The Tabernacle Choir Blog

January 2014 Articles

How Is Choir Seating In The Loft Determined?

Ever wondered why your favorite alto is seated on the third row one week and in a different spot a few weeks later? Or why the tenor from down the street is always in the back row? It has a lot to do with height. Since 2006, Choir members have been assigned seats according to height as often as possible. This makes it easier for them to see the conductor and creates a more uniform appearance for the cameras.

View Full Story

Alex Boyé: I Want Jesus To Walk With Me

Music has the ability to change people’s lives. It can heal broken hearts; lift spirits, and has the power to move us beyond our troubles, even if for a moment. Music holds a special place in the hearts of those facing burdens, who use it to express emotions and take their minds away from the harsh conditions they encounter.

View Full Story

The Lyrics To “How Great Thou Art” Were Written After A Preacher Was Caught In A Violent Midday Thunderstorm

A British minister, Stuart K. Hine, contributed heavily to the version of “How Great Thou Art” that we are familiar with today. However, the original text came from a Swedish preacher, Carl Boberg, who wrote his lyrics after a unique experience on the southeast coast of Sweden. The experience was chronicled in an episode of the Mormon Channel’s History of Hymns. An excerpt is below:

View Full Story

How Did the Song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” Inspire “We Will Rock You?”

After the success of Oklahoma!, Rodgers and Hammerstein sought to create a new musical but feared that critics would unfavorably compare it with the first. The result was Carousel, which opened on Broadway on April 19, 1945, and was a big hit with audiences and critics alike. The show ran for 890 performances in its first run and was also very successful in revival productions. Of all of the shows Rodgers and Hammerstein did together, Carousel was their personal favorite.

View Full Story

The Battle of Jericho History Involves Elvis Presley

The actual Battle of Jericho dates back to biblical times, when Joshua’s Israelite army caused the walls of Jericho to fall. In the biblical account, God speaks to Joshua and tells him to march around the city with his army once every day for six days. On the seventh day, God tells him to march around the city seven times as the priests blow their ram’s horn trumpets. At the sound of the trumpets, Joshua told the people to shout. When they shouted “with a great shout,” as the Bible tells, the wall fell down and Joshua’s army took the city.

View Full Story

Behind the Scenes: Camera Operators Make the Broadcast Come Alive

These professionals have Choir “uniforms” but they don’t look a thing like the men and women in the loft.  They are dressed in black. You won’t see them center stage although you occasionally might see them slipping between rows on stage or moving the jib from one place to another. The camera crew for Music and the Spoken Word and other Choir broadcasts is very much a part of the success of the final product—behind the scenes. 

View Full Story

Musical Pioneers: In 1910 the Choir Was the First Large Performing Group to Have Its Music Successfully Recorded

On September 2, 1910, an article in the Deseret Evening News chronicled a milestone in the history of recorded music. For the first time ever, the music of a large performing group was successfully recorded. Many soloists and small ensembles had been recording their music for years, but the task was much more difficult for large groups like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

View Full Story

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s GRAMMY Awards History

The GRAMMY Awards are upon us; each year, the best and brightest in the music industry gather to celebrate the previous year’s musical releases with a grand awards ceremony. The Award itself is considered to be the recording industry’s most prestigious award and is voted on by The Recording Academy’s membership. The first telecast was November 29, 1959 and has become one of the highest-rated and most watched specials. 

View Full Story

The Salt Lake Tabernacle and Other Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is an organization made up of civil engineers from across the Unites States. Founded in 1852, it was created to advance the profession as well as promote the history and accomplishments of civil engineering. The organization holds conferences and publishes journals, books, and magazines that cover the trends and milestones of those in civil engineering.

View Full Story

The Salt Lake Tabernacle And Other Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is an organization made up of civil engineers from across the Unites States. Founded in 1852, it was created to advance the profession as well as promote the history and accomplishments of civil engineering. The organization holds conferences and publishes journals, books, and magazines that cover the trends and milestones of those in civil engineering.

View Full Story

Whether from a Single Voice Offstage or a 360-Member Choir, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” Shines

In March of 1943, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were on the verge of becoming household names. Their first musical collaboration, Oklahoma!, was opening on Broadway, and the first song from the show became one of their most famous. “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” was recorded numerous times and was featured on many television variety shows. It was one of the most popular songs to originate during the wartime era, and it gained additional popularity when the 1955 film version, starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae, was released.

View Full Story

Tom Brokaw Welcomes the Choir to YouTube

We’ve grown up with him. He’s been in our homes for as long as we can remember. When we hear his voice, we immediately recognize him—Tom Brokaw. Mr. Brokaw began his television reporting career in 1962, and he has worked as a Today Show host,NBC Nightly News anchor, and Meet the Press moderator. He is currently a special correspondent for NBC News. He is the author of numerous books, including The Greatest Generation. He has won numerous awards and holds 30 honorary degrees.

View Full Story

President Bush Awarded the Choir with the National Medal of Arts

As its website states, “The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA is an independent federal agency that funds and promotes artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.” Created by the United States Congress in the late 1960s, the agency awards grants, encourages partnerships, and recognizes outstanding achievements in art. The organization, which “is the largest annual national funder of the arts in the United States,” is led by a chairman who must be appointed by the President and then confirmed by Congress.

View Full Story

“This Land Is Your Land” was Originally Written with a Different Title in Mind

Composed as a critical response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land” has stood the test of time as one of America’s most famous folk songs. Written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and originally titled “God Blessed America For Me,” the song was based on an existing melody and went through a number of lyrical changes throughout its creation. A final version with two additional verses was recorded in 1944.

View Full Story

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Top Five Most Watched Videos on YouTube 2013

Join us in applauding the top five Mormon Tabernacle Choir videos on the YouTube Channel in 2013. Millions and millions of videos have been watched on the Choir’s channel since its inauguration in October 2012.  Less than three months later, the channel had recorded 1 million views and it just kept going.  By April 6—2 million, by June 24—3 million, by August 22—4 million, by October 21—5 million, by November 28—6 million, by December 18—7 million and by January 9 (just three weeks later) – 8 million! The channel also has registered 46,000 subscribers.

View Full Story

Bryn Terfel Blog Bio

Born in North Wales, Bryn Terfel displayed natural musical talent at a young age. He went on to study at Guildhall School of Music and Drama after winning several singing competitions in his youth. By his 20s, Terfel was performing at opera houses across the globe, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and the Royal Opera House in London.

View Full Story

Choir's Associate Music Director Joins Wife To Lead Elementary School Choir

Ryan Murphy is the associate music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a position he has held since 2009. In this role, he is responsible to assist Mack Wilberg, music director, with the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in rehearsals, concerts, tours, and the weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word. He also serves as the conductor of the Temple Square Chorale, the preparatory ensemble for new singers in Choir service.

View Full Story

4400 Broadcasts and Counting

Imagine singing “Gently Raise the Sacred Strain” 4,400 times.  Since 1929 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has done just that.  This beloved hymn has been a part of the Music and the Spoken Word since the very beginning. On January 10, 2014 the Choir will broadcast the 4,400th program in what is now the longest running program on the air.

View Full Story

President Applauds Year of “Great Accomplishment”

Choir President Ron Jarrett has a full year of service behind him administering one of the largest choirs in the world. Once a member of the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir, President Jarrett now oversees the whole operation of the Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, the Bells on Temple Square and the Temple Square Chorale. 

View Full Story