A Hometown Christmas with Cori Connors

There’s nothing like a hometown Christmas — a Christmas when you were together with family, when the high school choir set the mood for the season with their concerts, and when you saw and waved to your neighbors as they scurried among the downtown shops seeking treasures for their loved ones.
A hometown Christmas is a bit harder to find these days — strip malls and canned holiday music which starts around Halloween have seen to that, but they still do happen.  In this case we’ll listen in on a few numbers from a hometown Christmas concert by Utah singer-songwriter Cori Connors, herself one of just two recipients of this year’s Governor’s Mansion Artist Awards for artistic contributions to the state and her community.  We’ll hear a Christmas story or two, a tribute to a real-life hometown hero, a song about the reason for the season, and finally, a sing-along “Silent Night” with all the people crammed into the Farmington Arts Center to celebrate the season.  I hope you’ll sing along.
Here’s to a hometown Christmas — that's this week on The Cricket and Seagull!

Direct download: cs-hometownchristmas.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:04pm MST

Couple from LDS Charities serves Syrian refugees in Jordan

The "Arab Spring” has swept across the Middle East this year, bringing new freedoms to people in a number of nations, but in Syria, the winter approaches and hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the fighting by crossing into Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan – nearly half a million and growing in number – are finding life more difficult than ever.

In one of the many refugee camps, you’ll find Jim and Karyn Anderson, two Utahns who have been serving as humanitarian workers for LDS Charities in Lebanon and now in Jordan, trying to bring relief and encouragement to the fathers and mothers who have made their way from Syria over the Jordanian border by night, often through gunfire with their children, seeking any kind of safe haven.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull!

Direct download: cs-ldscharitiesinjordan2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45pm MST

Musical Journeys and Time Machines, with BYU's Classical 89 streaming world-wide
It used to be that if you wanted hear music, you had to make it yourself, or find someone else who could make it.  Nowadays we can carry thousands of the greatest recordings ever made right in our pocket.  That part has changed.  What hasn't changed is what music does to us; what it makes us feel and remember.
Come do a little time-traveling and musical exploration with the hosts of Classical 89, BYU's music station, now streaming worldwide at Classical89.org.
That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull!
Direct download: cs-musicaljourneys.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:06pm MST

'The Waiting Place,' new music from Calee Reed
When Calee Reed lets go with her big, hearty, infectious laugh, you can't help but laugh along.  And when she sings of joy or of holding on through heartbreak, it's hard not to feel that you know exactly what she means.  I guess that's the beauty of "The Waiting Place," the new album of songs that marks Reed's recording debut.
With imaginative pairings of familiar hymns and lots of originals, Calee Reed hits the mark nearly every time.  Her runaway success of a music video (which you can see here) shows a gift for finding the divine in the mundane and the everyday; the perspective that suddenly snaps everything trivial into it's proper proportion when something really important is suddenly at stake.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.


  1. Give My Heart Your Peace
  2. Better Than a Hallelujah
  3. Called to Serve
  4. Closer to You
  5. Time for Love
  6. Trust in God
  7. The Waiting Place
  8. Where Can I Turn for Peace?/Be Still, My Soul
  9. She Put the Music in Me
  10. Come, Thou Fount/I Am a Child of God
Direct download: cs-thewaitingplace.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:13pm MST

Come Sing With Us in Israel!

"Next year in Jerusalem!" The Jews have said it for centuries. For all who love the scriptures, visiting the Holy Land fills your heart and mind with feelings and images which rush back every time you open those sacred pages.

And some of the most moving memories come from singing the hymns at the very places they speak of; the little town of Bethlehem, a green hill far away, and not-so-far-far away on Judea's plains. To lift your voice in "He Is Risen!" at the Garden Tomb, to sing "I Stand All Amazed" among the ancient olive trees of the Garden of Gethsemane; these truly are sacred moments.

In this audio interview, renowned choral director Brady Allred invites experienced choral singers to combine voices and form a choir for a 10-day tour of Israel, including exchange performances with the Kolot Hasadeh Choir at the Harduf kibbutz, and at the acoustically gorgeous Scottish Church in Jerusalem with one of Shimon Levtov's accomplished choirs.

