The story behind an inspirational <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJjaZhNUg6Y”>YouTube video with Cache Valley ties</a> is bigger than a single person or a single family’s experience. In the two weeks since it was posted on March 23, the video has received more than 250,000 views, going viral on YouTube and Facebook with its profound and universal message of healing.
Produced by the Utah-based <a href=”http://arkstudiosmediagroup.com/”>Ark Studios Media Group</a>, the 7-minute recording features the <a href=”http://lyceumphilharmonic.com/”>American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic Orchestra</a> playing a stirring rendition of “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” arranged by acclaimed pianist and composer <a href=”http://www.marshallmcdonaldmusic.com/”>Marshall McDonald</a>. Filmed on location at Bonneville Salt Flats and at Hidden Springs Ranch in Altamont, Utah, the video enriches the orchestra’s stunning live performance with cutaways to a young woman (portrayed by Lyceum musician Molly McMurtrey) weeping at a gravesite, praying in her bedroom and playing her own violin. Her experience is interwoven with scriptures from the New Testament and images of Jesus Christ. The story’s figurative punctuation is “light.”
“The sun was just going down as they finished filming,” said Lisa Henderson, whose son Joseph plays both cello and tuba in the orchestra. “It was kind of neat because the lighting had changed and ended up creating different effects than we originally expected.”
Joseph, a senior at Ridgeline High School, had the opportunity to begin playing in the prestigious Lyceum Philharmonic, based at <a href=”https://www.american-heritage.org/”>American Heritage School</a> in American Fork, last year. Sarah Daines, a senior at Mountain Crest, was able to join the orchestra this year. The students travel nearly two hours each way to attend weekly rehearsals.
“I’ve been impressed with the dedication of all these kids and with their director, Kayson Brown,” Lisa Henderson said. “I was amazed as we filmed the video to think about how much they’ve sacrificed and how committed they’ve been. Each time they played, the students gave it their best, and Kayson directed them with never-ending energy and positivity.”
Brown, a former Logan resident, coordinated the production of the film, entitled “If You Could Hie to Kolob / Dives and Lazarus,” after recognizing how poignantly the music featured in the piece had the potential to touch lives.
“Music is something that has an incredibly unique power to heal when we can’t find words, when words aren’t enough,” he said. “This piece, more than others, thins the veil and helps us feel close to those who we can still feel but no longer see.”
“If You Could Hie to Kolob / Dives and Lazarus,” said Brown, is a tribute to that connection. While it was originally filmed last October, Brown said the release of the video was timed to coincide with the celebration of Easter and its message of hope and new life.
“At certain points [during filming],” he said, “the spirit was so strong I could barely keep my knees from buckling. It was just so powerful. All the kids felt it. When you watch the video, you can see the emotion on their faces.”
As Joseph Henderson described what it was like to play his cello with the Lyceum Philharmonic—on pristine desert sand in the fading light of dusk—he spoke with deep reflection.
“The music out there just seemed to open up like I’d never heard it do before,” he said. “It’s like the notes rang in the air. Being right in the center of the orchestra and being able to hear everything going on really struck me hard.”
During times when words are not adequate, he said, music can help people find peace in their hearts and the strength to persevere. The music and lyrics expressed by “If You Could Hie to Kolob” have especially personal, private significance for Joseph and his family that he hopes can likewise benefit others.
“As we think of a better place or things that could be better in our lives in times of darkness, we can look forward with faith to something brighter, <a href=”https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/kolob”>Kolob</a> in this sense,” Joseph said. “I hope people out there watching the video are able to feel that, to reflect on their own lives and through that introspection remember times of hardship where they eventually prevailed…or ponder a time of hardship that they’re experiencing now and have this music and this message of hope and light lift them up and give them the faith to endure.”
The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic is comprised of 100 student musicians from more than 30 high schools throughout Utah. The award-winning orchestra has performed internationally and has collaborated with many leading music industry professionals, including platinum-selling artists Jackie Evancho and David Archuleta; Billboard-topping artists The 5 Browns, The Piano Guys, Paul Cardall and Jenny Oaks Baker; and GRAMMY award winners Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Igor & Vesna Gruppman (Rotterdam Philharmonic) and country music legend Michael Martin Murphey. The Lyceum Philharmonic has released three albums, has been featured on PBS and has recorded for SONY Masterworks. “<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJjaZhNUg6Y”>If You Could Hie to Kolob / Dives and Lazarus</a>” is dedicated to Rand Henderson (1960-2016) and his family.
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