Choir Retirements and New Beginnings
When people attend Mormon Tabernacle Choir concerts or listen to Choir recordings, many notice something unique about the Choir. Martin Jarvis, noted British actor who narrated the Choir’s 2015 Christmas concert, said this to Choir members about his experience:
“I’ve been able to see there is something that goes on. What is it called? Dedication? Commitment? Love? Joy? Inspiration? All these things meld together. And the expression as you are singing, the way you are all living inside the music, is something that I don’t really think I’ve seen before, in the same way. It’s all that commitment and love and celebration that makes me love the Choir.”
Sharing that commitment, love, and joy is what makes singing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir a dream come true for many singers. The musical experience with the Choir is quite unlike any other. In addition to scheduled concerts, tours, and recordings, there is the performance each week of Music and the Spoken Word which is broadcast worldwide. The sheer volume of music the Choir members must learn, perfect, and sing is staggering. However, each year, for a group of dedicated Choir members, that dream comes to an end with the annual Choir retirements in April.
Choir members can serve for a total of twenty years or until they reach the age of 60, whichever comes first. This past week, after the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast, 28 Choir members were recognized for their service along with four long-serving Choir organization volunteers. Their combined service totaled 313 years, which has been an enormous blessing to many. Tears flowed freely at the conclusion of the retirement ceremony as the final strains of “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” were sung in honor of the retirees.
The dream of singing with the Choir will start afresh for 46 new singers who have finished their choral training. New Choir members are chosen each year through a rigorous selection process that begins when the applications are submitted each summer. By the next April, after 16 weeks of classroom training and experience singing in the Temple Square Chorale, new members are ready to join as full-fledged members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Tickets are still available for their spring concert with the Orchestra at Temple Square tonight and Saturday night.) As new members of the Choir, they too will have the opportunity to experience what Martin Jarvis described: the dedication, the commitment, the love, and the joy of serving as volunteer members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.