Heavenly Sound of Music

A picture really is worth 1000 words

Cardston Alberta Temple

I find it intriguing to think of the excitement in the church in Canada 100 years ago.

Cardston Temple Dedication
Photo of 1923 Cardston Temple Dedication

The Alberta temple had been announced on June 27, 1913.  It was now 10 years later and construction was complete.  President Heber J. Grant, Elder George Albert Smith and Elder James E. Talmage made the journey north to preside at the dedication on August 26, 1923.


Cardston Temple Construction

A picnic was provided in August 1923 for the visitors from Salt Lake City who came to Cardston, Alberta for the temple dedication ceremonies.

Waterton Picnic after temple Dedication
Waterton picnic following the temple dedication

Elder James E. Talmage is pointing at Bear’s Hump [a popular hiking mountain].

President E.J. Wood is tall with a moustache [no hat].

President Heber J. Grant [wearing a hat] has his arm around his wife, Augusta Winters.

Elder George Albert Smith is beside the automobile [wearing a hat].


In preparation for the dedication, four of the stalwart Latter-day Saint communities were asked to form choirs:  Cardston, Magrath, Raymond and Taber.

Cardston Temple Choir
Cardston Choir and Roster

1.Iretta Cahoon Head, 2. William Tyler, 3. Luella Steed Smith, 4. Edwin Leavitt, 5. Ibey May, 6. Unknown, 7. Unknown, 8. John Smith, 9. Bert Cure, 10. Rolley Jensen, 11. LaVon Hudson, 12. Ben Hugh May, 13. Unknown, 14. Will Steed, 15. John Merrill, 16. Unknown, 17. Dewey Smith, 18. Anne Steed Green, 19. Arthur Henson (chorister), 20. Dever Hunt, 21. Alice Baker Kraft, 22. Unknown, 23. Lucille Woolf Pilling, 24. Alma Coombs Hansen, 25. Sophas Skriver, 26. Irva Pilling, 27. Unknown, 28. Hattie Baker Jensen, 29. Sylvestor Low, 30. Lucille Hunt Stewart, 31. Unknown, 32. Lillian Bates O’Leary, 33. Edward Leavitt, 34. Lenora Sheffield, 35. Chris Jensen, 36. Doris Hunt Pilling, 37. Lula Anderson Snow, 38. Lexie Burton, 39. Blanch Olsen Low, 40. Unknown, 41. Rose Savage Hensen, 42. Vergi Thorpe, 43. Unknown


My grandfather John Finlay Hamilton sang in the Magrath choir. Of this occasion he wrote:

Had the honor of singing at the opening of the Temple at Cardston which was a red-letter day for me in 1923. My good wife and I and family of that time went through the temple January 2, 1925, and were sealed together for all time and eternity, something we are very proud about. Also had the honor of going with our Church choir, along with three other choirs from Alberta, to sing in the Great Tabernacle at Salt Lake City in 1930.”

I had read this in his history but had never seen the picture of the choir. How excited I was to discover the Magrath Choir picture on FamilySearch. After finding it and knowing there were 3 other choirs, I found those pictures and added them to FamilySearch, tagging the choir members.

Cardston Choir: https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/134872081?cid=mem_copy

Magrath Choir: https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/133484496?cid=mem_copy

Raymond Choir: https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/135001602?cid=mem_copy

Taber Choir: https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/135516745?cid=mem_copy

Magrath Temple Choir
Magrath Choir and Roster

Back Row (1)

Levi Harker, Jim Harker, Fred Palmer, Charles Matkin, Adrian Coleman, Alf Ririe, Marion Merkley

Row (2)

Sadi Babcock, Norma Alston, Margaret Fletcher, Ira Fletcher, Bill Blumell, Jack Hamilton, Vern Bennett, Jack Rasmussen

Row (3)

John Gibb, Elva Harker, Annie Gibb, Emma Bennett, Lily Naylor, Lydia Watson, Cleo (Jensen) Ririe, Alice Wooley, Ella Toomes Blumell,

Row (4)

John Steele, Grant Crookston, Leonard Ririe, Jack Bridge, Earl Tanner, John Head, Nephi Head

Row (5)

Edith Hacking, Ireta Matkin, Mildred Bradshaw, Afton Keeler, Emelia Briggs, Eva Hodges, Dora Coleman, Annie Matkin,

Front Row (6)

Orson Bridge, Vera Merkley

***Maude B. Rasmussen sang in this choir but had gone to nurse her baby, Rachel, and was gone while the picture was taken!


