Three young women who sang in a Utah-based chorus called the Jenny Phillips Choir had no idea when they joined the ensemble that they were about to begin a journey that would take them on a whirlwind of engagements nationally and internationally.
“Jenny approached Whitney Permann, Brooke Stone and me and said she thought our voices could blend well for a trio,” explains Soni Muller. “We didn’t really know each other, but we all said ‘yes’ and have become more than friends. We are more like sisters.”
They called themselves Mercy River, and for a dozen years they have performed as a highly-sought after vocal group who bring upbeat and inspirational music to a following of fans old and new who value their heavenly harmonies and heartwarming hope-filled lyrics.
Mercy River will appear in concert at 4 p.m. and a 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State Street in Orem. Reserved seat tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older and are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS or in person at the main office at SCERA Center, 745 South State, Orem, open 10am-6pm weekdays.
It is Mercy River’s final scheduled concert, because the artists are taking an indefinite hiatus after the SCERA shows. As important as their music is, their families command a higher priority. Among them they have 15 children. As the children have gotten older, they are no longer portable kids who can accompany their mothers everywhere. They have their own lives to pursue and the mothers are eager to attend their all their ball games and other activities.
The trio as envisioned by Phillips started at a Celtic group, reflected in the first two of their six albums. Phillips basically wrote the first album and pitched it to Deseret Book, and they recorded under the Shadow Mountain Records label.
A great opportunity presented itself when Deseret Book tapped them to tour with its Time Out for Women program. A tour would consist of three artists and speakers who would perform in about 20 cities over a long weekend. That adds up to thousands of concerts. “The most enjoyable part of the experience is staying after the concert to hear members of the audience share their stories and share conversations,” Mullen says.
As they performed over the years, they developed into their “authentic selves,” which includes not only blending their voices but also finding ways to make the most of their different personalities and strengths—even their weaknesses.
“We genuinely like each other and want what’s best for Mercy River,” Mullins explains. “So the focus is never on who gets the solo; it’s more about what will make the music better.”
The Mercy River singers adopted their own style, which brings hope and encouragement to the Christian music market. “Our concerts are designed to inspire and illuminate ideas, but they are also a lot of fun for both us and our audiences,” Muller adds.
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