Front Row Reviewers

Mar 1, 2024 | Reviews

Hear a Joyful Noise with Converted Unto the Lord from Heart+Voice

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Alayna Een and Eliza Een

Converted Unto the Lord is a sacred oratorio premiering this February. The source material for the oratorio comes from one of the most beloved sections of the Book of Mormon, a sacred text for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story begins with Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah (Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni) misleading people and encouraging them to ignore the words of prophets. Alma’s anguished parents pray for his heart to be softened and for him to return to the Lord, and Alma is visited and chastened by an angel. The experience leaves Alma in a comatose state, from which he emerges days later with a newfound faith in and conversion to the Lord because of a miraculous vision. The sons of Mosiah are also converted, and they decide to go among the Lamanites—a separate tribe that is unfamiliar with the word of God—to share the message of joy and repentance that comes only through Jesus Christ. The oratorio continues with the dramatic story of Ammon among the people of King Lamoni and then shows Aaron teaching King Lamoni’s father. Both of these groups experience miraculous conversion to the Lord that both of these groups experienced. Finally, Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah are unexpectedly reunited and rejoice in the goodness of God, which they have come to know by teaching His words.

With dozens of vocal soloists and a robust ensemble accompanied by an orchestra, Heart+Voice provides a full musical experience. The natural talent of the individuals is clear, and when the group sings together, they pair sincerity of expression with musical excellence. The songs for Converted Unto the Lord are creative reimaginings of scripture verses and related words that highlight additional perspectives from people in the story. A cast of four narrators (Judy Schnebly, Nicole Schraedel, Paige Fowler, Rachel Shaw) keep the thread of the story going between songs. 

I especially appreciated the songs and perspectives provided by female soloists, particularly the humble yearning of Alma the Elder’s Wife (Julia Gee) and the sincerity of King Lamoni’s Wife (Hannah Nelson). Another beautiful female solo is “Waiting Upon the Lord,” performed by Heather Schraedel as Abish. As the themes of faith are explored in Act 1, we are graced with several beautiful songs between fathers and sons. In “Pained No More!” Alma the Elder (Dan van Ormer) and Alma the Younger (Jefferson Murdock) marvel at the latter’s deliverance made possible through the grace of God. King Mosiah (Grant Rigby February 18, 24-25; Daniel Beck March 2–3) wrestles with love for his sons and acceptance of their choice to leave.

In “It Is He,” Ammon (Luke Urry), Aaron (Salmon Gee), Omner (Gavin Hatch February 18, 24-25; Grant Rigby March 2-3), and Himni (Soren Stowell) join in beautiful harmony to witness of their revelation to become missionaries. The voices for each of the sons of Mosiah are well matched to their missionary experiences, showing boldness, unwavering faith, and for Salmon Gee’s Aaron, a mournful tone as he laments the stubbornness of the Lamanite people. 

The sons of Mosiah are joined by Murdock (Alma the Younger) in Act 2 for “I Will Boast of my God,” which leads into the finale of the show. Throughout the oratorio, the choir supports the vocal soloists and adds depth to the storytelling, emphasizing and often repeating words we have heard before. This is especially evident in the final chorus of the oratorio, which leaves the audience pondering one of the central ideas of the performance, “nothing can separate us from His love.” A studio orchestra supports the singers and adds layers of meaning, with certain instruments assigned to spiritual motifs. These careful compositions are a credit to director, composer, and performance pianist Rachel Ellingson

Converted Unto the Lord is a celebration of faith and individual relationships with God. While I have read the scriptures that contain these stories more times than I remember, it was a joy to experience them in a new way that prompted new spiritual insights and connections. Ellingson’s dedication in creating and sharing this work and the selfless service of all the volunteer musicians is evident in the love with which they perform. The organization certainly isn’t called Heart+Voice for nothing. The service and preparation of all involved is evident in every aspect of the performance and sets the tone for an evening of enlightenment. Join Heart+Voice for their final performances of Converted Unto the Lord on March 2nd and 3rd in Provo or on livestream. 

A review by Front Row Reviewers
Heart+Voice Presents: Converted Unto the Lord by Rachel Ellingson
925 E N Temple Dr, Provo, UT 84604
February 18, 24-25, March 2-3, 2024, 7 PM ; Livestream available March 2
Tickets: Free, 
Contact: (801) 449-0723
Heart + Voice Facebook Page Heart + Voice website

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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