The Messiah, Another Testament

Scroll to the bottom to see 4 sample 30 second videos

The Oratorio / Pageant

As a concert oratorio, this is a multi-media presentation with actors and simultaneous slide and video presentations while the chorus and orchestra play.  It is a pageant when performed with costumes and scenery.

This oratorio tells the story of the people of The Book of Mormon from their origins.  Beginning with their departure from Jerusalem to their arrival and separation in the Americas.  Included in the oratorio is the story of the resurrection and visitation of Christ to the Nephites in America.  The oratorio ends with the story of the last battle of the people of ancient America and Mormon and Moroni in a finale that leads to the coming forth of The Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith entitled “From the Dust of the Earth”.  The object is to give an overview of the story and purpose of The Book of Mormon, to help proclaim the gospel to the world, and strengthen the testimonies of the saints.   According to Del Parkinson, Boise State Univ. professor and Morris Bastian, former President of the Boise Institute of religion at Boise State University, “this oratorio includes some of the most important parts of The Book of Mormon story along with the basic doctrines of the Book.”

Many different soloists are used to portray the many prophets.  There is a children’s chorus that comes on stage and sings with the Lord and Chorus during Christ’s visit scene.

The Music

The music for The Book of Mormon oratorio / pageant, The Messiah, Another Testament, is divided into 8 sections.  Each section or movement represents part of the story of The Book of Mormon.  It was written musically as an oratorio and designed to be dramatized as a pageant when it is performed.  Unlike most oratorios, a different person sings each solo passage representing the various different prophets and characters.  Thus there are many solo parts.  Also differing from other Book of Mormon oratorio, this one covers the whole story and not just a single section. 

It is similar yet more complete than the Hill Cumorah pageant but with live music and singers.  It begins with the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem, covers doctrines, situations, and people from the tree of life to Samuel chronologically, and has a climax with the arrival of Jesus to the Nephites in America.  The pageant continues with wars, angels, and goes through to Mormon’s lament and the last battle.  It culminates with the restoration of the gospel and the book coming forth out of the ground from the dust of the earth.  During the entire performance there are (church) pictures and video of the people and places along with the entire text (which is about 98% straight from The Book of Mormon with minor modifications for the purpose of fitting music and words rhythmically). This is a multi-media production as a concert version.

The music is a full orchestration but is also available for small ensembles of instruments as well as a synthesized orchestral version, (to be played on synthesizers).  A minus track is available for those performances, which are unable to have any orchestra. A complete piano version is also available.  Any of the songs are also available separately.  The Alleluia Chorus and Idaho Choral Symphony Orchestra perform this Book of Mormon pageant as often as possible around the Easter season in Boise, Idaho.  This is a multi-media presentation.  Slides and video are shown throughout the entire performance while the actors portray the events on stage.

The music has recurring themes and motifs, which represent recurring actions or subjects.  For example, every time God speaks the same music is played, though it is orchestrated differently each time.  And as in the standard classical oratorio, each movement is different from the one before or after in many ways, from tempo to key.

The Messiah, Another Testament

This is the outline of events.

1.

THE JOURNEY 1 Nephi – 2 Nephi 4
Introduction 1 Nephi 1:13-14; 2:20; 3:7; 4:13 Lord, Nephi, & chorus
Tree of Life” 1 Nephi 11:1 – 32 Nephi, Lord, & chorus

The introduction begins with the story of Lehi being instructed to leave old Jerusalem and obtaining the plates of brass, and concluding with the promise of going to the Land of Promise.

The “Tree of Life” tells the story of the vision of Nephi along with the foretelling of the birth of Jesus Christ.

2.

SEPARATION 2 Nephi 5
My Family” 2 Nephi 5:5 – 28 Chorus & Nephi

Nephi being warned to leave his brothers, does so. This section tells of their journey and about how they built their homes under the direction of Nephi, their leader.

3.

DOCTRINES 2 Nephi 6 – Omni 1:11
The Doctrine” 2 Nephi 31 Chorus & Nephi

The basic doctrines of the Book of Mormon or in other words, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is outlined and presented, i.e. faith, baptism, repentance, and receiving of the Holy Ghost.

4.

ZARAHEMLA Omni 1:12 – 26
Reunion” Omni 1:12 – 26 Chorus & Amaleki

Some 300 years into the story of the Book of Mormon the Nephites find the people of the city of Zarahemla. This was a time of rejoicing for the people of the city. So this is a joyous musical sound.

5.

