The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Nuremberg Native Alexander Schreiner Was a Tabernacle Organist for Over 50 Years

For the second stop on the 2016 European Tour, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed at Meistersingerhalle in Nuremburg, Germany, which was the birthplace of former Tabernacle organist Alexander Schreiner. 

Schreiner was born July 31, 1901, to Johann Christian Schreiner and Margarethe Schwemmer. His parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1903, and their local Church meetings were held in their home. By age 5, Schreiner was performing the organ in public and by age 8 he was called as Sunday School organist.

In 1912, the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Schreiner began performing professionally by the age of 17. Upon returning from an LDS Church mission in 1924, Schreiner was appointed as the assistant Tabernacle organist. Despite his calling as Tabernacle organist, Schreiner held several organist positions in multiple states, including California in positions of chief organist of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, organist at Grauman’s Metroploitan Theatre, chief organist at Barker Brother’s Department Store, organist at University of California at Los Angeles, and director of music for the Jewish Wilshire Boulevard Temple. He was a member of the LDS Church’s Music Committee and the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City.

From 1939 until 1977, Schreiner was focused mainly on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was also involved in rebuilding the Tabernacle organ in the 1940s.

Schreiner contributed many hymns and children’s songs that are frequently sung in chapels weekly, including “While of These Emblems We Partake,” “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son,” “Lead Me into Life Eternal,” “We Bow Our Heads,” and “I Think the World Is Glorious.”

When Schreiner died at the age of 87 the First Presidency of the Church said in a statement:

“He contributed to the Church through thousands of organ recitals and several decades of performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. His artistry was widely recognized in music circles, and his compositions for the organ are used by Church organists throughout the world. We express our sympathy to his family members and know they will be comforted in the knowledge that his long and productive life has left behind a legacy which will continue to lift and bless those who love beautiful music.”

Here is a video of the Choir and Orchestra performing "I Think the World Is Glorious" composed by Schreiner and arranged by music director Mack Wilberg.