayor Tearii Te Moana Alpha of Teva I Uta for local primary school students and performing twice at the Grand Théâtre in Papeete. After Living Legends took final bows, community leaders presented the dancers with gifts.

BYU dancer Kelina Anderson wows with a Native American hoop dance at Mahaiatea School in French Polynesia.

“After our last performance, we were treated to a farewell song by our audience in Tahiti,” one student performer says. “It felt right and complete. The Spirit brought there through love was truly amazing.” That unity and appreciation reflected the warmth that members of Living Legends felt in their hearts throughout the trip. They will forever cherish the memories they made during their three weeks abroad.

Living Legends poses with the audience at the Wellington Opera House following their final performance in New Zealand.