The plan was to write about the Thursday morning keynotes. That’s what you’re supposed to be reading right now. But I just returned from the RootsTech 2017 opening event, “Music: It Runs in the Family,” a celebration of music and family via the songs and stories of Oscar Hammerstein. It was amazing. It was “some enchanted evening.”
Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III shared the story of his family. Our programme included Andy’s family tree. I admit, that was the first time I’ve seen a family tree in a Tabernacle Choir programme. Andy was named after his grandfather, the Oscar Hammerstein of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame, who was, in turn, named after his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein the first. Oscar the first had a great passion for opera and opened several opera houses in New York City. We learned how music descended through generations of the Hammerstein family. Music, truly ran in his family.
The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. We also heard the stories of several choir members who had parents, grandparents, or other family members sing in the choir, some for multiple generations. When asked to stand if they had other family members in the choir or orchestra, an impressive number of choir members stood. (Help me out, you who were there too. What would you say? Over three-quarters?) Truly, music runs in those families.
The Choir was joined by guest soloist, Dallyn Vail Bayles. Dallyn is a personal family favorite. The moment we heard it, we fell in love with his recording of “You Know Better Than I” from Joseph: King of Dreams. But it goes deeper than that. Dallyn was named after his grandfather, Vail Hatt. Vail was a dear family friend that we admired and miss very much.
There was laughter. There were tears (some were my own). It was truly, an enchanted evening of music and family.
Image: Dallyn Vail Bayles singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on 18 February 2014.