The Tabernacle Choir Blog

March 2014 Articles

Lindsey Stirling Wins an Echo Music Award

Congratulations to Lindsey Stirling! She can now add Echo Award winner to her ever-growing list of accomplishments. To put this into perspective, the Echo Awards are the German equivalent of the GRAMMY’s in the United States. Stirling won the award for best crossover act saying, “I was the violinist that wanted to dance,” during her acceptance speech. “I know that sounds strange but now I’m living my dream,” she added.

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He is Risen CD Release

Just released on CD, the Choir’s new recording He Is Risen adds uplifting, hopeful music to your Easter holiday celebration. With such classics as “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “He Is Risen,” this CD adds a dimension to your sacred remembrance of Jesus Christ, His life, and His pure love for all of the family of God.

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The History and Mystery of “How Firm a Foundation”

“How Firm a Foundation” is a hymn so well known and loved that it was sung during the funerals of U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. It was sung by American troops engaged in the Spanish-American war on Christmas morning in 1898. It was a favorite of General Robert E. Lee and also sung at his funeral. And yet, with all of its notoriety, the author is somewhat of a mystery. The hymn is attributed to “K,” in the original publication.

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James Taylor Offers Free Guitar Lessons

In a career marked by artistic triumphs, the past few years for James Taylor have been notable for both creative virtuosity and recognition of exceptional achievement. In 2012 he was awarded the distinguished Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government and in 2011 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. He has also been inducted into both the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Recently, he added another achievement to his musical resume: Guitar Teacher.

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Its a Small Word Announcement

In a historic, global event, guests and cast members at Disney Parks around the world will unite in song on April 10, 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “It's a Small World."

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James Taylor Joins with Choir and Utah Symphony for BYUtv Concert

James Taylor, one of the world’s most enduring and recognizable singer-songwriters, recently teamed up for a musical gala that also featured the internationally renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the critically acclaimed Utah Symphony. This unique concert, performed in September 2013 and made possible by the O. C. Tanner Gift of Music, will air on Friday, May 30, on BYUtv, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (MDT), with live streaming available at www.byutv.org. Additional information about the concert and future airings is available at www.motab.org/about/guest-artists/jamestaylor.

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“'Give' Said the Little Stream" Author Wrote Over 8,000 Hymns

Despite becoming blind at six weeks of age, due to a medical malpractice, Fanny Crosby went on to write over 8,000 hymns and was one of the most prolific hymnists in history. Born, Frances Jane Van Alstyne Crosby, in 1820, she was also known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers,” and the “Mother of Modern Congregation Singing in America.” She wrote so many hymns that she had to use over 200 different pseudonyms in her career because publishers were reluctant to have too many hymns by one person in their hymnbooks.

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The Story of Gladys Knight: “The Empress of Soul”

Most people can’t mention the name Gladys Knight without including a reference to The Pips. Gladys Knight and the Pips consisted of her brother and cousins, and performed together from the 1950’s-1980’s. Their trademark song was the #1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which won a GRAMMY in 1973 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Knight eventually parted ways with The Pips in 1989 and continues to perform as a solo artist.

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Pioneering Success: The Choir’s First Commercial Recording in 1949

While the Mormon Tabernacle Choir made its first recording in 1910, using a large phonograph machine, its first commercial recording wasn’t released until October 24,1949. As an introduction to the world, the album was aptly titled, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Salt Lake City. Released by Columbia Records, it included beloved tracks such as “Come, Come Ye Saints,” “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah,” The Lord’s Prayer,” and “A Mighty Fortress.” Though the album is out of print and unavailable for purchase it can still be found in vinyl format with a little patience and luck. See the complete track listing and details.

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5 Reasons to Love Music and the Spoken Word

There are countless reasons to love Music and the Spoken Word. It is known and loved throughout the world and stands as a symbol for good in an ever-changing world. Here are five of the top reasons to love Music and the Spoken Word:

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Tabernacle Organist Clay Christiansen [VIDEO]

At the young age of eleven Clay Christiansen was an organist for the congregation of the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By age thirteen he was taking lessons from J. J. Keeler, the talented and passionate musician who helped establish the organ program at Brigham Young University. Years later, Christiansen would graduate with a bachelors degree from BYU and masters and Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Utah.

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Thomas S Monson Welcomes The Choir To Youtube

Thomas S. Monson is the 16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and attended West High School. He joined the United States Naval Reserve in 1945, where he served the country until six months after the end of World War II. After returning home, he attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in business management in 1948. Later that same year, he married Frances Beverly Johnson.

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Messiah FAQ | Mormon Tabernacle Choir

For the first time in 10 years the full Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will present the Easter concert, and perhaps for the first time ever the Choir will publicly performMessiah in its entirety. The concerts will coincide with Good Friday on Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle with Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, conducting the event. Visit motab.org/messiah for details on the Easter concerts.

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John Henry Newman Writes the Lyrics to Lead, Kindly Light

John Henry Newman was 33 years old when he found himself on a boat from the Sicilian city of Palermo to Marseille, France. Newman, who was recovering after being dangerously ill with a fever, was on the boat to return to his native England when he penned the lyrics to “Lead, Kindly Light.”

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5 Broadway Classics Sung By The Choir

The songs of Broadway are timeless. They capture moments of joy and sadness and elicit the human experience in a unique and touching way. Within the songs are messages of hope that resonate within. The music brings the messages to life and leaves a long-lasting impression that can be carried throughout our lives. Here are five beloved classic Broadway songs performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

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Choir to Present Handel’s Messiah for Easter

In 1741, swimming in debt and out of favor as a composer, George Frideric Handel accepted a commission for a benefit concert in Dublin, Ireland. On August 22 the 56-year-old sequestered himself in his London home and began to compose music to biblical texts heralding the life of Jesus Christ. In just 23 days he completed a 260-page oratorio he named Messiah. Without question, this brilliant masterpiece has thrilled and inspired listeners from Handel’s time to our own.

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How To Use the Historical Roster for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells on Temple Square

The Choir's website, mormontabernaclechoir.org, is home to a robust Historical Roster of former and current members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells on Temple Square, and staff, both volunteer and professional. Below is a step-by-step guide on using the Historical Roster. Be sure to check out the video tutorial at the bottom of the page too.

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Sissel: The Voice of Titanic

Sissel has a Titanic voice…literally. She was the ethereal voice that was heard in perhaps one of the most famous movie scenes of all time. The scene took place on the bow of the ill-fated ship, Titanic, where the character Rose declares to Jack, “I’m flying!” In fact, the very first sound in the entire film was Sissel’s voice, not singing words, but hauntingly memorable arias, that were present throughout the film. Music critics have described her voice as ‘exquisite,’ ‘crystalline’ and ‘captivating.’

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Joseph Daynes: The First Organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Joseph Daynes arrived in the Salt Lake Valley at age eleven. Upon his arrival in the valley, Brigham Young observed the boy playing a small organ called a harmomium and declared, “there is our organist for the great Tabernacle organ.” Although the Tabernacle would not be completed for several years, Brigham’s statement would eventually prove to be prophetic.

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Choir Releases New Easter Recording—He Is Risen

For centuries, great composers and lyricists have heralded the Easter season with classic music. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has just completed a new recording on its label featuring six favorites. “He Is Risen is designed to enhance Easter celebrations and extend that reverence for the Savior and his resurrection throughout the year,” said Scott Barrick, general manager of the Choir. “There isn’t a large selection of recorded Easter music so we’re pleased to make this exciting repertoire available. We expect our listeners will be thrilled with this new music by the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.”

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