The Tabernacle Choir Blog

September 2014 Articles

"Nearer, My God, to Thee”: The History and Lyrics

Sarah Flower Adams was a British actress who received praise for her performance in an 1837 production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. After health problems disrupted her plans to continue with theater, she found comfort in writing poems and hymns.

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More than Hallelujahs: Update on Handel’s Messiah

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been singing Handel’s Messiah for years. Music scores of the composition in the Choir’s library are dog-eared from wear. Those who follow the Choir know that a singular recording of the entire oratorio is being made for distribution in 2015.

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The First Video on Our YouTube Channel to Reach 1 Million Views

Of all the memorable Christmas concert moments throughout the years, one of the most unforgettable showstoppers came from English tenor Alfie Boe—his incredible rendition of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables brought down the house during the 2012 Christmas concerts that took place in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of the song, a writer forEntertainment Weekly wrote, “You would have to have a heart full of stones to not fall in love with Alfie Boe’s version of ‘Bring Him Home.’”

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Choir Singing at General Conference for nearly 150 Years!

“Bless those that sing,” Brigham Young, second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in prayer October 6, 1867 in general conference in the new Tabernacle on Temple Square. That blessing has carried forward for 147 years as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has played a significant and meaningful role in general conference worship. The Choir was formed, in large part, to provide music for the conference sessions and to this day the Choir is the centerpiece of conference music.

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Remembering John F. Kennedy’s Final Visit To Utah

When President John Fitzgerald Kennedy visited Utah on September 26, 1963, thousands of Utahns, complete with welcome signs, gathered to greet the president at the airport. It was estimated that 125,000 people lined the streets of downtown Salt Lake City in hopes of seeing the president in his convertible limousine. His visit to Utah was part of a five-day, 11-state trip that would start in Pennsylvania and cross the country to California.

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I Stand All Amazed - Video and Lyrics

“I Stand All Amazed” is a hymn of praise and wonder that acknowledges gratitude for the Savior’s Atonement. Charles H. Gabriel, who composed between 7,000 and 8,000 songs, wrote “I Stand All Amazed” in 1898. Born in Wilton, Iowa, in 1856 and raised on a farm, he taught himself to play his family’s reed organ and never had any formal music training.

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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Visits Walt Disney World

In March 1989 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir traveled across the United States to Orlando, Florida, to perform at a magical place called Walt Disney World. The Choir’s performances were recorded by the Disney Network to use in four national television broadcasts. The broadcasts were for an Easter parade, the Children’s Miracle NetworkTelethon, a Fourth of July program, and a broadcast that was part of the Disney Christmas Parade program.

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"Amazing Grace": Mack Wilberg’s Arrangement of the Famous Folk Hymn

We’ve all heard “Amazing Grace” sung in many forms, from the country to pop, Celtic to gospel. Artists such as Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart and Willie Nelson have recorded it and it has been used in many films and pop culture settings. The hymn is one of the most recognizable English language songs and has been recorded over 6,600 times. "It may be the most recorded song on the planet," said Jerry Bailey, executive at Broadcast Music, Inc., of Nashville.

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Seven Video Gems from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Many Choir fans have heard the well-known favorites such as “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Come, Come Ye Saints.” These and many other Choir performances have racked up a large number of views on YouTube and have become fan favorites. However, with over 700 videos on our YouTube channel, there are many gems that are worthy of attention. Here are seven videos we think you’ll love.

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Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s Remarks on the Choir Singing “O Divine Redeemer”

In October 2009 at a general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stepped up to the pulpit before he was about to deliver his talk and said, “To this Choir: may they accept the thanks of everyone in this audience and all who heard them sing this choral prayer, which is surely the ultimate sermon of this or any conference of this Church and the cry of every human heart.” He then turned to the Choir and said, “Thank you. Now if I can speak I’ll try to do so.”

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"Bring Him Home”—A Universal Prayer of Hope

“Bring Him Home” is a song from the popular Broadway musical a Les Misérables, which is performed by the main character, Jean Valjean. In the musical, Valjean pleads to God to preserve the life of another man. The television show 20/20 did a video interview on the writing of “Bring Him Home” in which the narrator said, “One of the most emotionally powerful moments in the show is a prayer Vajean sings offering his life to God in exchange for the younger man’s life.”

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"Rock-a My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham" Performed by Alex Boyé and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The phrase “Abraham's bosom” appears in the Bible in Luke 16:22–23 as part of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The story contrasts the beggar who was carried away to Abraham’s bosom with the rich man who ends up tormented in hell. The term "bosom of Abraham" is "used to denote the place of the righteous dead. . . . It connotes the harmony that exists among the righteous in paradise as they await the Resurrection" (Bible Dictionary, "Abraham's Bosom").

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World-Renowned Conductor Robert Shaw and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

In the early 1980s the Choir was invited to perform with Robert Shaw at the Grand Teton Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Choir director Gerald Ottley found out that Shaw had heard recent recordings and broadcasts and had a favorable opinion of the Choir. Ottley remembered, "We had a wonderful experience with him. . . . He came in and did a wonderful job. We had a great experience together.”

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1900 Scandinavian Jubilee

In the year 1900 a Scandinavian Jubilee was organized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Copenhagen, Denmark. The four-day event was organized by Elder Anthon Lund, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and took place in Salt Lake City, including the Tabernacle on Temple Square. The Jubilee featured historical and doctrinal lectures and speeches as well as “excursions and entertainments.”

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