By Stephanie Abney
Shauna Hart, currently of the Greenfield Ward, Mesa Mountain View Stake and her sister, Tamara Whitmer, of the Greenfield Park Ward, Kimball East Stake, watched their mother, Edna Ray Montierth, put on amazing Road Shows back when they were standard events among Latter-day Saints. After 10 years, Sister Montierth was called to become the Stake Road Show Director, and Shauna stepped up to fill her mother’s shoes as the new Director. Helping the youth showcase their talents and using many of her own, Shauna realized that the Lord had given her a gift. Music has been a part of her life ever since.
The sisters grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, with two other siblings and today they both live in Mesa. Shauna’s first instrument was an autoharp when she began teaching music at a preschool at age 19. Then, she and Tamara began raising families and creating children’s musicals. They started a performing group for children ages 5-12 called “Give Us a Hand,” which performed around the valley.
For over 20 years, inspirational songs have been coming to Shauna and she is grateful to create music that stirs the hearts of others and brings them closer to the spirit. Tamara was able to help her sister write out the songs on music manuscript paper and help with arranging. After about the 5th song, Rebecca Jennings joined in as co-arranger and formatted the songs with her song-writing software.
Along the way, Sister Hart began working with Brent Jorgensen, a choral editor, who urged her to enter her work in the church’s music competition. Shauna, Tamara and Rebecca are listed as the winners of the Award of Merit for the church’s 2014 songwriting competition. Shauna and her sister, Tamara, both went to Salt Lake City to hear Shauna’s song, One Clear Night, performed by the Ogden Institute Choir at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.
The sisters were also treated to a special awards dinner with other winning composers. “It was exciting to meet other artists and members of the LDS music department. I enjoyed hearing how the institute choir interpreted my music,” says Sister Hart.
Those interested in the church’s annual music competition can find information at www.lds.org/music. There are numerous categories, including: hymns, inspirational, instrumental, children’s songs and more. This is the second time one of Sister Hart’s songs has won. She and Rebecca Jennings received the Award of Distinction for her song, Quest for Excellence, for strings and vocal performance in 2010.
The winners retain rights to their music but people can go to the church music website and download the winning songs and sheet music. Shauna loves sharing her music and has her own website where some songs can be downloaded and others can be purchased at http://www.hartsongs.net/
Sister Hart is currently the program director over the arts at the Charter School “Encore Arts Academy” in East Mesa. Her missionary musical, “One Heart, One Purpose,” has been performed twice and will be again in November of this year.
Tamara works at Desert Banner as a labor and delivery educator. She uses music and drama in her classes to teach different techniques.