'We Are Amazing!' new music for children from Bobbi Hansen

Bobbi Hansen has always loved working with kids and music, but she was a bit daunted when she first felt the vision of a new musical project for kids coming into her mind and occupying her thoughts and feelings.  Luckily for kids everywhere, she was willing to be brave and step forward in faith and dream big.

In producing "We Are Amazing!" she teamed with veteran children's writers Roger & Melanie Hoffman, Marvin Payne, and Steven Kapp Perry to write and record a program that embodies the concepts she felt every child should know about themselves and their world.  Take a listen as she shares the music and the results of performing the songs live with 2nd and 3rd grade choirs.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-weareamazing.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:23pm MST

Latter-day Saint mayor runs for President in Mali

A visiting legislator once asked Joseph Smith Jr. how he governed so many people with such order.  Joseph replied, "I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves."  Joseph Smith was the mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois at the time and was later a candidate for President of the United States.  Now, over a hundred years later, another Latter-day Saint espouses much of the same principle-based philosophy of decentralized governance, only his name is Yeah Samake, he is currently the mayor of Ouelessebougou, and he is a candidate for President in the African country of Mali.

In this audio interview, BYU graduate Yeah Samake shares the story of his father's vision for education which raised an entire family from hunger to prominence.  We'll hear how his actions eliminating corruption as Mayor of a small town brought him to the attention of national leaders in Mali, and what he hopes to accomplish if elected President of Mali in April of 2012.  You'll also learn what it's like for brother and sister Samake and their children to be the only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their country.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-yeahsamake.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:37pm MST

'Come Let Us Adore Him,' new album for Christmas from The Lower Lights

If you can picture a jalopy crammed full of thrift-store-clothing-clad carolers singing and playing hymns with acoustic instruments as they bounce merrily along through the snow under a winter moon, maybe you can imagine the sound of The Lower Lights on their cheerful new Christmas album without even taking a listen.  But do take a listen, you'll be glad you did.

Producer Scott Wiley provides the quirky recording space where all the magic happens at June Audio, in Provo, Utah.  In a room filled with instruments and mics at the ready and looking like it's decorated for A Beatles Christmas all year long, he collected faithful friends and musicians to spontaneously arrange and record the holiday songs they love best over a joyful five-day period.  In this week's audio interview, Scott talks about the group dynamics, the surprising reaction to unexpected fans from young to old, and ultimately why The Lower Lights do what they do.  Like I said before, take a listen, you'll be glad you did.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-lowerlightschristmas.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:32pm MST

"Christmas," warm and cosy new music from Tricia Storey

From tender to triumphant, you'll find all the moods of the Christmas season in this beautifully produced new holiday album from Tricia Storey.  It's the kind of heart-felt work of art from a skillful and experienced artist you rarely hear any more in these days of glossy arrangements, one-song downloads and whatever-will-sell retail dynamics.

Turn on the Christmas lights, sit down with a cup of hot cocoa and put on this new recording for a feast of favorites and rare finds that feel instantly like old friends.  Perfect simplicity in instrumental arrangements and harmonies make this my favorite intimate holiday recording of the last several years at least.  You're in good hands with Tricia Storey and you'll love hearing her insights and stories of the songs in this week's interview.  She calls Christmas songs "the last socially acceptable way to bear testimony of Christ," and you'll hear plenty of joyful and inspiring music doing just that on "Christmas."

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Playlist
O Come All Ye Faithful • I Saw Three Ships • Rise Up Shepherd and Follow • Good Christian Men Rejoice (harp interlude) • Who Comes This Night • Away in a Manger • What Child Is This (harp interlude) • The Holly Berry • Christmas for Cowboys • Some Children See Him • O Come O Come Emmanuel • Lo How a Rose (harp interlude)  • We Will Rock You • what Songs Were Sung • Angels We Have Heard On High (harp interlude) • Christmas is a Comin' • I'll Be Home for Christmas • Silent Night • Merry Christmas Round

Direct download: cs-triciastoreychristmas.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:10pm MST

'Good Tidings of Great Joy' celebrates the advent of Christ's birth all December long.

One of the most surprising things about Christmas is that the earliest Christians didn't celebrate it at all—it was just too pagan. Not long thereafter though, the human propensity to observe important events began to assemble a celebration like none other. 

