Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mormon Times Article

Behind the special effects at the Hill Cumorah Pageant
Author: Toi Clawson
16 July 2010 7:00am

Brock Allen, 18, center, of Sammamish, Wash., is one of the 26 young men who gather in New York to be on a Hill Cumorah Pageant work crew. The crew is in charge of safety, running the 12 light towers and creating all of the special effects.Provided by Fife Photography

MANCHESTER, N.Y. — Brock Allen sets off fire balls and shoots water canons. And if the 18-year-old does his job right, the audience won't notice him or the other 26 teenagers on the Hill Cumorah Pageant work crew who come from across the country to spend four weeks in upstate New York.

They are charged with the safety of the 700 cast members as well as running the 12 light towers and creating all the special effects.

Specifically, Allen is part of the "ground crew." In addition to making water and fire fly, they hoist the enormous sail for Lehi's boat.

These are dramatic and powerful effects to witness during performances, especially considering that few of the young men have ever done any stage crew or theatrical work before coming here.

"I have always known I would come here," said Allen who is from Sammamish, Wash., and attends the Issaquah 2nd Ward, Bellevue Washington Stake.

The 2010 Hill Cumorah Pageant performances began July 9. Braving scattered showers, nearly 4,000 people filled the audience. The cast members have come from as far away as Vietnam and South Africa and across the U.S. and Canada. The work crew has learned their parts, and each evening they make the magic happen on stage to move the story of the pageant along. From the fiery destruction scene to the water curtains of vision sequences, the work crew is a vital part of the pageant.

"This pageant is amazing," Allen said, "it opens your eyes to why we are willing to dedicate ourselves to doing Heavenly Father's work."

With enthusiasm and dedication, the work crew carry out their work night after night.

Allen was adopted as a baby from the island of Kiribati in Micronesia. His parents, Kris and Owen Allen lived in Arizona at that time. From age 5 to 8, Brock Allen lived near Hill Cumorah in western New York. During those years, Allen loved hearing his teenage aunts and uncle describe their experiences being in the pageant in the late 1990s. Brock looked forward to one day being in the pageant himself, and was excited to be accepted on the work crew this year.

Yet there was another connection he didn't expect. Just two days before leaving for work crew, Allen's family received word about his birth family.

Elder Tikaua Taratai, who is serving in the California Sacramento Mission, heard about a family in Arizona who had adopted children from his island. Hopeful to learn where his baby brother was now, Taratai sent information to that family, who knew the Allens, and they relayed all the details. With the paper work the Allens had from the adoption, they confirmed that everything matched. Allen said he is excited to learn about his roots and has plans to meet Taratai after the pageant.

In the meantime, he is busy at work each day, preparing for the nearly 6,000 audience members who come to see the pageant each night. The Allen family, include his parents and three siblings — Lindsay, 15, Brett, 12, and Becky, 8, — are planning to be at the final performance Saturday, July 17.

Performances continue this week through July 17. For information, visit

Toi Clawson is the Hill Cumorah Pageant public affairs director.

One Show Left!

Elder Snow from the Seventy and his wife came and visited us for an early morning devotional. The next two pictures are of the Sacred Grove.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One more week left!!

I'm a little behind with the blog because I broke my leg last Wednesday! I am fine, but it's been a hassle. My family is taking care of me and the Work Crew boys have been thoughtful and supportive. I'm just sad because I don't get to see them as much as I used to.

So much has happened in the last few weeks. Tonight is our 6th show with an audience and there is a big's a beautiful night! The boys are feeling comfortable with their roles now and the show is spectacular!! They have really stepped up to the plate.

The have been to Palmyra and the Grandin Building where the Book of Mormon was published, the Peter Whitmer farm, and the temple again for baptisms. They've cleared a pond of rocks for the facilities management group and eaten LOTS of pizza. This Monday we had the Work Crew version of the Olympics and then they performed an AWESOME rhythm band at our annual FHE HCP talent show, with all their tools they use on the Hill. I will post the performance on the blog if it's not too big to load.

You have wonderful boys!!! I Hope to post more pictures soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Work Crew's Week Two in Pictures

Our wonderful Ground Crew!

Our amazing Light Crew!

We are the Work Crew... the mighty, mighty Work Crew.

Hey Mom... look what I can do!

I've never felt so loved!!!!

The handsome missionaries outside of the Temple.

A view of the stage from the top of the Hill.

Brother Loper and Brothe Kjar preparing to be great missionaries!

The lights go out for the light crew. Too many late night rehearsls!

Who's that man is costume!

Thanks for the goodies mom and dad!! Please send more :)

After a hard game of Ultimate Frisbee!

Sunset from the top of the Hill.

Work crew singing at the after show devotional...about 11:00 at night.

Abinadi burning st the stake. Don't worry, the fire is about 12-15 feet away from him.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We love these boys!!

Handsome District Leaders getting started.

Empty hill with no stage :( We should fix that...

Here come the Work Crew!!

Now all they need is angelic supervision...Look, it's a plane, no it's Brother Krebs!!

I call this "Team Work".

End of the first day!

End of the second day!

End of the third day!

Filling fire extinguishers with water.

Wow!!! What strength!! (Working on the water fall above)

Working hard!!!

What great young men we have on the work crew!

Installing the water fall.

Reading in the upper room of Joesph Smith's log cabin.

All the Boys and Leaders at the visitor's center.

In front of the tree that was planted when Alvin Smith passed away