The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Four Emmy® Award Statuettes Now Grace Choir Display!

Four beautiful Emmy® Awards now sit in the display case in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir office. Since 1987, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been recognized on four different occasions for its television programming by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences—a membership organization dedicated to honoring excellence in television.

However, something was missing. There was no statuette for the Choir’s first Emmy, long thought to have been awarded for a concert with famed artist Shirley Verrett. Thanks to some investigative work by staff and volunteers in the Choir office, the correct information has come to light. In the files of Margaret Smoot, the producer of the original program awarded the first Emmy, was found the documentation that enabled the Choir to receive a copy of the original statuette.

“We have been thrilled by these prestigious awards,” declared Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “These are examples of how the power of music can inspire and unite people of all ages. We’re very pleased that all four statuettes symbolizing these achievements are now on display in the Choir office.”

Here is information about each of the Choir’s four Emmy® Awards.

1987: It turns out that the Choir’s first Emmy® Award was given for A Christmas Sampler, a one-hour Mormon Tabernacle Choir special Christmas program narrated by actor Hal Linden and produced by KSL-TV. (The concert with singer Shirley Verrett was done that same year but was not a part of this program.) The special was also a finalist in the Performing Arts section of the International Film & TV Festival of New York that year and syndicated to television stations around the country.

1989: The Choir was honored with a Rocky Mountain Emmy® Special Governors Award for Special Recognition for Continuous Broadcasting of Music and the Spoken Word. The Governors Award recognizes unique achievements that have made a significant impact on the television industry and the community. Music and the Spoken Word, which began broadcasting on the radio in 1929 and on television in 1962, is now carried over radio and television and is streamed on the internet each week to a worldwide audience in the millions. The Choir organization will celebrate the 90th anniversary of that first broadcast in July 2019.

2013: This Emmy® was awarded for the program The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Presents the Joy of Song produced by BYU Broadcasting. This one-hour special was edited from the annual 2012 Pioneer Day concert with special guest artist Katherine Jenkins, acclaimed Welsh mezzo-soprano and a runner-up in the 2010 edition of Dancing with the Stars. You can view the entire 2012 Pioneer Day concert with Katherine Jenkins here.  

2014: The Choir was recognized for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Presents an Evening with James Taylor produced by BYU Broadcasting, which received an Emmy®. The program was recorded in October 2013 as part of the ongoing Tanner Gift of Music series, which was established and endowed by the late O. C. Tanner. The one-hour special showcased the talents of the Choir, the world-renowned Utah Symphony, and the legendary Mr. Taylor, who performed hits from his 40-year career. One of the songs from this concert, “That Lonesome Road,” is included on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends recording.