After finding the Magrath choir and knowing there were three other choirs, I found those pictures and added them to FamilySearch, tagging the choir members.

Raymond Temple Choir
Raymond Choir and Roster

Front Row: Chris Tollestrup (choir director), Heber S. Allen, Lorenzo Mitchell (organist)

Second Row: Angeline (O’Brien) Nalder, Adelaide Perks, Delma Peterson Fairbanks, Martha (Holmes) Mitchell, Emma (Holt) Dahl, Fern Dahl King, Lura Redd, Edith Woolley, Emma (Nalder) Burr, Madge (Stevenson) Fairbanks, Myron Holmes

Third Row: Ethel (Mahew) Tollestrup, Eva (Dahl) Salmon, Dettie (McBride) Buckwalter, Mary (Stevenson) Rodeback, Elizabeth (Eames) King, Gwen Bryner, Sarah Earl, Clara (Selman) Rolfson, Florelle (Love) Palmer, William (Bill) Rouse

Fourth Row: Emma (Gould) Nilsson, Joseph Nilsson, Unknown, Alan Erickson, John F. Salmon, Parley Meldrum, Edward Hancock, Floyd Wilde, Ira McBride

Fifth Row: Rudolph Tollestrup, Riley Clark, Lief Erickson, William Clark, John Blackmore, Melba (Kirkland) Holmes, Blanche (Fisher) Scoville, Duncan Weaver, Paul Redd, Spencer Wilde, Mae Tollestrup, Emil Wood

Sixth Row: George Laycock, Wilford Meldrum, Will C. Stone, Aziel Stevenson, Frank Shaw, James H. Walker, Valerie (Nalder) Allen


I have tried to visualize and hear those mighty choirs as they sang in the celestial room of the Cardston Alberta Temple.  The power of those voices and the instruments they were playing would have been overwhelming.

The legacy of these stalwart pioneers lives on in thousands of Latter-day Saints throughout the world.

Taber Choir
Taber Choir and Roster

Back Row (1)  J. Easthope, A. Russell, G. Birch, B. Russell, B. Bullock, Lou Conrad, Milt Conrad, N. Anderson

Row (2)  T.W. Harris, Nellie Lee, Zora Holman, Minnie Lee, Em Harris, Gwen Wright, Sister Falls, Helma Barton, Eva Francis

Row (3)  Roy Easthope, G. Robinson, Warren Russell, C. Peterson, N. Anderson, Ezra Layton, Wilf Grant, Ted Francis

Row (4)  Bro. Larsen, Doris Andersen, Ann Harris, Cleone Bennett, Lucill Jensen, Font Russell, Melba Bennet, G. Holman, W. Anderson

Row (5)  Sister Bennett, Elsie Johnson, Stella Smith, Dolly Haynes, Lillis Birch, M. Haws, Princess Russell, John Haynes

Row (6)  Sister McMullen, Sister Johnson, Emma Russell, Ida Wood, Mrs. Emily Andersen, Roxie Harris

Front Row (7)  Stake Presidency: George W. Green (Counsellor), Hugh B. Brown (President), John Johansen (Choir Director), Asael E. Palmer (Counsellor)


“We’ll make the air with music ring,

Shout praises to our God and King;

Above the rest these words we’ll tell-

All is well! All is well!”

(“Come, Come, Ye Saints,” Hymns, no. 30)