Merrill Osmond’s Youth Pioneer Pageant on Monday night started with the blasts of a cannon, the roars of the packed West Jordan Arena crowd and the gasps of an audience watching as four sky divers landed in front of their eyes.
All of which was heard with ringing ears, even in the ears of 8-year-old Kaden Wright, who is hearing-impaired.
Merrill Osmond, with support from his sons Justin and Shane, produced the three-night event, which featured more than 1,000 children and young adults sharing stories about Utah’s settlers through dance and song.
Marilyn Fullmer, of South Jordan, came to the pageant for two reasons. One, because she loves the Osmonds. Two, because her son is hearing-impaired, and all of the pageant’s proceeds go to the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund, which Fullmer thinks is great.
Since the fund began in 2010, it has helped more than 2,000 children receive hearing aids, including Kaden, who received free hearing aids Monday night from My Hearing Centers.
“Yee-haw,” screamed Kaden after the presentation of the hearing aids.
The pageant has given away thousands of dollars in hearing aids, said Merrill Osmond, producer of the show.
Along with the presentation of the hearing aids to Kaden, the pageant “pre-show” featured the colorful cultural dancing of the Sacred Hoop Dance Troop and the patriotic country singing of Nathan Osmond, son of Alan Osmond.
Nathan Osmond’s performance had the audience up and, young or old, shaking their stuff.
The pre-show for the last night of the show will feature the One Voice Children’s Choir, the former 2002 Winter Olympic Children’s Choir.
The main event featured portrayals of Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers, American Indians and German, Jewish and Chinese settlers by youth who sang and danced under fireworks.
Merrill Osmond, who has also produced the Stadium of Fire show in Provo, said he created the pageant because there was no event to celebrate Pioneer Day other than the parade.
He wrote the show from the perspective of children. “I figure that the kids ought to do it,” he said. That way the show is about remembrance and heritage.
This is the pageant’s fourth year, but the first year it has been in its new and permanent home in West Jordan.
The pageant is a celebration of the pioneers and settlers entering the valley, said Merrill Osmond.
“We are pioneers,” said Nathan Osmond. “Modern-day pioneers.”
Note: The Salt Lake Tribune is a media sponsor of Merrill Osmond’s Youth Pioneer Pageant.
Merril Osmond’s Youth Pioneer Pageant
P Where • West Jordan Arena, 8125 S. 2200 West
When • Saturday, Monday; concludes on Tuesday, 8 p.m.
Running time • Two hours and 40 minutes
Tickets • $10-$15 at SmithsTix
Info • pioneerpageant.com