Southern Utah University hosted Marie Osmond on Wednesday, Dec. 1 for the annual President’s Holiday Gala and Concert.
The singer burst onto the stage in a dazzling red dress for her opening number, singing “Need a Little Christmas.”
“For I’ve grown a little older,” she sang, pointing to a photo of her surrounded by children to the audience’s approval. “I’ve got eight grandkids!”
Osmond sang a variety of Christmas songs and classics of hers including a new song from her upcoming album, “Unexpected.”
Partway through, she paused and asked anyone who had served in the military to stand so the audience could honor them, singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
“My father always told me to never have a show without honoring the service members among us,” she said.
She enjoyed engaging the audience, even pulling one man up on stage with her. She gave him a Santa hat and Christmas scarf to join her in a duet of “Blue Christmas” with him in charge of singing the word “blue.” She got him to dance with her after which the audience gave him a standing ovation.
Osmond was accompanied by a 60-piece orchestra from SUU.
“I live for orchestras,” she exclaimed. “Look at them! They could be my kids. Do you guys even know who I am?” Her constant quips had the audience laughing and cheering throughout the show.
Maddie Leseberg, a hospitality management major, was part of the planning for the gala and concert.
“It was really cool to see how nostalgic this was for a lot of older people who came to the concert,” Leseberg said. “The front row was jamming the whole time, it was fun to see.”
Her nephew, David Osmond, joined her for duets and took the stage for some songs of his own.
“To be on stage here at SUU, singing in Cedar City, after being told I may never walk again, is a miracle,” Osmond said. He spoke of his father who suffers from multiple sclerosis and said he also lives with MS.
She finished the concert with a Christmas medley but the continuing applause brought her back on stage for multiple encores of “My Grown Up Christmas List,” “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “How Great Thou Art.”
Matthew Watson, another event planner, said behind the scenes was hectic.
“This was the largest concert I’ve ever worked on,” Watson said. “It was really cool to see this big-name person on stage, and how much the audience loved it. It was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Story & Photo by McKayla Olsen