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Intellect

BYU Homecoming Spectacular to "Go the Distance" Oct. 9-10

Will feature emcee LaVell Edwards, violinist Jenny Oaks Baker

Loving wives weep as their husbands join the Mormon Battalion and carry on as they await the return of their loved ones.

President Harry S. Truman takes to the skies when the Soviets block access to Berlin after World War II. These heroic efforts to bring food and supplies via the airwaves keep the city—and its freedom—alive.

Rex E. Lee, founding dean of the BYU Law School with a brilliant legal mind, serves as BYU president and successfully argues cases before the Supreme Court while battling the cancer that eventually takes his life.

All are people who knew how to “Go the Distance,” the theme of Brigham Young University’s Homecoming 2008, and will be a focus at the talent extravaganza known as Homecoming Spectacular.

The Spectacular, scheduled Oct. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center, will be emceed by legendary Cougar football coach LaVell Edwards and feature seven of the university’s foremost performing groups. Violin virtuoso Jenny Oaks Baker will be a guest performer. Tickets are available at byutickets.com or by calling 422-BYU1 or 1-800-322-BYU1.

“This is the one night of the year on campus when audiences get to see the best of the university performing groups,” says Janielle Christensen, artistic director. “They come together on one stage to do their very best numbers.”

Synthesis, Men’s Chorus, Living Legends, the International Folk Dance Ensemble, Dancers’ Company, Young Ambassadors and Cougarettes will fill the Marriott Center stage for an energetic evening of music, dance and song. “What you will see are people who have been fully committed and invested to be the best they can be,” says Michael Handley, Spectacular producer.

“Rex Lee is the Founder for Homecoming 2008, which really inspired us to think about what it means to go the distance,” says Christensen. “He exemplified being the best and enduring to the end in everything he did. Not only did he personify professional excellence, but he also endured and achieved even when struggling with health problems that might have stopped another person.

“Because we typically select founders from the early years of the university, Rex is the first one I have known personally. In addition to his accomplishments professionally and educationally, I knew him as an outstanding husband and father who went the distance within the walls of his own home. This was so obvious to everyone.”

A segment of the show will honor Lee and his legacy. Additionally, the show will contain elements that were dear to him. Lee served a mission in Mexico and traveled with Living Legends, then called the Lamanite Generation. “He had a great love for the young people from that culture—even to the point of stepping in and performing with them,” Christensen says. “'Spectacular' will include a number from the group that honors his affection for the country of Mexico.”

Handley and Christensen have added some fresh and imaginative elements for the 2008 production. They are showcasing two pieces they have produced for broadcast called “Berlin” and “Onward Alone.” Segments of the productions will be aired. “Berlin,” a musical Broadway-like telling of the Berlin air drop, was written by BYU alumnus Erik Orton.

As an additional new element, Men’s Chorus and the International Folk Dance Ensemble are combining for a premiere of Welsh folk songs that that will be danced and sung, and the evening, which will contain a few surprises for the audience, will conclude with a rousing finale, “Go the Distance.”

Writer: Brady Toone

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