In his new book on the advent, Eric D. Huntsman creates a near-perfect mix of history, facts, doctrine, stories and illustrations to engage readers of every age and intellectual bent.  Along the way, you'll encounter wisemen, shepherds, angels, Joseph and Mary, and all the familiar elements of Christmas cast in a revealing new light.  You'll also enjoy a heart-felt chapter on "Christmas with Autism," which shows one family's discovery of ways to fill the season with joy for every family member. 

Click Here to follow the Huntsman's celebration of Christmas in Jerusalem this year at their blog at http://www.huntsmansintheholyland.blogspot.com

Happy Advent, from The Cricket and Seagull!

Direct download: cs-goodtidingsofgreatjoy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:52pm MST

Painting life in an upper room with Lee Bennion

Renowned painter Lee Udall Bennion has been partners in life and art with her husband, potter Joe Bennion, for 35 years. This Fall the Bennions and their family open their pottery shop and painting studio for visitors and shoppers on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving for a special sale in Spring City, Utah.

In this second of a two-part series, Lee talks about painting, becoming aware of her "style," and why her work focuses more on color, form, and feeling, than on photographic accuracy.  She shares the serendipitous story of meeting her mentor, Ella Peacock, soon after moving to Spring City.  In addition to everything else she's accomplished in her life, Lee Bennion may also be the only woman alive with her own combination art studio, print-making shop, and horse stable.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-leebennion.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:11pm MST

Pottery and Philosophy at Horseshoe Mountain Pottery

For over thirty years Joe and Lee Bennion have been husband/wife, potter/painter, river runner/camp cook and any number of other partnerships together.  Every Fall the Bennions open their pottery shop and painting studio for visitors and shoppers on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving for a special sale. 

In this part one of two articles, I interviewed renowned potter Joe Bennion while he worked at the wheel at Horseshoe Mountain Pottery on Main Street in Spring City, Utah.  Against the quiet creak of his foot-driven potter's wheel, you'll hear about his creative philosophy, how even pottery can honor the Lord, and how clay pieces are like people.  You'll also learn about two artists who made a life for themselves in the place they love, doing what they love, and blessing the world.

(Watch for part two featuring the visual art of Lee Bennion next week.)

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-joebennion.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:47pm MST

'I Will Sing!' celebrates 20 years of LDS music in Japan

This native of Osaka, Japan, had never sung in public until he joined the LDS church and was serving as a missionary in Fukuoka.  In the 20 years since, he's sung and written music with artists like Janice Kapp Perry, Afterglow, Kenneth Cope, Jericho Road and other, all in Japanese.

This weekend Nobu is giving a concert in his home ward in Osaka and has released "I Will Sing!"  This new CD includes many of his favorite inspirational songs sung in Japanese with the artists who created them, and he includes several meaningful originals.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

PLAYLIST
I Will Sing!
Let Me Be a Light
When Love Leads the Way
Duty to God
He Brought Me Light (w/Daniel Beck)
Like a Lighthouse
My Single Heart
Hold On, the Light Will Come
Big Tree
Never a Better Hero (w/Kenneth Cope)
Sukiyaki (w/Jericho Road)
I Believe in Christ
Arigato Okaasan
Nearer, My God, to Thee (w/Bless4)
My Friend, My Brother
Extending Light
I Will Sing! (English version)

Direct download: cs-nobuaki.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:21pm MST

'Hymn Creations' new album from Michael R. Hicks

Thousands of LDS teenagers hear and sing his vocal arrangements every summer at Especially for Youth camps, but on this new album, composer and arranger Michael R. Hicks lets the instruments do the work.

Hymn Creations runs the gamut of styles, featuring big celebratory arrangements like "Rejoice the Lord is King," and more contemplative performances like "I Need Thee Every Hour."  In this interview Mike talks about his personal—and sometimes surprising—connection to the hymns he's chosen, about doing his best writing away from the piano, and why he thinks hymns are to music what the scriptures are to literature.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Playlist
Come Ye Children of the Lord
How Gentle God's Commands
Come Thou Fount
Jesus the Very Thought of Thee
Amazing Grace
Dearest Children God is Near You
Green Hill
We Thank Thee
Come Follow Me
Rejoice the Lord is King
I Need Thee Every Hour
I Know that My Redeemer LIves

Direct download: cs-hymncreations.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:04pm MST

'Believe. Hope. Endure."  New music on CD for EFY 2011

From the hundreds of song submissions they receive, the producers of each year's Especially for Youth album winnow out the best for recording and sharing with the tens of thousands of youth who attend the annual summer camp.

