Skip to main content

Ray Smith, Synthesis director, to present devotional address June 23

C. Raymond Smith of the School of Music will present a Brigham Young University devotional, “Depending on the Lord: Gospel Insights from a Musician,” Tuesday, June 23, at 11:05 a.m. in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium.

The devotional will be broadcast live on the BYU Broadcasting channels. Visit or for rebroadcast and archive information.

Smith joined BYU in the fall of 1982 to become the first-ever professor of saxophone and to take over the highly successful jazz ensemble of the university, Synthesis, which has toured and performed at many great jazz festivals around the world. Smith also has served the university for more than 20 years as the director of Jazz Studies.

Smith plays many instruments, including saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, ethnic flutes, recorders and the electronic wind instrument and has performed with every woodwind section in the Utah Symphony. He can be heard on more than 180 CDs and on many movie scores, radio and television jingles and Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcasts. For four years, he could be heard every morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Smith also founded The Utah Saxophone Quartet and the jazz group, Q’d Up. In 1998, he was given the Voice of Jazz Award for the State of Utah, and in 2008, he was recognized by the International Association for Jazz Education as the first Utah Jazz Master, a lifetime achievement award. He also has served on both the Utah Arts Council and the Orem Arts Council.

Smith has been married nearly 33 years to Debbie Nelson, and together they have eight children and 16 grandchildren. He has served in many church callings and is currently serving in the high priests group leadership of his Orem ward and teaching the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class.

He received a bachelor’s degree in music education from BYU, a master’s degree in woodwinds performance from Indiana University and a doctorate in woodwinds performance from Indiana University.

Writer: Lindsay Petersen

Smith, Ray 014.jpg

overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=