“Talented Twosome,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 69–70
Perhaps raising eleven children helped Nonie and Maynard Sorensen of the Ivins Second Ward, Santa Clara Utah Stake, learn how to magnify their talents and manage big projects. One thing is certain—the talented Sorensens are as busy now as they were when all their children were young.
Nonie, a pianist, excels at writing biographical musicals, and Maynard, retired from the furniture business and a wilderness enthusiast, has found a second career as a wildlife sculptor. Since 1988, they have spent their springs and summers serving an unusual full-time mission at the LDS visitors’ center in Nauvoo, Illinois. There Nonie produces two original musicals, “Nauvoo Adventure” and “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo,” for hundreds of tourists. Maynard demonstrates his woodworking, talking about his sculptures as he works.
The Sorensens explain their creativity in terms of hard work and sacrifice. “You have to focus on as few things as possible,” says Nonie, “and stretch yourself.” Maynard agrees but adds, “Our first priorities have always been the gospel and our family. Our children have always been our best friends.”
Nonie discovered her talent for writing musicals when she was asked to write music for her ward road show. Since then, she has composed and directed thirteen musical productions based on the lives of LDS leaders and pioneers, including Joseph F. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball, and some lesser-known heroes.
Maynard, inspired by a visit to a waterfowl-carving competition, researched the art, set up a basement workshop, and committed himself to long days of working with carving tools and reference works on birds. A year later, he entered his first world competition with a striking life-size sculpture of a black swan. He won first place in the novice category. Since then he has created more than two hundred pieces. More than a dozen have won blue ribbons.
Are they slowing down? No. The Sorensens love their busy lifestyle, as they balance music, sculpture, and family matters. And many others—from the Sorensen children and grandchildren to the tourists at Nauvoo—benefit from the efforts of this talented duo.—Jeanine Tew, Salt Lake City, Utah