So, what made Janie's shows so extraordinary? Well, the first thing was the music. She could take regular people from her ward and train them to do awesome performances. She would size up their natural abilities and then create special arrangements to magnify their gifts. For example, she might give them a song but then change the key to suit their vocal ranges and, of course, dress up the accompaniment so that they would sound awesome.
But her training wouldn't stop there. She worked with them so that they could show personality and sparkle as they performed. She even taught them choreography and helped them with costumes so they looked coordinated and sharp.
Janie's job was to produce shows and touring groups for BYU. Through the 1950s-1970s, Janie Thompson organized shows that performed in places all over the world. Her most famous groups were the Young Ambassadors and the Lamanite Generation (now know as the Living Legends).
We would go to her office on BYU campus and stand around her piano. She pulled me up close to the keyboard. It was right at my eye level. She told me to watch her little finger and sing those notes. So I did. One of the first songs we learned was "The Christmas Alphabet." This was a Christmas song made popular by the McGuire Sisters in the 1940s. We sang while the BYU Program Bureau students danced behind us.
Those were magical times. No wonder, I have a hard time watching shows that don't have anything even close to the Janie touch!