The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Sissel Returns for 2019 Pioneer Day Concert!

Internationally acclaimed Norwegian-born singer Sissel will be the featured guest for The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Pioneer Day Concert that is held annually in conjunction with community-wide events. The concert will be held Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 202019, at 8:00 p.m. (mountain daylight time) in the Conference Center at Temple Square.

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2019 Tanner Gift of Music: Celebrating the Golden Spike

The O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Concert on May 10, 2019, in the Conference Center at Temple Square pays tribute to an epoch moment in our nation’s history—the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in 1869. Invited by the State of Utah, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and Utah Symphony will present the signature cultural event of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Golden Spike. The Tabernacle Choir performed at the celebratory events for the 100th anniversary in 1969 at Promontory, Utah, to a crowd of 12,000, including state and national officials.

On the 10th day of May 1869 at the remote promontory north of the Great Salt Lake, two locomotives—the Jupiter from the Central Pacific and the 119 from the Union Pacific—met nose-to-nose, completing the transcontinental railroad. Railroad dignitaries from the two competing companies ceremoniously “tapped” in the final spikes to signal the joining of the two lines. The completion of nearly 2,000 miles of railroad track had garnered such worldwide attention that a telegraph operator immediately sent the announcement to the waiting public: “Done.” Cannons boomed across the country, flags were unfurled, bands played “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle,” and citizens marched in parades with fireworks overhead—all to celebrate the monumental completion of the steel backbone of the nation. The celebration in Utah was equally spectacular, with 7,000 gathering in the Salt Lake Tabernacle to honor the event.

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Learn More about the 2019 Tanner Gift of Music Concert!

The Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony on Friday, May 10, at 8:00 p.m. will present the O. C. Tanner Gift of Music in the Conference Center at Temple Square as part of Utah’s Golden Spike 150th Celebration events and activities. The Choir and Symphony will be joined on stage by two talented Broadway stars Brian Stokes Mitchell and Megan Hilty as they celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railroad. On a historical note, the Choir and Symphony have performed together at both the 50th and 100th anniversaries of this event. It seemed only fitting they perform together again for the 150th.

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Reflections from Retiring Choir Members

On April 28, 2019, 29 devoted singers of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square finished their volunteer service as members of the Choir. Their combined service totaled 284 years! When they join the Choir, members know that they may serve for a total of 20 years or until their 60th birthday—whichever comes first. Those who are retiring this year have served between 5 years and 20+ years (due to special circumstances). Bob and Gloria Campbell, who served as orchestra librarians for 16 years, were also honored at the April 28 ceremony.

Once each year a special ceremony is held following a broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word, in which retiring Choir members are individually recognized for their service and their families are recognized for their support and sacrifice. This year Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the adviser of The Tabernacle Choir, came to express his love and gratitude for the service of these wonderful Choir members on this special occasion.

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Contest Winners Get Their Moment to Shine

On March 15, 2019, the Choir announced an opportunity of a lifetime—a “Sing with the Choir” contest in honor of the latest Choir album Let Us All Press On: Hymns of Praise and Inspiration.

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How to Watch This Year’s Easter Concert—Additional Viewing Options

Viewers are in for a treat this year as The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells on Temple Square will perform He Is Risen: A Sacred Easter Presentation. The concert will also include the Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble, who joined its talents with the Choir during the 2018 Christmas concert.

The concert program includes many of Mack Wilberg’s unique arrangements, including favorites such as “He Is Risen,” “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” and “The Easter Day with Joy Was Bright.” It will also include associate director Ryan Murphy’s arrangement of “In the Garden” and conclude with the stirring conclusion to Handel’s Messiah “Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain.”

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The Choir and Orchestra Present “He Is Risen: A Sacred Easter Presentation”

The Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, the Bells on Temple Square, and the Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble will present “He Is Risen: A Sacred Easter Presentation.” 

  • Watch the stream on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. The stream will be available in English on Saturday, April 20 from the ChurchOfJesusChrist.org website, the Choir’s website thetabernaclechoir.org; the Choir's YouTube channel; and on the Choir’s Facebook page.  The concert will also be posted here and on YouTube for later viewing.
  • Watch on BYUtv on Easter Sunday, April 21 at 6:00 p.m. BYUtv is available on cable systems including Dish and DirecTV, over the air in Utah, and via the internet at byutv.org.
  • Attend the concert on Temple Square on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets for the 2019 Easter Concert have all been distributed. Patrons without tickets are encouraged to join the standby line by the flagpole on Temple Square for last-minute seating, which is often available.
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New Temple Square Organist Appointed

After a broad and thorough search of applicants that was announced through Church and media channels around the world, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square announced on Friday, April 12, 2019, that Joseph Peeples has been appointed as the newest Temple Square organist. Peeples joins a long line of distinguished musicians who have served as organists on Temple Square, continuing a tradition that stretches back to early pioneer days in Utah. When he begins his service this June, he will join three current full-time Tabernacle organists: Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, and Brian Mathias, and two other part-time Temple Square organists, Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts.

Temple Square organists are key members of The Tabernacle Choir’s musical staff and are known for their high level of professional organ skills. They bring the sound of the iconic Tabernacle and Conference Center organs alive for audiences from around the world. Temple Square organists provide missionary and public relations service through daily organ recitals and periodic performances with The Tabernacle Choir. As part-time organists, they give classroom instruction for the Choir training school, provide accompaniment for rehearsals and concerts of the Temple Square Chorale and Bells on Temple Square performing groups, and provide organ support for other Church and community events held on Temple Square.

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Frequently Asked Questions: The Conference Center Organ

The Building

The Conference Center, with seating for 21,000, is among the world’s largest theater-style auditoriums. Completed in the year 2000 and located adjacent to Salt Lake City’s historic Temple Square, the Conference Center is home to the semi-annual general conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held each April and October, as well as to the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional, and Christmas and Pioneer Day concerts presented by the Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra, and Bells. Each summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word originates in the Conference Center, in order to accommodate the larger summertime crowds. Also, during the summer months, organ recitals are given at the Conference Center at 2:00 each afternoon Monday through Saturday, in addition to the daily organ recitals presented in the Tabernacle.

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Tanner Gift of Music to Celebrate Golden Spike 150th Anniversary

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and the Utah Symphony will present the 2019 O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Concert on Friday, May 10, in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of Golden Spike 150th Celebration events and activities. The Choir and Symphony will be joined on stage by two talented Broadway stars, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Megan Hilty.

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