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Geoffrey McAllister, Deseret News
Wayne, Marie, Jimmy, and Donny Osmond address the media during a press conference highlighting tonight's performance of the Osmonds and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Friday.

When all nine members of the Osmond family — Virl, Tom, Wayne, Alan, Jay, Merrill, Donny, Marie and Jimmy — take the stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for Pioneer Day concerts tonight and Saturday night, it will mark several milestones.

It will be the end of the Osmonds' 50th Anniversary Tour.

It will be the last time the whole family will appear on stage.

It will be a return home to where it all started.

It promises be a fun, entertaining concert, said Donny at a press conference this afternoon. "There will be some surprises. We'll sing with the choir in a way they've never sung before."

But it will also "be a tender evening," Marie said. Even though she and Donny will keep performing — a long-term Las Vegas engagement starts Sept. 9 — and some of the other brothers will continue to work and entertain, "it will be our last show as a family."

Both of them talked about the importance of their family. As the only girl, "I've done a good job with them, don't you think?" Marie joked.

But on a more serious note, she continued, "They are wonderful men. The best. They love God. They love their wives. They love each other. They love their faith. They say good men are hard to find, but I've got eight of them right here."

"We had to like each other growing up," Donny added with a laugh. "Of course, we got on each other's nerves now and then. Families do that. And then you throw show business into the mix. But family means everything. That stems from our parents' teachings. They taught us how important family is."

They have worked together and taken pride in each other's accomplishments. One special moment comes to mind from the recent worldwide tour, he said. "We were at Wembley Arena in England, and it was packed. I watched my brothers perform a group of songs from their album, 'The Plan.' They were doing the rock and roll show they've always wanted to do, and the place went wild. That was so great."

But he expects these concerts in the Conference Center to be equally moving. "This is really the culmination of everything we've done. It will be the end for some. Could there be a better place for that to happen?"

A special moment for him will come when he sings "a song I wrote for my son on a mission. To get to sing that with the choir and orchestra is very special."

The choir and orchestra are also excited about the concert, choir president Mac Christensen said. "To share this moment with the Osmonds is unbelievable. To think of the example they have set for the church and for the world — and yet they've always been ours, our favorites. We are really blessed."

"We're delighted," added Mack Wilberg, director of the choir. "The Osmonds belong to the world, but they've always had a special connection to those in this area. Tonight we will all be doing the things that we do well."

A dream come true is how Jimmy describes the occasion. "We've been overwhelmed with the response. This is the crown jewel in our tour. We're thrilled to be coming home."

Plus, Merrill said, "Everywhere we've traveled, people always bring up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir." People think of them as part of the extended Mormon family, he said, "but we haven't had a chance until now to join our voices with the choir in a united message for the world to hear about faith and family."

The music of the choir "has always blessed our lives," Marie said. "We traveled with their music a lot. Mother heard Elder Dunn say that if there was ever contention in the home, turn on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

Their mother gave them a firm foundation in faith, "and she was fearless in talking to everyone about the church," Jimmy said. "One time we were playing for the queen of England. Mother was wearing a trenchcoat and, at one point, stuck her hand inside. Security was posed to jump when she pulled out a Book of Mormon and gave it to the queen. This last time when we played for the queen, she said she still had that book."

"Mother also knew Elvis," Alan said. "They used to talk on the phone for hours and hours about religion."

Donny credits his mother's love of Elvis' music for helping him get started. "I'd listen to my brothers sing, and I'd listen to her records of Frank Sinatra and Elvis. That's how I learned to sing. I became part of the group when I was 7."

To be with the choir for a Pioneer Day concert also means a lot, the Osmonds said. They talked about their own pioneer heritage — ancestors on both their father's and mother's sides came to Utah and Idaho with the Mormon pioneers.

On the recent tour, they performed a concert in Cardiff, Wales. "We were there to dedicate a hospital as part of the Children's Miracle Network our mother started," Jimmy said. "And we found out that our great-great-great grandfather had been a doctor in that very village."

Although the concert will mean an end of some things, and even though the family is getting older, "we are at a beautiful time in our lives," Marie said. That was one lesson she learned from her successful and fun run on "Dancing With the Stars."

"I only did it because I was in my 40s and wanted other women to see you can still do things. I learned that the 40s are a beautiful time. I learned that I am what I am, like it or lump it."

The show, she said, "was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun. Jonathan (Roberts), my partner, has choreographed a couple of numbers for our Las Vegas show, so I've even got Donny dancing!"


E-mail: carma@desnews.com