Meridian Live! takes Meridian on the Road

Would you like to enjoy a two-day LDS Education and Concert series in your own area, featuring inspirational speakers and fun entertainment? Come to www.meridianlive.com to see this year’s schedule, featuring events in Mesa, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Palmyra, New York; Washington D.C. and many more.

First event is in Mesa, Arizona March 25-26 at the same time as the famous Easter Pageant. If you want to come to the event for free, sign up for the volunteer club here. Want to talk to someone about this? Call toll-free: 1-888-537-8687.

If you look forward to Meridian Magazine every morning, just imagine how much fun it would be to be surrounded by Meridian’s writers and entertainers – live and in person.  A new program that is being launched by Meridian Magazine, MeridianTrips.com, and Andersen Sales & Marketing, will allow Meridian readers to experience Meridian Live! wherever in the world they might live.

Maurine Proctor, editor-in-chief of Meridian, says that Meridian Live! will actually bring Meridian to places where Saints will gather, giving them two days of classes, concerts, and other events that will be “inspirational, informational, and just downright fun.”

“In a world where we are assaulted with so much bad news and so many negative messages, these education and concert events will offer great refreshment,” she added.  “This will be a chance for church members to take a breather and renew.”

Maurine said that the Meridian Live! schedule will be crammed with so many activities that the biggest problem people will have will be choosing which events to attend and which they will have to miss.

The speakers represent a wide range of topics that hit right where we live-just like Meridian does on the Internet,” she said. “We’ll look at how to strengthen your marriage, what to do with headstrong teens or children who go astray, how to make the most of family history, and insights into the scriptures.”

Not only will there be more than fifty classes offered at each Meridian Live! event, but there will be concerts and other activities as well-for couples, singles and the youth.  David Beagley, LDS Church history director for MeridianTrips, said that there will be headline concerts at night, with lunchtime concerts during the day. 

Sylvia Andersen, who is organizing the concert series, said that the three-hour concert is one that those who attend will remember for a lifetime.  One of the performers is Marvin Goldstein, a Jewish convert to the Church who has become a great emissary for the Church.  “He is a gifted pianist who is incredibly funny,” she said.  “He is a great storyteller, too.  He does concerts dedicated to the cause of peace.  His concerts in Israel feature Palestinian and Jewish entertainers, performing together.”

Also performing will be a new group, Bridges, that features four veteran musical performers and two of their daughters.  Blair Andersen has performed with Stevie Wonder, the Lettermen, The Association, and others, as a musical conductor and arranger.  Bob Apperson was a member of Buffalo Springfield and has performed with Jose Feliciano.  These two and their partners, Mike Fleetwood and Nick Peper, have been performing together for 20 years. 

The two daughters are Brittany Blaire, a singer who is traveling with the UVSC ballroom dance competition, and newcomer Marcy Apperson.  The six, who are so named because they bridge the generations, will give a performance that is spiritual, uplifting, and motivational – with a little bit of appropriate rock and roll.

A Meridian Live! contest has been put together to help introduce this new group.  People who attend Meridian Live! can guess the locations of the bridges that are featured on the Bridges introductory album.  Each local winner will get a $100 gift certificate at a local LDS bookstore, and the winner for all of the 2005 Meridian Live! events combined will get a free trip to the site of one of the bridges.

The headliners of the night will be Reunion, a group that is more recognizable to music lovers under their original name, The Lettermen.  The creators of 27 gold albums, these men are responsible for such hits as “When I Fall in Love,” “Theme From a Summer Place,” “Hurts So Bad,” and “Cherish.” 

These three headliners and opening act Michelle Baer are guaranteed to put on a concert that will “move them to tears and make them stand up and cheer,” Sylvia said.

One tempting facet of Meridian Live! will be an expo that will be featured at every two-day event.  These expos will feature artisans, crafters, and other people who will sell their wares to the public.  “We’ll have entertainers selling their CDs, artisans, and inventors – more than 50 booths per expo,” David Beagley said.  “Between classes, or even instead of classes, if that’s what you want to do, you can go see mostly LDS wares.”

Sylvia said her favorite part of Meridian Live! is that it appeals to non-members as well as Latter-day Saints.  “People can bring their neighbors and have a great time.  There’s something for everyone to do.