Along with the choral events, our experienced guides will make sure we still explore all of the important historical and religious sites which can make a visit to the Holy Land a life-changing spiritual experience in 2013 — "Next year in Jerusalem!"

Click Here for dates and details, including a full day-by-day itinerary.  If you’d like to join us, please act quickly, the tour has already begun to fill.

Direct download: cs-bradyallredisrael.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:49pm MST

Clive Romney: Committing our Ancestors' Lives to Art

For decades Clive Romney has been a solid session player, writer, producer, recording engineer, arranger and performer on the Utah music scene, but it wasn't until a change of heart in his 50's that he found what he describes as his true calling in life.

In this audio interview Clive tells both personal and universal stories that show the richness a connection with our ancestors can add to our lives.  And, like most good guys in westerns, you can always pick out Clive in a crowd; he's the one wearing the white hat.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-cliveromney2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:44pm MST

Making friends and spreading the word in Nauvoo, Illinois

Summer is a busy season in Nauvoo, Illinois, especially if you are in charge of letting everyone know about the various events and shows happening every day.

In this audio interview, Elder Verl Doman talks about the work he and his wife, Sister Sue Doman, do every day as public affairs missionaries in Nauvoo, and how the church reaches out in friendship to Latter-day Saints and other people alike in the area.  Also discussed, is why the growth of the church in Nauvoo puts the LDS Church is a position similar to the 1840's when the influx of saints began to affect the balance in government and politics in the area.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

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

Eric Samuelsen: Finding Spirituality in Unexpected Places

Recently retired BYU theater professor Eric Samuelsen has always connected spirituality with art, but he finds that connection in a lot of places where most people wouldn't think to look—like a ballgame or a rap song, or even zombie movies.

In this audio interview Samuelsen talks about his background in the arts and shares some eye-opening ideas about what expressions of the human soul can mean to someone with the gospel in their lives and the willingness to take a second look.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-ericsamuelsen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:33pm MST

'When I Can't Speak,' a retrospective album from Tyler Castleton

You've heard his songs for nearly two decades, but maybe you didn't know that songwriter, arranger, and producer Tyler Castleton was the man behind the music.

This new 17-track collection album includes some of Tyler’s most requested songs, as well as a few brand-new offerings, performed by Tyler himself.  With performances from the likes of Gladys Knight, Hilary Weeks, Jericho Road, Jenny Phillips, Kenneth Cope, Cherie Call and many others, "When I Can't Speak," features music that closes the gap between heaven and earth.


When I Sing (Tyler Castleton)
When I Can't Speak (Julie Yardley)
Love Will Find You There (John McVey)
Again (April Meservy)
Just Like a Father Would (Mercy River)
I Will Not Be Still (Kenneth Cope)
Blessed Be His Name (Jenny Phillips)
Sometimes He Lets It Rain (Katherine Nelson)
For the Love Of a Woman (Jericho Road)
You Can Change (Julie Yardley)
You Give (Hilary Weeks)
Walk With Me (Tyler Castleton)
I Just Knew (Cherie Call)
Sisters In Christ (Gladys Knight)
Let Him Heal Your Heart (Dave Kimball)
In the Meantime (Jessie Clark Funk)
Shine On (David Osmond)

Direct download: cs-tylercastleton2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:56am MST

'Be Still,' the new album of hymns from William Joseph

LDS pianist William Joseph is known for being a protegé of super producer David Foster, and his first two albums have wowed listeners and audiences alike with virtuosic performances.  Now his new release, "Be Still," features an entirely different approach.

Filled with thoughtful, liquid-sounding piano and joined at times by cello and violin, "Be Still," is a collection of reverent interpretations of favorite hymns with a two original pieces which match the mood of the project.  In this audio interview you'll hear samples of the music and William's thoughts on choosing and arranging the pieces.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-wjbestill.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:36pm MST

The Inner City Project--a chance to serve from home

Whether you're finding an apartment for someone newly homeless, explaining to a foreign refugee what a flush toilet is, or connecting addicts with resources for recovery, the Inner City Project has something nearly anyone can do to fulfill Christ's call to serve "the least of these" right when it matters the most.

