W. O. Robinson

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William Oliver “W. O.” Robinson composed many musical and theatrical works, including operas and dramatic musicals. He was the creative force behind the Gold and Green Balls that were held in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he was a member. He was the lyricist of “Rejoice! A Glorious Sound Is Heard” (#257), which was included in the 1985 Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He composed the music for “M.I.A. We Hail Thee,” which had been included in a 1928, 1933 edition of M.I.A. Songs and Sociability Songs.

Robinson was born on January 24, 1876, in Farmington, Utah, and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in 1884. He graduated from Latter-day Saints College in Salt Lake City, in 1896. After serving a full-time mission, marrying Lucy Areta Clark, and beginning employment at a local mercantile, he earned a special certificate in speech at the University of Chicago and a degree from the American Conservatory of Music in 1909. He became a professor of music and public speaking at the Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah.

He obtained a degree from the National Playground and Recreation School in Chicago and used his degree and passion for recreation and children as a recreational supervisor for Logan City for one year and then in Pocatello, Idaho. The Church of Jesus Christ then hired him to work with the Mutual Improvement Association’s recreational department. He wrote The Church and Recreation: A Brief Resume and introduced Gold and Green Balls and a Church-wide dance festival. He became a member of the Utah Academy of Arts and State Dancing Masters’ Association.

He and Lucy had seven children. Two years before her passing, they wrote Seventy Years Married. He died at the age of 103 on May 6, 1979, in Bountiful, Utah.