The thing I like about this is that Meridian Live! classes will include scrapbooking, fitness, health, managing your money, and lots of other things that build and strengthen individuals and families, member and non-member alike.  We have products in the expo that anyone would like to have.  And the people in the concert are performing and entertaining – not pushing the Church.  Don’t be afraid to bring your neighbor.  You can be spiritually fed, be entertained, and fill your shopping needs, and do it all in one place.”

In addition, each Meridian Live! event will be co-sponsored by LDSSingles.com, and there will be a mix and mingle event geared to single Church members at each Meridian Live! weekend. 

There will also be activities geared toward BYU alumni, genealogy buffs, Book of Mormon archaeological groups, and other special interest groups that will have interest for specific Church members.

The 2005 Meridian Live! schedule can be found at the Meridian Live! website.  The first Meridian Live! seminar will be held in Mesa, Arizona, Friday and Saturday, March 25-26.  Featured speakers at the inaugural event will include Jane Clayson Johnson, Kieth Merrill, David A. Christensen, Jack Marshall, and Scot and Maurine Proctor (oh, so that’s what they have in common-they’ll all be in Mesa the end of March speaking to you!).

In 2006, Meridian Live! is scheduled to go international, with events being held in Australia and New Zealand in January.  Meridian Magazine’s readership is enormous in these countries and it’s time “to take the magazine to them,” Meridian’s publisher Scot Proctor said.  In fact, once Meridian Live! gets up to speed the plan is for Meridian Live! weekends to be held twice a month “someplace in the country or outside the country.”

One of the beauties of the Meridian Live! series is that the weekends are being scheduled in conjunction with events that will already draw Saints to the host area.  For example, the Mesa experience is scheduled to coincide with the Mesa Easter Pageant.  There will also be Meridian Live! weekends in Salt Lake City during October conference weekend; Palmyra during the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and Nauvoo during the new Nauvoo Pageant.

According to Steve Dana, vice-president of marketing for MeridianTrips, the new Meridian Live! series is really trying to fill a hole that was created by the discontinuation of the Know Your Religion series and BYU Travel Studies. 

Without access to the speakers that used to travel for the Know Your Religion series or the travel opportunities afforded by BYU Travel Studies, Saints have much less opportunity to interact with inspirational speakers, or have travel opportunities with other Latter-day Saints, Steve said.

Meridian Live! will fill both needs.  People who already live in the area where the expos will be held can attend the two-day events and enjoy the speakers, the concerts, and the trade show.  They can even serve as volunteers who will help organize the events in their home areas.

Saints who do not live in the host areas will be able to combine their trips to Meridian Live! with travel opportunities through MeridianTrips.  There will be tours scheduled by MeridianTrips that will overlap the Meridian Live! weekends.  For example, there are already three church history tours that have been set up by MeridianTrips to coincide with the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  People who take those tours will be able to attend the Meridian Live! weekend in Hill Cumorah as part of their tour.

For people who do not want to take the tour, MeridianTrips can help set up air travel at good rates for the Meridian Live! event alone.

Because Meridian Live! is a work in progress, Steve said volunteers are being gratefully solicited. “We are looking for headline speakers and entertainers,” he said. “We also want local volunteers to serve on the host committee or to be local speakers.” People who are interested should sign up with the “Volunteer Club” here.

Artisans and others who are interested in being vendors at Meridian Live! should contact Sharon Edlefsen of Meridian Magazine’s team at [email protected] or Sylvia Andersen at [email protected].

There are several pricing packages for Meridian Live! designed to fit every budget.  If people just want to shop at the expo, the cost is only $5.  One whole day of classes will be just $20, or both days of classes will be $35.  The concert is priced at $15.  The complete package, giving attendees admittance to absolutely everything that Meridian Live! has to offer, is $50.  VIP seating (which guarantees a chair at the concert and at the other big events that offer amphitheatre seating) is $75 per person. 

If Meridian Live! isn’t yet scheduled for your area, don’t despair. The schedule is constantly expanding and you can be sure that at some point Meridian Live will be coming to a state or city – or country! – near you.  Meridian Live! programs in the works are being planned for California, Idaho, Seattle, Boston, and Branson.  Stay tuned!

Check out Meridian Live! here.