The Cantata Story
Several years ago, a Salt Lake City writer, Hortense Richardson, wrote a text to what she hoped would become an Easter Cantata and for several years, attempts were made to have it set to music. Eventually, she approached Cecelia Benson and asked her to compose the music.
Cecelia didn’t feel adequate, but not wanting to let Hortense down, she said she would try the first piece. She called her friend John Carter, who provided her with a small recording setup. Within days, the first piece, “I Have Seen Him” was written. Karen Carter played a beautiful arrangement of the piece and the mood for the Cantata was now set. During the next year, it became a group effort with John, Karen, and Cecelia writing pieces as the inspiration came. John did the orchestral and choral arrangements for a full orchestra and choir. Karen did the piano accompaniments. A goal was made to have a ward choir perform it during The Easter Season of 1996.
The deadline came and went. Life had become complex due to the house moving project the Carters were involved in. As the Carters moved their house, the Bensons shared their home with them for several months. It was during this time of chaos and construction that the Cantata was completed for its first performance on July 28th, 1996. It was in this performance that Hortense Richardson would hear her dream become a reality.
The Cantata has continued to grow and change. Each year, as the snow begins to melt in the majestic Rocky Mountains that shelter Cache Valley, a miracle occurs. From all over the valley, a choir and orchestra made up of amateur and professional musicians gather. They range in age from three to eighty four, and they combine their talents and their love of the Savior to present this special Easter gift.
Many now come to the Tabernacle in Logan, Utah, to hear the Cantata, “Love’s Greatest Gift”. The miracles that have occurred in the lives of those who have participated as well as in the lives of those who have listened are too many to mention. It is our wish that this glorious message of the resurrection will touch your heart as well.