Back to the Tabernacle for the Winter
The Choir is going home to the Tabernacle Thursday, September 3, for its regular rehearsal and for regular broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word beginning Sunday, September 6.
Each year the Choir rehearses and performs in its “summer home,” the Conference Center, for the summer months. Because of the increased number of visitors for the Sunday broadcasts and the July Pioneer concert, the Choir crosses the street to the 21,000-seat facility.
The Tabernacle with its massive dome structure is a recognizable icon for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At dedicatory services in 1867, President Brigham Young noted the need for a structure to house the membership of the Church in a comfortable setting in the sparse desert landscape. He noted, “We are happy in the contemplation that the ladies’ bonnets will not get wet today…we are safe here.”
The Tabernacle has been home to the Choir since its construction. Initially, the loft held only 75 choir members but the bench seating proved inadequate and by 1883 the choir space was enhanced to seat 200. As Mormon Tabernacle Choir radio broadcasts became popular, new seating was configured in 1934 to place members closer to the microphones. In 1948, with the advent of television, the front of the choir seating was again reshaped. In 1977, additional changes were made to the stand. The building was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1971.
When the Church opened the 21,000 seat Conference Center for the April 2000 General Conference, the Choir had two performance venues until 2005 when the Tabernacle was closed for seismic upgrades. In 2007, following an extensive refurbishment of the Tabernacle, the Choir moved in as the primary resident of the historic structure, with the Choir’s professional staff housed in the Tabernacle for the first time. The acoustics of the facility are legendary making it ideal as a concert hall for the Choir and its sister organizations, the Orchestra at Temple Square and Bells on Temple Square.