President Nelson's Birthday celebrated tonight

(Photo courtesy Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Press release via the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY - Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith will gather tonight in Salt Lake City to celebrate the 95th birthday of President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The prophet will be honored for his life of Christlike service.

Performing artists Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, GENTRI, The Bonner Family, Nathan Pacheco and Donny Osmond will join The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for the event, beginning at 8:00 p.m. mountain daylight time in the Conference Center.

The gala will share insights into the life, ministry and service of President Nelson. Videos will focus on how his career, family and ministry have shaped who he is as a special witness of Jesus Christ.

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy, a former sportscaster and professional football quarterback, and Ruth Todd, a former television news anchor, will emcee the celebration.

Tickets for the celebration have been distributed, but the event will be streamed live at ChurchofJesusChrist.org, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as on the Church satellite system, tabernaclechoir.org and the choir’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

The broadcast will be available for on-demand viewing on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, tabernaclechoir.org and the choir’s YouTube channel immediately following the live broadcast on Friday, September 6, 2019, in the following languages: English, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish and ASL.

The event will also be rebroadcast on BYUtv on Sunday, September 8 at 4:30 p.m. mountain daylight time. The same day, an audio rebroadcast will be available on BYU Radio 107.9 FM, SiriusXM 143 and online at BYUradio.org at 6:00 p.m. Mountain time.

Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four comprises the Grammy-nominated violinist and her four children – three on string instruments and one on piano. They have performed all over the world.

“I’m grateful to be able to perform with our children and hope people can feel the love that we have for each other and the love that we have for the Savior and for the prophet and this Church,” said Baker. “I [have] performed in the Conference Center a number of times, but it’s amazing to be able to do it with our children, and it’s such a momentous event.”

GENTRI, The Gentlemen Trio, includes three tenors: Brad Robins, Casey Elliott and Bradley Quinn Lever. They have been performing their three-part harmonies together since 2014.

“When we were invited to participate in this, [we were] honored and humbled and excited to be able to share our music and our testimonies and to honor a man who truly is a great example for all of us and has been a part of our lives,” said Elliott.

“[This] is an incredible opportunity for us to testify of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” explained Lever. “You know, we don’t always do spiritual or religious music, but when we do it's very personal to each of us.”

“There’s a lot of turmoil, there’s a lot of unrest and there’s one thing that [transcends] all language and cultural barriers, and that is love and kindness,” added Robins. “It’s an honor to sing for a man who truly embodies those characteristics and Christlike attributes.”

The Bonner Family comprises eight siblings and their parents, all talented vocalists, who perform and record together.

“We are an African American family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we say, ‘We thank God for a prophet,’” shared Debra Bonner, the matriarch of the family.

“We’re all over the globe right now, and so it’s always fun for us to come together and do a performance,” said Mauli Jr. Bonner, who arranged the medley of songs the family will perform. “This will be the first time we do [the arrangement] together.”

Nathan Pacheco is a classically trained tenor who has made a name for himself as a crossover artist, performing in both the U.S. and abroad. He has a number of CD releases to his credit.

“I have so much respect for [President Nelson] not only for his accomplishments in his professional career but also for the influence that he’s had on my life [and] my family’s life,” said Pacheco. “It’s a huge honor to be able to sing … in the unbelievably beautiful Conference Center with the choir [and] the orchestra. It’s one of my all-time favorite places to perform.”

Donny Osmond is a versatile singer, dancer, actor, recording producer and TV star. He has a string of gold records and is completing an 11-year run of a Las Vegas show with his sister, Marie.

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square are musical ambassadors for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their weekly broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” is celebrating 90 years of continuous broadcasting.

President Nelson was born September 9, 1924, in Salt Lake City. The global faith leader is a former heart surgeon. He was called from his profession and into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in April 1984. He also served as the Sunday School general president from 1971 to 1979. President Nelson became the 17th president of the Church in January 2018.

To contact Lisa Dayley Smith write to lsmith@uvsj.com