Producer Russ Dixon talks about the process of creating this year's album, "Believe. Hope. Endure."  He's found some new diamonds-in-the-rough like "The One," plus Stephanie Mabey's "He Knows Me Better," the contemporary Christian hit "What Faith Can do," and more.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-efy2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:48pm MST

'Opening Isaiah," new on DVD from Ann Madsen

In this remarkable DVD shot on location in the Holy Land, beloved LDS scholar and educator Ann Madsen uses the land itself to introduce us to the images and poetry of Isaiah like few others could.  The cinematography is often breathtaking and the computer-generated visit to Solomon's temple and the description of Isaiah's call to prophesy are worth having all by themselves.

Her decades of teaching the subject at BYU and in Jerusalem have prepared Ann Madsen in a rare way to start us on our own journey into Isaiah knowing what to look for to discover for ourselves why Christ himself said, "Great are the words of Isaiah."  Indeed, it is Christ himself and his atonement we will find revealed in powerful ways in the words of this prophet among prophets.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-openingisaiah.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:52pm MST

'Every Step,' new album from Hilary Weeks

Whether it's a monumental heartbreak or child with a mouthful of Mac 'n Cheese, songwriter Hilary Weeks seems to take her inspiration from every part of her life.

On this new album recorded in Nashville, TN, you'll hear ten new songs from tender to jubilant -- like "Living Proof" and "Past the Point," and a bonus remake of one of her classics, "All My Days."

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-everystep.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:29pm MST

"The Book of Mormon has Come Forth," new music from Janice Kapp Perry

It began with one simple hymn lyric by Bonnie Hart Murray and then became an entire album once she was paired with LDS composer Janice Kapp Perry.

Bonnie and Janice tell about choosing the Book of Mormon people and events to feature in this new musical fireside and how they created the songs, including "Two Thousand Stripling Warrios," which is featured in the October Ensign and Liahona magazines.

Also, visit JaniceKappPerry.com to find out how you can get two "pass-along download cards" to share the album with family and friends for a limited time.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-bofmhascomeforth.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:52pm MST

Healing at Mountain Meadows -- Mormonism's other 9/11

It begins like other 9/11 commemorations we’ve seen in the past, and on this day 10 years after the events of 9/11 the sounds of salutes and taps and the readings of the names is familiar.

Except these names are from a different 9/11 altogether—September 11th of 1857, one-hundred and fifty-four years ago today.

It really was September 11th, that day when a California-bound wagon train crossing Southwestern Utah was attacked by Mormon militiamen, killing approximately 120 men, women, and children, most from Arkansas.  Many of the details are here in excerpts from a ceremony held on September 11, 2011 on the same site, marking the designation of this burial spot as a National Historic Landmark.

A century and a half later, signs of healing and reconciliation between the descendants of the perpetrators as well as descendants of the 17 young survivors, is an encouraging work in progress.  In the commemoration ceremony conducted by Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley, Jr, there are remarks from Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy, himself the Church Historian, and representatives of the three groups of survivor descendants.

You'll also hear about a remarkable set of quilts which have literally brought both cloth squares and people together representing all the stakeholders, making a hands-on memorial of remembrance and forgiveness.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-mountainmeadow2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:52pm MST

September 11, 2001: a brief audio remembrance by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

It was October General Conference of 2001, just a few short weeks after the events that will make September 11, 2001 live forever in our minds.  President Gordon B. Hinckley stood to share his views on the new situation and express his faith in the future. 

CLICK HERE to listen to this brief except, or CLICK HERE to read the entire text.

Direct download: cs-presphinckleyon911.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:38pm MST

'The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers' by Caleb Warnock

In his new book, author and journalist Caleb Warnock is likely to surprise you with the obvious — I mean, the pioneers did eat all winter, right? So what did they do differently than we do with our brief three-month garden season? Could we do it their way today?  And why is cooking with "pioneer yeast" so much healthier and easier on the digestive system than today's quick-rise yeast?

In this podcast, you'll get an interesting earful of useful and practical ways of living that were basic life skills until just the last 75 years or so. Did you know carrots weren't even orange until a couple hundred years ago and that they taste best if you leave them in the ground all winter? You do now!

