Lisa Badal grew up in Westminster in a musical family. By age 8 she was playing both the piano and the violin. She played both instruments competitively throughout her childhood.
When she went to school at Brigham Young University he majored in Music Education with the violin as her main instrument.
To her shock, when she returned to Colorado about 7 years ago she discovered there were no orchestra programs in the 27J school district. She turned to her husband and said, “One day I will change that.”
Several years passed, and I started accompanying the choirs at Prairie View High School. Through my involvement with the school system, I learned that many teachers had tried to start orchestra programs, but when the middle school would start something, it would fizzle out because there were no orchestras in the high school, so why even bother? Then the high school tried to start something, but there was no feeder program in the middle school, so why bother? It became clear that we just had to start somewhere. Then 27J announced that we would be switching to a 4-day schedule and that students would have Monday off. I thought, “This is our opportunity. There will be a whole district full of kids with nothing to do on Mondays, and I can teach them to play string instruments.”
That effort led to this unique interview with the local CBS affiliate:
Blackham knew it would be a sacrifice to give up his guitar and music while on
his mission, but inspiration he felt in the Denver Temple gave him peace, “Give
it to me and I can make it so much more.” With the help of other inspired
elders and sisters, Elder Blackham was able to lend his talents to what became
a beautiful musical presentation, “Meet the Missionaries.”
Presented by the Colorado Denver North Mission, “Meet the Missionaries” toured the northern front range giving 14 performances between February and April. The program is a fun, energetic, and inspiring performance. Through fifteen songs intermixed with video, four elders and four sisters shared their musical talents, their love of the Savior, and what it means to be a missionary.
President and Sister Savage both served as missionaries in Denver in the early 1980s and had the idea to renew a similar musical program that was a success on their missions. Around the same time the Book of Mormon musical came to Denver. Elder Blackham and Elder Brown pulled out their guitars and began singing on 16th Street in downtown Denver, replying to curious onlookers that they weren’t in the musical, but were the actual missionaries. From there 11 original songs were written by Elders Blackham, Brown, Fenske, and Hasse. In 2018 “Meet the Elders” went on tour.
Earlier in 2018, a group of talented missionaries put together a musical presentation called “Meet the Elders.” The presentation aimed to inspire and educate members of the church and their friends and neighbors about the life and goals of a missionary.
During the course of several weeks, the “Meet the Elders” program was presented 6 different times across the Denver Metro from Parker to Boulder. Now the studio recordings of the songs featured in the program have been released.
This music was performed by:
Elder Brenden Blackham
Elder Connor Brown
Elder Alex Hasse
Elder Jacob Fenske
It is being published here with their permission.
Use the links below to download the MP3 files for each individual song to your computer or mobile device.
On Tuesday, March 20, the Reverend Shawn DeBerry Johnson was a noted guest of honor at “The Lamb of God” oratorio held at Denver University’s Newman Center. Performances are opened with a word of prayer, and Reverend Johnson honored the show by offering Tuesday’s invocation. Reverend Johnson serves as the Director of Community Affairs, a senior adviser to Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. She was joined by friends Jackie Brian and Pastor Lily R. Richardson from My Father’s House International Christian Discipleship Center in Park Hill. Elder Thomas T. Priday, Area Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Marva hosted the Reverend and her guests, and as Reverend Johnson reports, “it was a true joy!”
An oratorio that has become an Easter staple in the Denver area, “The Lamb of God” was composed by Rob Gardner and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in 2010. With local effort from the Colorado Mormon Chorale and Orchestra, Denver area residents have been able to attend performances every Easter season for the last four years. Depicting the final week of the life of Christ and his resurrection, Gardner’s goal is to “bring to life for you the events depicted from the final days of the Savior’s life, and even more, how ‘in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.’”
Audience members and performers alike shared glowing sentiments. Shalee Jenkins of Centennial, Colorado said, “The talent of everyone involved was incredible…It was an excellent way to feel of the spirit of Easter. We’ll be sure to attend again next year!” Annie Sullins portrayed Mary Magdalene this year (and was a soloist in 2016) said of her experience, “It has strengthened my testimony that God knows me and cares about me and has a plan for me…The music is tremendous and it was such a privilege to be in it!” Not only could Reverend Johnson start the evening off with her prayer, but she also saw Gardner’s goal realized; her take on the performance was that it was “a very moving celebration of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Father Michael Richardson, Greg Bashaw, President Chad Larsen
On March 11th, the Parker Colorado Stake of The Church of Jesus of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) hosted the fourth annual Parker Interfaith Easter Night of Music. The Night of Music is an opportunity for members of various faiths in the Parker area to come together and celebrate the Easter season through music.
This year, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church was the honored guest for the evening. Choirs and congregants from both churches performed sacred vocal and instrumental musical numbers. The quality of the performances was nothing short of stunning. There was a beautiful spirit present, with some pieces bringing several members of the audience to tears.
In November 2009, Rob Gardner emailed a proposal to the London Symphony Orchestra. He wanted to compose and conduct an oratorio about the last week of the Savior’s life, and he knew that if he could involve the London Symphony Orchestra, which he considers the best in the world, he could compose the work he envisioned.
The idea for the proposed project came to Gardner while he was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the France Bordeaux Mission from 1996-1998. Gardner entered the mission field with a broad range of musical experience, having performed in an a cappella group during high school and composed music for his school’s orchestra. Despite Gardner’s best efforts to keep his musical abilities a secret, his mother made sure his mission president knew.
Gardner’s mission president, Charles Cuénot, a native of France, understood the difficulty missionaries in the area faced in getting people to listen to their message. In an effort to help the missionaries find more people to teach, President Cuénot started hosting musical presentations in various areas around the mission before Gardner was ever called to serve there.
Worldwide missionaries love to share the message of Jesus Christ in Song. Pictured here are Mormon missionaries performing at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh Scotland
On February 11th from 7 pm to 8:30 pm Mormon missionaries in the Denver area will present a special musical presentation called “Why I Believe.”
The presentation will feature musical performances from sister and elder missionaries serving in the local area as well as messages which will be shared by recent converts to the Mormon church in Colorado.
The Musical Performance or “fireside” is open to everyone in the community, both members of the faith and those who are not currently of the Mormon faith.
“It promises to be an experience that will build one’s faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and only way back to the father,” says Jacob Paulsen of the Denver North Public Affairs Council. “Come worship the Redeemer through song and testimony!”
No registration or tickets are required to attend. The presentation will be held at a Mormon meetinghouse located in Denver at 2710 S Monaco Pkwy.