The Tabernacle Choir Blog

June 2014 Articles

Mack Wilberg Works

Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is one of the preeminent composers and conductors choral music today. His music is published by Oxford University Press where he is considered one of their most important composers and arrangers. He has given renewed vitality to well-loved hymns, patriotic anthems, folk music and classics. Rarely is a Choir concert or broadcast without a signature Wilberg tune.

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Before the Current Children’s Songbook There Was Sing With Me

Many children and adults alike are familiar with the current 1989 Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with its colorful images of children gracing the cover. Prior to that there was another children’s songbook with a simple orange cover called Sing With Me.

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Making of the Conference Center Organ

John Longhurst spent 30 years as a Tabernacle Organist. In addition to performing on Temple Square and on tour with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Longhurst was part of the group that decided what type of organ would be built in the Conference Center. He discussed the details in a Deseret News article. An excerpt is below:

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Watch What Happens When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir "Flash Mobs" Colonial Williamsburg [VIDEO]

During an eastern states tour on June 21, 2011, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir made a stop in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The Choir was scattered throughout the audience watching a patriotic program that was taking place outside of Raleigh Tavern. At a certain point in the program (approximately 3:26 into the video), a few members of the Choir started singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” followed by more and more Choir members until all were singing in joyful harmony. A few minutes later (approximately 6:37 into the video), the audience was asked to sing “Yankee Doodle,” which the Choir participated in as well.

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Introducing Kendra Lowe: Multi-talented Pianist for David Archuleta

If you’ve watched the YouTube video of David Archuleta performing “Be Still, My Soul” for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, you’ve heard Kendra Lowe. She is the pianist accompanying Archuleta with a beautiful arrangement of the hymn. Lowe has also toured the world several times with Archuleta, performing violin and piano for his concerts. Of her tour-mate and friend she said, “David has taught me more than I can say. He has a beautiful light around him. He is so pure and so good and has made me want to become a better person by watching his example.”

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Behind The Scenes With Janice Kapp Perry: “Mother, Tell Me The Story”

“Mother, Tell Me the Story” is a counterpoint melody song written by Janice Kapp Perry. Counterpoint consists of two independent melodies that fit together harmonically. In other words, one person sings one melody that sounds like a song on its own, a second person sings another melody, and together they blend to make one harmonious sound.

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Seven “I’m a Mormon” Videos Featuring Musicians

The “I’m a Mormon” video series features members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from various backgrounds. There are videos of doctors, athletes, executives, computer programmers, and more, including an astronaut. The series also features several Church members who are musicians. Scroll down and watch seven of these "I’m a Mormon" videos starring talented musicians.

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Frozen Star Headlines Choir Summer Concert

The artist who brought magic to life as Prince Hans in Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen will headline this summer’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Pioneer Day concerts. Santino Fontana joins the Choir in two gala performances entitled “A Summer Celebration of Song,” which will be held on July 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center.

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Congratulations to Audra McDonald for Her Sixth Tony Award Win

Former Choir guest artist and veteran Broadway star Audra McDonald has done what no one has done before: she won her record-breaking sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She received a standing ovation as she accepted the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. The record for most wins was previously shared by Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury, who each had five Tony Awards. Lansbury was also a former guest artist of the Choir.

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City Of Brigham Young

Videographer James A. FitzPatrick traveled the globe filming documentaries. During his career he made nearly 300 films as he captured stories and chronicled cultures everywhere. In 1945 FitzPatrick made two travelogues while visiting Utah: City of Brigham Young and Monumental Utah. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with conductor J. Spencer Cornwall, appeared in both films.

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Behind the Scenes With Janice Kapp Perry: “My Father’s Faith

Soon after the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed “My Mother’s Love” for a Mother’s Day special of Music and the Spoken Word, Janice Kapp Perry was asked to write a Father’s Day song as well. “For that song I only had my father, but I couldn’t have had a better example. It was my mother’s love and my father’s faith; that’s what I wrote about,” she said.

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Famed Composer Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Announces His Retirement

Famed composer Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos announced his retirement due to his recent cancer diagnosis. Frühbeck, 80, released a statement saying, “After meeting with my doctors I have come to the following conclusion: I have to recognize publicly that I have cancer and that in this state of health and with deep sorrow I am not able to conduct at my standards and the moment to quit professional matters has come."

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Don’t Miss the Choir’s Summer Extravaganza!

The Pioneer Day Concert 2014, “A Summer Celebration of Song” is coming up fast, July 18 and 19. Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir and Ryan Murphy, associate music director, will direct the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. Tickets for the two performances are distributed but you can still be a part of the concert featuring Broadway and film star Santino Fontana.

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Conference Center Organ a Jewel of Its Own

The Choir’s second home is across the street from the Tabernacle at the Conference Center, a one-of-a-kind 21,000 seat facility with its own pipe organ. In the summer, with scores of tourists visiting Temple Square, the Conference Center easily accommodates everyone attending the broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word. Special organ recitals are also performed there in the summer.

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CSPAN Features Tabernacle Choir

The C-SPAN fleet of Local Content Vehicles recently visited Temple Square and interviewed Choir President Ron Jarrett and Tabernacle Organist Rick Elliott. The two discussed the history of the Choir and provided fascinating insight about the Tabernacle and organ.

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David Archuleta is Alive and Well in New Video Blog

Former American Idol contestant David Archuleta posted a new video blog on his YouTube channel, where he discussed writing new music and taking his time to get it right. “The mission helped me not be so self-conscious,” said Archuleta as he discussed his two-year religious mission to Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also mentioned going to Los Angeles and said it freaked him out: “After two years of not thinking about yourself and just helping other people and all of that, to coming back to the entertainment world, where it’s all about you and how important you are, and letting everybody know that, and how great you are and everybody look at you—it was weird.”

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Bryn Terfel’s Connection to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Runs Deep

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has embraced Welsh bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel. He and the Choir have performed together numerous times and have collaborated on two albums, Requiem and Homeward Bound, which feature American and Welsh folk songs, classical music, and spirituals. The 6 foot 4 opera and concert singer has mentioned that he wants to invite the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Britain to sing at Royal Albert Hall, saying, “They sing in stadiums to 20,000 people, but they haven’t travelled across the Atlantic for many years now.”

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Mormon Tabernacle Choir Music Directors—Past to Present

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has existed since the 1840s. Under the direction of Church President Brigham Young, a small choir was formed to sing at a conference of the Church just days after the first pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Since the Choir's formation, there have been 15 choir directors in all. Below is a list of Mormon Tabernacle Choir directors in the order of the years they served.  

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A Summer Celebration of Song

The artist who brought magic to life as Prince Hans in Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen headlined this summer’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Pioneer Day concerts. Santino Fontana joined the Choir in two gala performances entitled “A Summer Celebration of Song,” that were held on July 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center. The concerts were conducted by Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir, and Ryan Murphy, associate music director.

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