That's just the beginning of this week's journey into self-sufficiency.

Direct download: cs-forgottenskills.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:00pm MST

"Abide With Me" the long-awaited hymn album from Daniel Beck

Fans of Daniel Beck's gorgeous voice will sit back and breathe a happy sigh when they hear "Abide With Me," his new album of hymns and hymn-like songs.  It's just what they've been waiting for—and that includes me.

Whether it's an ear-opening blend of familiar lyrics with unexpected old hymn tunes or the tender, soaring high notes on "Gentle Savior," this is an album that speaks the longing we have for closeness and dependence on the Lord, and sings praises for his mercy.  You'll enjoy hearing Beck and producer Tyler Castleton talk about the song choices and the arrangements, and why this is more than just a collection of songs for them.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-abidewithme.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:39pm MST

Chieko Okazaki in her own words: a final interview

When I heard Chieko Okazaki had passed away earlier this month, my first glance was to my bookshelf where I saw the two origami cranes she made out of gold foil paper and presented to me during the one interview I had with her.  When you hear what the symbolism of those cranes is you'll know why I've kept them and why they are so meaningful to me.

The moment she walked in the door I felt not only the unexpected power of her presence, but also a clear feeling that she was not alone; that she walked and talked with her Savior.  It was something I have rarely experienced to that degree and a feeling I will never forget.  In the few short joyful moments I had to interview her about her final book "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" (a book whose title could sum up her life) she gave me several gifts; two golden cranes, one cryptic little wooden sign I treasure, and an increased desire to know Jesus in the way she did and now, surely, does.

I can think of no better way to thank her for those gifts than to let you hear her tell about that relationship in her own voice.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-okazaki2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:25pm MST

"Father Lehi" award to be presented to Book of Mormon geography pioneer Dr. Joseph Allen

At the upcoming Book of Mormon Archeological Foundation conference in Salt Lake City, Dr. Joseph Allen and his wife Rhoda will receive the "Father Lehi" and "Mother Sariah" awards, recognizing those who have pioneered and expanded exploration of the Book of Mormon.

While the exact geographical setting for the Book of Mormon is still an open question, Dr. Allen was one of the pioneers in researching and publishing on the possible settings beginning with his dissertation on the legendary white god, Quetzalcoatl in 1970.  In this rebroadcast of an audio interview recorded several years ago, Dr. Allen talks about why he became interested in the subject and how a knowledge of Book of Mormon culture and place as drawn from the scripture itself can bless us spiritually.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-josephallen2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:08pm MST

"The Work" new music from The Nashville Tribute Band

It may be the third in their series of tribute albums, but this follow-up to "Joseph" and "The Trek" has the same strong sense of mission—in fact, it's all about missions, missionaries, their parents and families, and the people they find and teach.

Nashville songwriter and producer Jason Deere shares the music and stories behind these songs, an unexpected collaboration with Michael McLean, and the goal of the Nashville Tribute Band members on this album; to help anyone of any faith understand the motivation and sacrifice of the missionaries they see on the streets around the world.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-thework.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:34pm MST

Celebrate Pioneer Day with "Songs of the Mormons," from the Library of Congress

Happy Pioneer Day!

Music has been a part of the Mormon tradition from the very beginning.  Whether it was hymns or folk songs, it seems there was music created to mark most important occasions.  For instance, we have the dedication of the Kirtland, Ohio, temple in 1836 to thank for the hymn "The Spirit of God" appearing in our hymnals today.

The wagon company of 1847 was hardly under way before William Clayton came up with his new version of "All is Well" which we know as "Come, Come Ye Saints."  And it was just over 150 years ago when the first of many handcart companies set out for the Rocky Mountains, pushing and pulling their way across a continent to the tune of "The Handcart Song."  Plus there were the humorous songs about the railroad and the bad influence it was bound to bring to the territory.

 This week in celebration of Pioneer Day on July 24th—a state holiday in Utah—we feature Mormon folk songs from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture.  These examples were recorded in 1946 and 1947 by Austin Fife and his wife Alta on a trip covering Utah, gathering songs passed on in the folk tradition—either learned firsthand from the writer or passed down in families and communities through the generations.  


That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-songsofthemormons2011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:26pm MST

When do you need a professional genealogist?

