Jan Hemming, JKH Associates
SANDY — All seemed well for members of the Nashville Tribute Band as expressed their appreciation for LDS missionaries through music Thursday evening at the Sandy Ampitheater.
However, as lead singer Jason Deere and the group staged their release concert of their newest album, “The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries,” rain began to fall on the near capacity crowd, sending concert-goers fleeing for cover underneath the canopy.
Deere quickly knew who was to blame.
“Katherine brought it when she caused the angels to cry,” Deere said of Katherine Nelson Thompson, one of the band members who also starred as Emma Smith in “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” and “Emma Smith: My Story.” “It was a great night, even though we battled the rain.”
Halfway through the performance, the skies did slightly clear and the group continued with the performance, which later featured dozens of well-attired young men and women representing missionaries as the band sang the signature song of their album.
Deere spoke of the group’s recent trip to Hong Kong and speaking with and performing for youths there. They responded in turn by teaching the group how to sing the LDS hymn “I am a Child of God” in Mandarin. He said one young woman in attendance was the only Latter-day Saint among the 12 million people in her city.
“Can you believe the courage?” Deere asked. “Talk about a whole different type of brave.”
During the performance Thursday, members of the band shared where they had served their missions, including Massachusetts, Kentucky and Hungary.
Michael McLean, who served in South Africa, made a surprise appearance much to the delight of the crowd. McLean performed his familiar song “Together Forever” and other numbers on the piano. Later he directed the missionary-looking choir.
Perhaps the audience’s largest laughs of the evening came when Deere told the crowd about his experience as a young man in telling his non-LDS friends from Oklahoma about his mission call.
“When I told them I was going to Las Vegas, they told me, ‘well, we’ll be seeing you there,’” Deere said.
Deere said the group was grateful to take part in encouraging a gospel message.
“I love that the gospel is being preached throughout the world,” said the Oklahoma native, whose parents are converts. “I love it. It might take a war for some of our men and women to do it, but it’s happening. Not that I love war, don’t get me wrong, but I love that it helps bring the gospel across the world.
“That’s what this culture of sending missionaries all over the world is all about—bringing souls to Christ,” he continued. “I know people ask me all the time what these two-year things are all about. Now when my friends asks me, I can just throw a CD at him.”
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