"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Music & The Spoken Word Pioneer Day Concert Rehearsal

Dennis Griffin
Timpanist - Orchestra on Temple Square
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Holy high notes, Batman (Nathan)!! That, I think, sums up the reaction of the choir and orchestra upon hearing Nathan Pacheco during Thursday’s rehearsal for the Pioneer Day Concert. Even though this year's soloists have local roots—both Nathan and Lindsey are BYU alumni and returned missionaries—they are both extremely talented and are acquiring national and international reputations. Nathan’s performance in rehearsal of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” was a real goosebump raiser and prompted veteran percussion leader Bob Campbell to lean over to me and exclaim, “He is really something!” It’s amazing to me that we consistently have such a high level of talent showcased in our special concerts.

On another note, has anyone noticed our Energizer conductor? There were a few muffled complaining voices when the rehearsal was extended a few minutes on Thursday, but how about Brother Wilberg? He stands on the podium for hours, never complains, and seems to never run out of energy. Rarely is there a conductor who knows exactly what he wants and has the determination to stay with it until he achieves the perfection he desires. Of course, that is the reason why the choir has such a great reputation. Thanks, Mack, for who you are and what you have made the choir.

Speaking of energy, has anyone ever put on so many miles playing the violin? How Lindsey Stirling manages to play at all, let alone with such expressive and gorgeous sound while careening around the stage—well, I won’t be trying that soon with my instrument!

I always enjoy the traditional spiritual anthems that are programmed at the conclusion of our concerts. Since the first Pioneer Day celebration in 1849, this day has been regarded, as Brigham Young once said, as “a day of days” in which to celebrate the independence that the Saints achieved by coming to this valley, and the great freedoms afforded by this country and the Constitution. I always imagine Brigham and our pioneer ancestors singing “All is well!” from on high as we perform “Come, Come Ye Saints.” Brigham was a man who loved celebrations, and I’m sure he would approve of the way in which we have perpetuated the tradition of Pioneer Day.