With over 40 years of research and accreditations to his name, James Petty is the perfect guide to the ins and outs of using professional family research services.

The great uncle who supposedly died as a child, but turned out to have lived and had two families (unbeknownst to each other); the elusive grandfather who drifted from state to state leaving no trace of where he died and was buried; these are just two of the recent mysteries professional researcher James Petty has been called upon to solve.

With a treasure-trove of stories and experience, the founder of Heirlines.com gives us an overview of his upcoming presentations at the BYU Conference for Family History & Genealogy (July 26-29, 2011) and gives candid advice about finding the right person with the right qualifications when you need some extra help finding important family information.  It's informative and entertaining.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-heirlines.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:02pm MST

How YOU can benefit from the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Now in it's 43rd year, BYU's annual Conference on Family History & Genealogy has learned to respond to its attendees and provide the most useful information in the most usable way.  With separate tracks over the four-day conference you can choose general knowledge ("How do I turn this computer on?") up to detailed specifics ("How do I keep these Norwegian names straight?").

John Best of BYU's Conferences and Workshops gives us an in-depth preview of the conference beginning on July 26, 2011, and points out how it can even bless those who can't attend through the yearly publication of the detailed syllabus which includes notes from every single presenter.  Here's an interview you'll want to forward to your favorite family history buff.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-byufamilyhistoryconference.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:54pm MST

"Split the Difference" new music for violin/fiddle from Aaron Ashton

Aaron Ashton is one of those rare instrumental musicians equally at home with classical, folk, and jazz, and he mixes it all together on "Split the Difference," his new album of eclectic and electric tunes for fiddle and violin.

You'll hear about musical influences, mixing genres, playing in church, and mostly about the fun a bunch of talented musicians can have while pushing boundaries and just plain making music.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-aaronashton.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:31pm MST

Michael Dowdle Rocks on "Convergence"

Most Latter-day Saints know him for his acoustic guitar work on the "Twenty-Five Beloved Hymns" series, but guitarist Michael Dowdle's first and continuing love has always been the electric guitar.

On this pedal-to-the-metal album of instrumental power trio music you'll hear why he's a favorite on YouTube with his playing videos, hear Michael's philosophy of rock and roll, and learn why this new album was sparked by a scripture in the New Testament (hint; it has to do with a candle and a bushel) and a listener from Holland.  You might even develop a whole new appreciation of guitar virtuosity.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-convergence.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:13pm MST

"This Is the Christ," a new Savior-Centered album from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square combine their talents to create this one-of-a-kind collection of exquisite music that bears witness of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Choir director Dr. Mack Wilberg gives us an audio tour of the new album, featuring songs never before recorded by the Choir, as well as familiar favorites.  From start to finish, this inspiring and contemplative album is completely focused on the love of our Savior and his role as our Redeemer.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-thisisthechrist-mtc.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:34pm MST

"17 Miracles" features Utah handcart pioneers on film
Most Latter-day Saints could tell you a fact or two about the handcart companies of 1856, but few could give you the names, the humorous incidents, the brutal facts, and especially the innumerable miracles which accompanied their every step.
With the premier of "17 Miracles" only weeks away, film maker T.C. Christensen sat down with one of the actresses and a producer of the movie to share some of these stories, and why he ended up retelling a story which has been told many times before.
That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-17miracles.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:46pm MST

"Josh Wright" Blends Hymns with Classical Favorites

In a surprising juxtaposition of two familiar genres, award-winning LDS pianist Josh Wright blends sacred and classical favorites in a satisfying new album for piano and orchestra.  In this interview, Josh describes how a mission to South Dakota turned out not to be a detour from his musical journey, but part of the path, and how he feels about dedicating so much of his time to music.

On this new recording you'll hear occasional hints of Jazz and New-Age piano, but more than anything, a respect for classical technique and repertoire played thoughtfully and at times powerfully.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-joshwright.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:31am MST

"5 Spiritual Solutions for Everyday Parenting Challenges" by Richard and Linda Eyre

While the Eyre's are internationally-known and respected family and relationship experts, they often have to hold back from sharing all they could depending on the audience and the situation, but not here.  In this new book which Stephen R. Covey says "every LDS parent" should read, you'll find a wealth of reminders of all the amazing resources our Father has given us for raising his children the way he raises us.

