Here are a few ideas of Stake level programs or productions.
Christmas Performance or Fireside
Many stakes have the tradition of a Stake Christmas Fireside, or production each December. As a Stake Music Chairman I directed/produced 4 of these myself and they can be a lot of work. I recommend planning your Christmas program in the summer so you have plenty of time to get the music approved by the Stake Presidency and ordered. You’ll also want to organize a committee, with the approval and assistance from the High Counselor over music and get to work planning and organizing.
Savior of the World
Savior of the World is a large-scale production that was originally produced by the Church. It requires at least a year to plan and execute. It is a musical theater production minus the dancing. There are solos and choir numbers performed by an heavenly angel choir and characters such as Mary Magdalene and the Apostles. This production will use a lot more than just the musicians in your stake. It usually requires set building, costume designing, hair/make-up, props, etc. Several stakes have performed this, some with live orchestra. I saw the East Anaheim Stake’s production which was absolutely amazing and quite professional. They had a cast and crew of several hundred and it cost them well over $40,000. Of course, with ticket sales they almost broke even. I spoke with some of the cast/crew. They said the time and preparation was well worth it and they would do it again in a heartbeat.
Stakes with vast musical resources, including a well-trained director and accomplished singers and musicians, may wish to prepare a performance of a major oratorio. Oratorios require months of preparation and several weeks of rehearsals. My stake has performed Handel’s Messiah several times (we do it at Easter). Each time we have 3 months of rehearsals for the choir and orchestra. We rent a local performing arts center, charging for tickets to cover the rental costs. We gather musicians from the stake and the community to form an orchestra. In the end we have a choir of 80, an orchestra of 30, and a committee of 15 to make it all happen. Here are some oratorios you may want to consider.
- Messiah, G.F. Handel (1741)
- Elijah, Felix Mendelssohn (1846)
- Christ on the Mount of Olives, L.V. Beethoven (1803)
- St. Matthew Passion, J.S. Bach (1727/1736)
- Israel in Egypt, G.F. Handel (1739)
- The Creation, F.J. Haydn (1798)
- LDS Oratorios, click here for suggestions
On the lighter side, there’s the possibility of doing a variety show style Broadway Review. I am originally from a stake who does these every three years. They make it a massive production and have two weeks worth of performances that take place in the Stake Center cultural hall. Of course you would never know it was the cultural hall because of the stage extension they build and the removal of the basketball hoops. It resembles a real theater. They incorporate all sorts of fun musical acts into their reviews that include singing, dancing, and acting. Ideas for the acts come from movies such as Singin’ in the Rain, Hello Dolly, and The Wizard of Oz. They come from Broadway musicals like Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Fiddler on the Roof. They come from popular music, old and new. The bet actors, musicians, and dancers in the stake gather together to produce these shows. This stake also uses the talents of those who sew and construct, for the designing of costumes and sets. They invite the community to their shows and always end up with a packed house for each performance. I have great memories of these shows, the auditions, the rehearsals, the performances. There are always a lot of youth involved which helps create friendships and provides fellowshipping opportunities.
More ideas coming soon…