Thursday, May 1, 2014

BYU Young Ambassadors and Royalty

The BYU Young Ambassadors are in Thailand for 12 Days.  I was invited to chauffer the Senior Missionary couples that live in Bangkok to the first performance.  This performance was held at  the Sala Chalermkrung Theater.  So I borrowed the Service Center Mission Van.  I had intended to take the Mission Van normally driven by the Assistants to the President. However, the assistants had borrowed my keys and had not returned them.  Both their keys and my keys were at there apartment. I picked up the senior missionary couples at the Supalai Condominium (same place that Sister Meeker and I live) and then drove to the Mission Home to pick up President an Sister Senior. 

I had scoped out the route to get to the theater ahead of time. Sister Meeker did not want to be my navigator - So I recruited President Senior.  The theater is in a old part of Town not far from China town with a lot of one way streets.  After we got thru the traffic in the business part of town the 8 kilometer trip was successfully completed. We only missed one turn on the way there - President Senior quickly redirected me to an alternate route (GPS is marvelous) after taking me down a very narrow street ( more like an alley).   Pulled in the parking area and was directed to the roof of the Parking garage. The roof was only about 18 stories up.  Great view from the roof.

The Princess was in attendance at this performance. With the presence of a member of the Royal family there was some uptightness with regard to being on time and what you were required to wear.  Ladies were encouraged to wear long formal dresses. For a 7:30PM start time I left the office at 4:30 PM.  Remember this was only a 8 Kilometer trip.  We got there with plenty of time.  We had a take out snack from the restaurant attached to the theater building.  I had crab sandwich - Lois had two small pieces of room temperature Hawaiian Pizza.

Chair used by the Princess  - After Performance was completed
The Princess is royal by way of marriage.  She is the first wife of the only son of the King.
They are divorced.  But she is the mother of the 1st grandchild of the King.  As such, I understand hat the King declared her Princess forever (after the divorce).  There was a lot of pomp and circumstance when she arrived.  They cleared several rows of chairs to put here in the middle of the theater.  We were not allowed to take pictures.  But I got a couple of shots after the performance was over of the area she sat in.

Children's Hospital benifited by performance - thus Nurses and others in attendance getting their picture taken
The BYU Young Ambassadors,  entered the world stage at Japan's Expo '70. The Young Ambassadors have performed their vibrant blend of song and dance in 56 nations of the world.  Their audiences have included the prime minister of India, the queen of Thailand, and the king and queen of Jordan.  The Young Ambassadors combine contemporary music and dance for a fast-paced showcase of American musical theatre. Chosen through an extensive selection process, these talented performers offer a fresh view of America's culture and ways of life.
 The Young Ambassadors did a marvelous job. They did a 90 minute show and sang songs that all had a theme of “Heartsongs – Melodies of Love”.  At the end of the show she even gave flowers to three members of the Group, one young man, one young women representing the Young Ambassadors and the Music director.  The thing that was cool – was that after the official performance was completed the group sang a Primary Song in Thai and for the final song they sang song a that was actually written by the King.  When they started to sing that song the Thai audience got quite excited.

As I mentioned the Young Ambassadors will be in country for 12 days doing 5 formal shows.  After that they will travel to Cambodia for one show and then on to Vietnam for two shows - one in Hanoi and one in Ho Chi Min City (Siagon). Elder and Sister Manning, the Public Affairs missionaries have done all of the coordination for this trip.  I have had a few opportunities to help.  I spent a Saturday morning with Elder Manning and representatives of the tour company and the Bus company moving the group.  I was simply the interpreter to make sure nothing was lost in translation.  I also was present to translate on Monday night at 10 PM when the Sealand Container that held all (~8,000 lbs) of the equipment arrived.  It was unloaded into a standard truck in the Service Center parking lot.  

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