Whether it's sibling rivalry or chores, disrespect or worries about worldly influences, nearly every challenge parents face in this all-too-physical world has simple spiritual solutions.  I think you'll feast on what they Eyre's have to share, including one of my favorite-ever interview quotes, "Well, we may as well have a testimony meeting as just sit around fighting..."

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-5spiritualsolutions.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:06pm MST

Rediscover Easter with "God So Loved the World" by Eric Huntsman

Since the day of the Western celebration of Easter changes from year to year, it's the holiday that often finds itself overshadowed in the Latter-day Saint world by General Conference, Stake Conference, or Fast Sunday observances.  But Easter can come alive for you and your family through this excellent new book by BYU Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, Eric Huntsman.  As you'll hear in the interview, it's the work of years of study and thought.

"God So Loved the World" is a fascinating scriptural, visual, and doctrinal walk through the people, places and events of the amazing final week of the life of Jesus Christ.  Whether you're a knowledgable scriptorian or a youngster learning from paintings and pictures, your celebration of the atonement and resurrection will be enriched by this new book, written in part by a desire on the part of the author to communicate these important events to his own family.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-godsolovedtheworld.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:03pm MST

"Defined by Christ," by Toni Sorenson

In spite of outward smiles, many people go through the motions attending church, giving service, and nurturing families, while feeling empty, broken, doubtful, and even guilty inside.  They tell themselves if they only work harder, they'd somehow earn the blessings of peace, security, and unconditional love they hunger for.


Using the scriptures, words of prophets, insightful analogies, and stories drawn from poignant personal experiences, best-selling author Toni Sorenson explains that simply by the virtue of being a child of God, each of us is already loved beyond comprehension, without boundaries or conditions. No matter what our disappointment or failure or loss may be, allowing ourselves to be defined by Christ will lift us out of the darkness and into His light.


That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-definedbychrist.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:05pm MST

"Lamb of God," stirring new music by Rob Gardner

Composer Rob Gardner has never been less than ambitious in telling the story of the Restoration and the scriptures in music.  With "Lamb of God," he fulfills a lifelong dream in focusing on the week of the Atonement and the many individuals from the Apostles to Pilate to the mother of Christ—those who interacted with Jesus personally and lived the despair and new-found hope of that most important week.

In this audio interview Rob talks about the writing process, recording with the London Symphony, and the thousand choices a composer makes in writing a sacred work, including deciding whether you're ready to tackle the most important subject that ever lived.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-lambofgod.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:07am MST

"Three Mormon Towns," a Photographic Exhibit by Dorothea Lange

Diana Turnbow, Curator of Photography at the BYU Museum of Art, takes us on an audio tour of this fascinating exhibit shot by well-known photographer Dorothea Lange, which appeared in LIFE magazine in 1953.

Besides exploring small-town life in the rural towns of Gunlock, Toquerville, and St. George, the photographer and her essayist son comment on the beauty created even in isolated communities, happiness in spite of hardship, and the deep respect they share with many historians on the strength and character of these Mormon women from a time that is disappearing from living memory.

Explore the exhibit's website while you listen at 3mormontowns.byu.edu

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-3mormontowns.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:34pm MST

"New Life," by Paul Cardall reaches #1 on Billboard chart

After living for more than three decades with a congenital heart defect, award-winning LDS pianist Paul Cardall received a miracle. His life was saved by a last-minute heart transplant. In New Life, Paul’s newfound gratitude and humility for life pours through his fingers into inspiring new compositions perfect for meditation, contemplation, or even casual listening.

In this audio interview Paul remembers waking up after the transplant and beginning to write again for New Life, which reached number one on the Billboard New Age charts.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-newlife.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:43pm MST

"Glimpses Beyond Death's Door" by Brent & Wendy Top

In this audio interview BYU Religion Professor and former LDS mission president Brent Top joins his wife Wendy in sharing their years of research into near-death experiences from people of all faiths—drawing from them fascinating gospel insights.

The Tops have created much more than just a collection of interesting accounts; this is a book rich with scripture and commentary from Latter-day prophets which creates a doctrinal lens through which to interpret the variety of experiences shared from people around the world.  From the amazing characteristics of our Spirit bodies to the incredible love and learning which are the hallmarks of "life on the other side," you'll find encouragement and peace concerning that next step which we all will eventually take.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-glimpsesbeyonddeathsdoor.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:42pm MST

Daily Scriptures via Email from LDSmusicnow.com

Besides being a rock-solid fixture in the LDS music industry, composer Greg Hansen has teamed with his tech-savvy son Jade on an innovative delivery system for music and now a free daily scripture delivery system.

