MEET MERCY RIVER
With 15 children between them, it’s amazing that Whitney Permann, Brooke Stone, and Soni Muller have time for anything other than runny noses, sock hunts, and prying suckers off the van floor. But music has been a part of each of their lives since childhood, and is now a strong presence in their homes.
The three friends met while singing in the Jenny Phillips Choir and there found a common love for tight harmonies and sharing the gospel through song. Over the past five years, Mercy River has traveled all over the United States and internationally as a highly sought after ensemble, performing for thousands of people while testifying of the Savior. Each member of the group brings several years of experience performing, writing, and directing hundreds of firesides and concerts—as well as recording on dozens of inspirational albums.
Learn more about each member of Mercy River below:
Brooke’s earliest introduction to music involved her dad and his guitar. Nights were spent learning John Denver, (“Sunshine on My Shoulder” was the favorite), anything by the Beach Boys, and some song about random characters choosing what to wear to a wedding. Performing was a major part of her childhood. (Her mother would like to take credit for forcing her into it, but Brooke doesn’t remember that part.) Summers were spent participating in city plays, or making up her own. In her spare time she would sit in her room and repeatedly sing “On My Own”, dreaming of one day becoming Eponine from Les Miserables.
At one point in her teenage years, Brooke attempted to abandon her love of all things music and try her hand at sports. After years of fumbling to shoot a basketball, consistently striking out in softball, and scoring 43 in every bowling game, she wised up and joined the school choir. She has since embraced her lack of athletic ability and completely immersed herself in music.
Brooke resides in Layton, Utah with her husband Jarum, (they still date and hold hands), and their 3 children. When she’s not singing along with the Frozen soundtrack you can usually find her in the kitchen baking whatever sounds good that day, behind a camera, or in the dollar section at Target.
Soni grew up the youngest of 6 kids. Although she remembers singing all around the house growing up, no one in her family was musical. She remembers singing her books instead of reading them while her older brothers and sisters would laugh. She also loved to sing to her “Little Mermaid” soundtrack and try to mimic Ariel’s voice perfectly. Another musically defining event was when her parents took her to see “The Phantom of the Opera” in Los Angeles. She remembers being so moved by the music that after the show her mom bought her the album and it was all she listened to until every song was memorized. That was the beginning of her love for broadway music. Her mom must have noticed she could carry a tune, because in Jr. High her mom encouraged her to audition for the Madrigals, which she did with hesitation. To her surprise she made the Madrigal Choir and that is when her love of singing blossomed.
Soni attended Southern Utah University where she was part of a the show choir Acclamation and was able to have many great performing opportunities.
Some of her favorite things are, BIG snowstorms (and the beautiful clear day after), eating really good desserts, being with her family at Lake Powell (or anywhere for that matter), and hanging out with her best friends, Brooke and Whit.
Soni is married to her handsome South African husband and has 5 crazy, adorable kids!
Whitney spent her early years kicking and screaming to get out of rehearsal time. Her dedicated mother spent many hours with her and her siblings at the piano, teaching her to sing, harmonize, play, write, and arrange music. Because of this, the piano became Whitney’s best friend, and as a child she spent hours composing music about everything, from car accidents to crushes.
Many of Whitney’s most moving musical experiences were spent in her bedroom with her boom box. She still remembers getting her first cassette tape (Michael Jackson’s, “Dangerous”) and her first CD (“Ace of Base”). Billy Joel, The Beatles, and The Carpenters also helped set the mood for organizing Troll dolls and sorting left over Halloween candy.
In adolescence she enjoyed many years of school choirs, musicals, and performing in her mother’s children’s performance group. She had a habit of forming “bands” out of 2 or 3 friends (Jr High- “pHaUl,” and High School- “Out of the Blue”). They rocked their parents’ basements.
While attending Ricks College, she formed a musical fireside group called “From the Heart,” which is still thriving today, and was also a member of the Ricks College Showtime Company (which is how she met her husband Rock). After Rock and Whitney were married they sang together in BYU’s Concert Choir as well as in Jenny Phillip’s Fireside Group for several years – for which they also served as directors.
Whitney is originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and currently resides nearby in a small farming community with her husband and their five children. Some of her favorite things include reading, writing, attempting to raise happy humans, sitting in front of the fireplace, homemade chicken noodle soup, and Costco.