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LDS Latino community shares culture, faith with performance


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SALT LAKE CITY — More than a thousand Latter-day Saints from the Latino community will perform a cultural program for tens of thousands of spectators this weekend.

The performance, titled "Luz de las Naciones: Sus Promesas" ("Light of the Nations: His Promises"), has taken months of planning and rehearsing. Now Latin American Latter-day Saints will share the music and dance of their cultures while expressing a story of faith.

Dulce Benjamin, assistant to the artistic director, said, "We want to be able to touch the lives of other people through music and dance, also to get the feeling of what the church is all about."

It has proven quite the challenge for the costumer to dress a children's choir, an adult choir, plus the more than 500 performers representing many nations.

"Every country has its flavor, its color and life," said Costume Director Carla Montesino. "I just hope that through the designs we can really express what these cultures are really about and how wonderful their music and their culture really is."

About "Luz de las naciones – Sus promesas"
  • Celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ to the New World and tells the legends of the great white god who visited the various civilizations in the Americas and on the isles of the sea.
  • Features music, dance, and narration
  • 365-voice adult choir
  • 130-voice children's choir
  • Musicians playing traditional instruments

Sebastian Fernandez is representing Argentina. "With all the colors, the costumes and all the energy that these people have, all they want is to share this with everybody," he said.

This is the third such celebration; the first took place in 2004, then again in 2006. For the first time, this year the program will be recorded and taken to a number of countries in Central and South America.

Annya Becerra, who represents Guatemala, said, "It's given us the opportunity to be transmitted internationally. So really, it's an outreach that we're going to do worldwide. So, that's exciting."

This cultural celebration is slightly different from the previous ones because it includes Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. It tells the story of the Americas.

Fili Sagapolutele, who represents Hawaii, explained, "In the Book of Mormon, they talk about the migration to the islands and they never came back. It's our belief that we came from this people and migrated there to the islands. So, we share some of the same legends and some commonalities in our history with the Latin community."

Every culture has something to share, they say.

According to lds.org/events, tickets to the Friday and Saturday performances were no longer available.

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Carole Mikita

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