The Hansens tell how you can choose which book of scriptures and how many verses you'd like to receive daily, plus muse on the future of LDS music in the day of rapid technological change.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-dailyscriptures.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:15pm MST

Change in Egypt with Dr. Kirk Belnap

Dr. Kirk Belnap was with Egyptian friends at a conference in the Middle East during the recent revolution centered in Tahrir Square in Cairo.  In this audio interview he shares the note he sent to friends about the joy of the moment and dismisses many of the fears of American political pundits.

You'll hear behind-the-scenes stories of BYU's Arabic language study in countries as diverse as Israel, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, and how he believes bridges of mutual respect can be and are being built between Mormons and Muslims.

It's history in the making, on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-kirkbelnapegypt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:25am MST

"This Is the Christ," music by Marshall McDonald

When your task is as daunting as interpreting the life of Jesus Christ through music, it's nice to have support from fellow artists throughout the centuries.  Taking inspiration from the religious paintings of Carl Bloch and drawing from the melodies of timeless hymns, LDS composer Marshall McDonald uses his gifts with piano and orchestra to create a moving and meditative narration of the life of the Master in "This is the Christ."

In this interview you'll hear Marshall describe how he tells a story through music, whether or not he thinks the young people of today "get" the hymns, and why he didn't feel ready to tackle some moments in the life of Christ without benefit of the timeless melodies found in the hymns.

Direct download: cs-marshallmcdonald.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46pm MST

"Midway to Heaven," based on the novel by Dean Hughes

Dean Hughes may be best known to readers as the author of historical fiction and teen adventure books, but this first movie version of one of his novels is based on "Midway to Heaven," a romantic story with heavenly overtones.

In this audio interview he talks about his writing habits, watching the process of "Midway to Heaven" being turned into a screenplay, and more.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-midwaytoheaven.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:50am MST

"Of Pigs, Pearls, and Prodigals" by John Bytheway

The objects and settings of the New Testament parables are simple, everyday items and places from the past; candlesticks, bushels, fields, and seeds—and the cast of characters is nearly as familiar; travelers, herders, rich men and poor, but the storyteller himself, the one who spun these tales which are both simple and deep, well, He was one-of-a-kind.

In this book, inspired by a visit to the Holy Land, author and speaker John Bytheway digs into the who, what, where, and why of the parables of Jesus, revealing additional meaning and application to these deceptively simple stories which have been teaching and blessing those willing to look below the surface, for centuries.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-pigspearlsparables.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:22am MST

"Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," an interview with Mack Wilberg

While it might seem strange that cutting the Tabernacle Choir in half would result in a number-one album on the Billboard Classical charts in its first week of release, that's exactly what happened.

In this audio tour of the album, you'll hear the choir's director, Dr. Mack Wilberg, talk about the decision to make the album, the rich tradition of men's choral music, and why they chose this particular balance of classical and contemporary songs, which has struck a chord with so many listeners.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Playlist:
1.   Brethren, We Have Met to Worship
2.   Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy
3.   The Morning Trumpet
4.   Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might
5.   Evening (Aftonen)
6.   Land-Sighting (Landkjenning)
7.   Dance a Cachuca, Fandango, Bolero (Finale from The Gondoliers)
8.   Alleluia
9.   Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhäuser
10. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
11. Hush, Little Baby
12. You Raise Me Up
13. Beautiful Savior
14. There Is a Balm in Gilead
15. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

Direct download: cs-menofthemtc.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:50pm MST

"He Brought Me Light" new music from Janice Kapp Perry

She may be in her 70's now, but Janice Kapp Perry is still writing and going strong with her series of hymns for choir and now "He Brought Me Light," her first album release in two years.  Janice is embracing change with the inclusion of instrumental versions of the songs included in the package along with a printable .pdf version of the sheet music, and is publishing what one fellow composer called "her best song yet."

In this audio interview you'll hear excerpts of the songs, why they were created, plus details of the writing habits of this most prolific LDS composer.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull...

Direct download: cs-hebroughtmelight.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:17pm MST



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