Mike and Allene Ross—Elder and Sister Ross right now—are assistant directors for this innovative program which is changing the lives of both recipients and those who serve in downtown Salt Lake City.  In this audio interview they share amazing stories about this program which lets you serve for a number of hours each week while still living at home, sleeping in your own bed, and even before you retire.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull!

Direct download: cs-innercityproject.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:50pm MST

'As a Child of God,' new music for children from Janice Kapp Perry

She's been writing music for decades, but never loses her enthusiasm for writing for children. Ever wonder what her favorite song is from her catalog? How she combines research and relaxing to create?

In this audio interview about her new album "As a Child of God," Janice Kapp Perry talks about writing for kids, the song that came in a day, balancing life and writing, and answers questions from Facebook fans.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull!

Direct download: cs-jkpasachild.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:14pm MST

'Peace I give unto you," a Palestinian Relief Society President shares her story

What would you do if you were the only Latter-day Saint you knew in your entire country and the only way to attend sacrament meeting was to get over, around, or through a massive wall meant to keep you and your people out?  And how would you make peace with your situation and learn to forgive?

Sahar Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Bethlehem, found unorthodox ways to attend her meetings for 12 years until a job at a UN agency allowed her to pass through the checkpoints freely.  As Relief Society President in the Jerusalem District, she shares the same responsibilities as her counterparts throughout the world, but with an added challenge of a wall which prevents many of those in her care from ever meeting.  Through it all, she has learned to trust the inspiration and peace of the Holy Ghost, giving her the peace Jesus promised; a peace not of this world.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull—be sure and Click Here to listen.

Direct download: cs-saharqumsiyeh.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:52pm MST

'Higher,' the new album from Mercy River

The popular all-mom trio, Mercy River, is back with a mix of well-known inspirational music and originals that reflect their own life experiences.

In this audio interview Soni, Brooke, and Whitney talk about the usefulness of onstage humiliation, the good things about surrendering and letting go, plus introduce the LDS market to some of the best contemporary Christian songwriting from recent years.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull, be sure and take a listen!

Beautiful Life
Better Than A Hallelujah
It Might Be Hope
With Him We Can
Change In the Making
Love Never Fails
Let Go
Beautiful For Me
Just Like A Father Would

Direct download: cs-mercyriverhigher.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:57pm MST

'Make Known His Wonderful Works' - Video of the LDS International Art Competition 2012

A video presentation of the audio interview including visuals of all the various works discussed. Click Here to view.

Direct download: csv-ldsartexhibit2012.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:35am MST

'Make Known His Wonderful Works' - 9th LDS International Art Competition

Rita R. Wright, Curator of Art and Artifacts at the Church History Museum walks us through the new exhibit featuring nearly 200 different works in a variety of genres.  Her enthusiasm for art and the gospel is infectious and you'll be glad for a guide who helps you see more deeply into these amazing paintings, sculptures, and yes, even a flannel board story.

In this audio interview you'll hear what kind of support the Church gives to the arts, how learning to understand art an be helpful in understanding the scriptures, and I think you'll especially enjoy hearing Rita Wright get on her soapbox for a moment on the power of art and how it blesses our spirits.

Click here to see a video version of this edition with photos of the exhibits.  And be sure to click here to visit the exhibit page itself and cast your vote for the Visitors Choice award.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-ldsart2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:52pm MST

Utah's LDS Dems credit 1st Presidency letter for record-breaking caucus turnout

Utah State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Debakis was delighted with the soaring numbers of LDS Utahns who turned out for the Democratic Party's caucus meetings last Tuesday, and Craig Janis, head of outreach for the newly launched LDS Dems Caucus, talked about the increased interest in the organization just this week.

With The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressing concern over a lack of political participation in the state and amid worries over the ways an increasingly one-party system of government in the state can be harmful to all citizens, Mormon or not, LDS Democrats were impressed to hear the following read over the pulpit in church meetings in a letter from the First Presidency of the Church in recent weeks:

"Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties.  We encourage members to attend their precinct caucus meetings."

