Local Choir and Orchestra Brings Rob Gardner’s “Lamb of God” Oratorio to South Utah County for the First Time

South Utah County residents are invited to attend a stirring rendition of Rob Gardner’s “Lamb of God” oratorio presented by the South Canyons Chorus and Orchestra on March 30 and 31 at Payson High School. The performances are free of charge and will begin at 7 p.m. on both nights. Auditorium doors will open at 6:30 p.m. each night. The March 30 performance is open to adults and children ages 6 years old and older. The March 31 performance is intended for families of all ages. People of all faiths are welcome to attend.

From its award-winning high school choirs to the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir, Utah is no stranger to exceptional music. Ingrid Bolz, an accomplished pianist and choral director, has done her part to enrich Utah’s musical heritage with her own professional contributions. She has accrued a combined 45 years of experience directing and teaching both piano and choral students. Her latest endeavor is an ambitious one: to bring one of the most beloved Easter oratorios to life for the first time in South Utah County. 

In 2021, Bolz and her husband attended Lamb of God: The Concert Film at Stadium Cinemas in Payson. She was touched by the experience. But it wasn’t until 2023, when her daughter, Naomi, invited her to attend a community production of “Lamb of God” in Springfield, Oregon, that she felt driven to action. 

Bolz realized she had the unique opportunity to help South Utah County residents experience Rob Gardner’s “Lamb of God” oratorio the way she enjoyed it the most: live and in person. “Lamb of God” is a sacred work that follows the Savior’s last weeks on earth and his subsequent resurrection as described in the New Testament. It chronicles these events from the unique perspectives of his closest friends and family. 

Although this powerful production has been performed both live and on the big screen all over the world, it has never been performed live in South Utah County. Bolz wanted to change that, so she organized and founded South Canyons Chorus and Orchestra. The group is currently composed of 70 singers and 38 instrumentalists. More than half of the participants come from Payson and Santaquin. The other members come from as far north as Orem and as far south as Nephi. 

Bolz enlisted Kameron Kavanaugh, an accomplished musical professional living in Santaquin, Utah, to become the group’s director. He enthusiastically agreed. 

 “I was extremely interested in creating something that brings both the Payson and Santaquin communities together in a seasonal large ensemble format,” Kavanaugh said. 

Like Bolz, Kavanaugh has a long history of musical accomplishments and training. He founded 

Sound of Ages, a Utah-based professional chamber choir in 2016. Under his direction, the chamber choir has performed in concert venues across Utah, as well as at American Choral Directors Association conferences at state, regional, and national levels. Kavanaugh has also directed choirs at Spanish Fork High School and Junior High School. He jokes that only ice hockey can trump his passion for music. 

Kavanaugh hopes that audience members will “leave the performance with a sense that Holy Week, and by extension, the pinnacle of Holy Week—Easter—can be a significant day of holy renewal. There is a third space somewhere between religious ceremony and concert performance where we can create deeply significant musical experiences that have the power to enrich people’s lives.”

Bolz expresses similar sentiments. She wants audience members to “be uplifted and encouraged, to feel united in our reverence and honor for the Easter Story.” She reaffirms that the performance is intended to inspire people of all faiths. She hopes that choir and audience members will feel “united in our gratitude for the mission of Jesus Christ.”

Besides Bolz and Kavanaugh, many volunteers continue to dedicate their time, talents, and efforts to this phenomenal production. Ben Winkler and Heather Hunt are two that particularly deserve mention. Winkler is the orchestra rehearsal conductor and Hunt is the production manager and rehearsal pianist for the orchestra. Winkler has over 50 years of international experience as a conductor, composer, arranger, instrumentalist, and singer. Hunt has over 17 years of experience performing and teaching music. Both are excited to help bring the power and beauty of “Lamb of God” to their beloved communities this Easter. 

“Lamb of God” will be presented by the South Canyons Chorus and Orchestra on March 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. at Payson High School. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free to attend. Individuals who are interested in joining the choir and orchestra for future performances are invited to reach out to Ingrid Bolz at bolz6019@gmail.com. 

Shellie Peterson
Shellie Petersonhttp://Ewritingstudio.com
Shellie Peterson is a mom, wife and freelance writer. She currently lives in Santaquin with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she loves to sing, read, write and spend as much time as possible camping.

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