THE KINGS & JUDGES Omni 1:27 – Alma 44
Kings & Judges” Mosiah. 2:17 – 4:7; King Benjamin & chorus
Hymn to the Lord ” Mosiah. 4:2 Chorus
Kings & Judges” Mosiah.14:1 – 16:15; Alma 40:16 – 43:25 Abinadi, Alma & chorus
Hymn to the Lord” Mosiah. 4:2 Chorus

About the middle of the story we have many kings and prophets who preach repentance and the word of God. This section ends with the beautiful “Hymn to the Lord”, which is a prayer.

6.

WARS and DESTRUCTION Alma 45 – 3 Nephi 10
The Title of Liberty” Alma 46:2 – 21 Moroni & male chorus
And Thus It Is” Helaman. 12:2 – 3; 9 – 12; 24 Alto, Soprano solo & chorus
Samuel the Lamanite” Helaman. 13: 33 – 39; 3 Nephi 8:25; 9:2 Samuel, Lord & chorus

The Book of Mormon records many wars and battles. To bring this information to the fore front none is more inspiring than the “Title of Liberty”. This is an all male chorus singing a rip-roaring march as the words tell the story exactly as it was written.

God has given us valleys that we might thereby know where the mountains are, so is “And Thus It Is”. All the solo parts before and after this are for men. This is a narrative from The Book of Mormon, which explains the nature of man towards God. The alto and soprano solos were some of the most beloved music of the oratorio according to those who participated.

Samuel the Lamanite” presents us with the reality of our sins as he calls us to repentance. This music represents the destruction, which takes place at the end of 3 Nephi 10. The orchestra player’s scream as thunder and lighting are portrayed.

7.

RESURRECTION & VISITATION 3 Nephi 11 – 4 Nephi
Behold” 3 Nephi 11:3 – 11 God speaks, Lord & chorus
Beatitudes” 3 Nephi 12:1 – 8 Lord & chorus
Behold Your Little Ones” 3 Nephi 17:5 – 23 Child speaks, Lord, chorus, & children’s’ chorus

The Lord miraculously appears and tells those that were there who He is.

The teachings of the Beatitudes in full are presented as children come unto the stage.

The Savior then sings with the children and chorus.

8.

THE LAST BATTLE –  Mormon & Moroni Instrumental
O Ye Fair Ones” Mormon 6:17 – 22 Mormon, Lord, all soloists, & chorus
From The Dust of the Earth” Coda Chorus

The Last Battle” is the only section which is completely instrumental. This 8-minute piece represents the last battle in The Book of Mormon. During the music a video is shown of a battle scene. It ends without a break into “O Ye Fair Ones”.  Again with the text being strictly from the scriptures, Mormon tells his surmise of what has just happened.

The last part or ending which is called a CODA and is an explanation of how we received The Book of Mormon. It is without doubt one of the biggest climaxes to the end of a piece of music with the trumpets sounding the announcement.

Based on the many emails, letters, and testimonials the Alleluia Chorus has received, this powerful pageant is a very spiritually uplifting experience to both the performers and the audiences and lends credence to our mission statement of perfecting the saints and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Solo Parts
Nephi – tenor I; Lord – tenor I; Amaleki, Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma – baritone;
Moroni – tenor I; Samuel – bass; Mormon – baritone; Angels – Alto & Soprano

Just a few of the many Testimonials we have received from both the performers and the audience.

Book of Mormon oratorio testimonial

Book of Mormon oratorio testimonial

April 23, 2003

 To Whom it May Concern:

Recently “The Messiah, Another Testament” was produced here in Boise.  From the first time I saw the invitation to participate I just had this feeling that this was something I needed to participate in.  My daughter, a friend and I joined the choir and jumped into the experience of a lifetime.

I’m not a professional vocalist, but I read music and have years of experience as an amateur.  Singing this “Messiah,” with lyrics taken from the Book of Mormon, was a monumental challenge.  From the first practice I was on the edge of my seat paying steadfast attention knowing that if I didn’t I would embarrass my fellow chorus members and myself when we performed.

Peter Covino laced this 75-minute composition with beautiful themes and dissonant chords, which resolved into pure musical magic.  As a multi Stake choir we became a team, cheering each other on as each vocal section tackled the difficult lines one by one.  We expressed our awe and reverence at this music’s message to one another as we prepared to sing with the orchestra for the first time–the night before our first performance!  Once again, a challenge, most of us had never sung “over” an orchestra.

There were several soloists in the “Messiah” and most of them were volunteers from the chorus.  I know the Lord blessed each of them. In the performances they sang beyond any rehearsals’ best.  That night as we sang the full oratorio through with the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, we realized that we were part of something we might never be part of again: the original production of an inspired work of praise honoring the mission of Jesus Christ.