In addition, the LDS Church directed local congregations to cancel activities on March 13 and 15, allowing church members to attend their Democratic and Republican caucus meetings held those evenings, respectively. The result? Record participation.

That's this week on the Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-ldsdems.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:13pm MST

'Glory!' the virtuosic new recording from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square

This new album features masterworks, sacred anthems, a folk hymn, a song from the Broadway stage, and selections from some of the most eminent film composers of our day. Included are jubilant renditions of “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ennio Morricone’s “Nella Fantasia” from The Mission, and one of the choir's most frequently requested anthems, “The Holy City.”

In this audio interview director Mack Wilberg tells about the music choices, Tenor soloist Stanford Olsen, relates the most humbling aspect of working with the choir, and describes the joy of performing and recording some of the world's most enduring (and difficult!) works for choir and orchestra.

That’s this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-glorymtc.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:31pm MST

Emily Thomas, bridging the worlds of the hearing and the deaf

For some deaf recipients of Cochlear Implants, it can take up to ten years to learn to distinguish sounds and to speak.  But for Emily Thomas, from Oklahoma, it was a miraculously short period of less than two years; years which coincided with her finding the Gospel and deciding that God’s gift of words to her was a sacred trust.

In this audio interview with Emily Thomas, a professional counselor deaf since birth, you’ll learn three things deaf church members wish hearing members understood about them, hear a remarkable story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ bringing a family together after a decade, and generally bask in the glow of someone full of the light of the Lord.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-emilythomas2012.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:20pm MST

LDS athletes go downhill fast--and that's a good thing!

Cody Reese and and Brandon Larson look like any other athletes until they slide up their pant legs to show off the high-tech prosthetic legs that keep them in the mobile mainstream of society.  What's not mainstream is their penchant for zooming down mountainsides at 70 mph.

In this audio interview bobsledders Reese and Larson and their coach Jeremy Holm talk about the spiritual lessons learned from challenging yourself to do difficult things, whether able-bodied or otherwise, and why they do what they do.

(Find them online here and on Facebook here.)

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-adaptivebobsled.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:05pm MST

'My Rules,' 14 modern songs with a message for youth

Positive music can inspire, heal, uplift, and enlighten. That's what Craig Clifford and Aaron Edson have always believed and now they've released “My Rules,” a new album of 14 original pop, rock, and hip-hop songs that intend to prove it.

In this audio interview Craig and Aaron talk about creating an album of modern music that encourages kids to live more hopefully, purposefully, and honorably, while enjoying the styles and beats they love.  You'll hear their philosophy of music and don't miss my favorite of the bunch, "Something Sacred," which, as Craig says, "I can't believe has never been written before."

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-myrules.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:15pm MST

'Simple Gifts' and 'Life Reflections' from Jason Tonioli

You might not know it from listening, but some of Jason Tonioli's hymn arrangements and piano pieces have come to him at unusual times and places; like while he was white-water kayaking or boarding a bus to leave a little town in Argentina he'd come to love. In every case though, they are heartfelt expressions of his life and what he feels.

In this audio interview you'll hear what convinced him to keep practicing piano as a reluctant teenager (moms take note!) in Hooper, Utah, and why he posts many of his arrangements for free online.  It's a preview of two albums in one program.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-jasontonioli.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:18pm MST

James Conlee's voice soars on his new album, "Sunday."

Mixing classical influences with sacred hymns, James Conlee sings new interpretations of beloved melodies from both worlds. At times he combines actual pieces as with "Abide With Me" and "Pachelbel's Canon," "I Often Go Walking" with "Claire De Lune," and others.

James has performed with the Broadway touring company of "Miss Saigon" and is a former BYU Young Ambassador.  In this audio interview you'll hear about the hymns and arrangement process, how recording with the City of Prague Philharmonic provided a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience, and why several of these hymns have a personal connection to a loved one.

That's this week on The Cricket and Seagull.

Direct download: cs-jamesconlee.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:40pm MST





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