It was exhausting!  Four performances and a dress rehearsal in four days.  It was exhilarating!  As we sang through the Book of Mormon I was able to represent an angel praising the Lord as Nephi saw Lehi’s vision of the iron rod and the tree of life, I joined Nephi’s wife as we left Bountiful for the unknown.  The most glorious moment was singing praises to the resurrected Christ as he blessed the Nephite children. Through this music I was able to both share my personal testimony and understand more fully the emotions of many characters in the Book of Mormon.  This has added new empathetic dimensions to my reading and my testimony.

I wake with this music in my mind and it is there when I go to sleep–I’m so thankful.  Revisions will be made to perfect this work, I am sure, but I will ever be thankful for the opportunity I had to sing the Lord’s praises through Covino’s “Messiah” and experience the unveiling of a masterpiece in progress.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my experiences with you. 

Heaven’s blessings,

Kyrsten Bell

Boise, Idaho

– – – – — – – –

Laura Sperry

Corvallis, Oregon 97333

 To whom it may concern,                                         5/15/03

 I would like to tell you about the most culturally fulfilling and spiritually uplifting time I have ever experienced.  I had the privilege of attending “The Messiah, Another Testament” in Boise a few weeks ago, not only was it an exhilarating experience but one that has left an indelible impression upon me body and soul.  I simply can not get those incredibly beautiful and haunting operatic melodies out of my head.  They continue, even after weeks, to renew me spiritually with their powerful message of the divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the truthfulness and sublime spirit of the Book of Mormon.  I purchased several CD’s to share with friends and personally never grow tired of listening and reliving the experience.  This is not your average bit of fluff but a perfectly orchestrated, complex achievement which the listener can appreciate on many levels.  In fact I believe there is too much going on to absorb it all in one sitting.  The more I listen the more I understand it and I grow with it.  The intrinsic beauty of the music expresses perfectly its powerful message.  I was moved to tears throughout the entire first performance and I still can not listen to the ending without my heart pounding and tears welling up in my eyes.  This is bound to be the most amazing missionary tool we have had yet to date.  I hope I will have another opportunity in the future to bring my entire family to a live performance.

Sincerely,

 

Laura Sperry

– — – – – – – – –

Michael Johnson

Meridian, Idaho 83642

 Dear Brother, April 5, 2003

 I had the privilege of singing with a local choir (we were all commoners) in the first four performances of The Messiah, Another Testament.  As we began rehearsing the music two months ago, I was very skeptical that this effort would ever amount to much musically. However, as the production began to pull together, a strong spirit of testimony began to settle over the choir. Each rehearsal became a moving spiritual experience, and as we finally rehearsed and then performed with the Boise Philharmonic Symphony, the spirit of testifying of the precepts of the Book of Mormon and of the arrival of Jesus Christ to the Americas became over powering. The music and testimony were magnificent, and at times I was so emotional I could not sing. Each performance had an increased effect upon me, and by the last performance the spirit was so strong that I felt I was buoyed by spiritual adrenaline. I have since felt compelled to help to bring this amazing instrument of testament to whoever would listen, and if possible to the world. Peter Covino, Jr. has always maintained that this music came to him by revelation; I was a hard sell to believe that until I heard it unfold in its completeness. Having experienced it first hand I now believe it came directly from Heaven.  Please take time to scrutinize this music with a spiritual eye. The performance recorded is not polished, the performers are not professionals, the orchestra only had one rehearsal, but the end result is given with true heart and is profound. I have not been so affected in years.

 
Sincerely,

 Michael L. Johnson

Book of Mormon oratorio testimonials

 

The following four 30 second videos will give you a sampling of the music from “The Messiah, Another Testament” oratorio/pageant.

 IF THESE VIDEOS DO NOT PLAY HERE ON YOUR COMPUTER PLEASE CLICK ON THE SITE BELOW.

 

http://bookofmormonoratorio.blogspot.com/

 

 This first video clip is from the end of the section “The Tree of Life” from The Book of Mormon oratorio/pageant, “The Messiah, Another Testament”

 

 

This is from the middle section of “The Doctrine” from The Book of Mormon oratorio/pageant, “The Messiah, Another Testament”.

 

 https://www.orchestracomposer.com/audio_samples/the_doctrines.mp3

 

This is from the end of “And Thus It Is” from The Book of Mormon oratorio/pageant, “The Messiah, Another Testament”.

 

 

 

This is from the middle section of “O Ye Fair Ones” and the very ending of “From the Dust of the Earth” from The Book of Mormon oratorio/pageant, “The Messiah, Another Testament”.