Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Tour Diary #7 - Oh Canada!

Written by Carol Salmon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir member

For me, there’s nothing better than just being in Canada. Well, unless I’m with 400 friends performing in The Orpheum in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the eve of Canada Day. What a way to start Canada’s celebration!

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square arrived in Vancouver on Thursday, which gave us a recovery/free day on Friday to explore Vancouver and its surrounding areas. There was something for everyone—ferry trips to Vancouver Island, walks over the Capilano Suspension Bridge and around Stanley Park, Granville Island, and many restaurants. The day was well spent!

Most important, however, was Saturday evening’s performance at The Orpheum. Built in 1927, it was the largest vaudeville hall in the area. Since then, the theater has gone through extensive state-of-the-art upgrades while retaining the original opulent décor. We saw the old and new as we entered the building through a long, narrow corridor with minimal light, bare pipes, and a low ceiling, and then we walked on stage into a theater with ornate chandeliers, magnificent arches, and rich colors and architecture.

The concertgoers were wonderful! One guest said a gentleman in front of her sat on the edge of his seat throughout the whole concert—so focused and enraptured with the performance. Other guests had conversations with those around them as well. It was a warm and friendly group.

To end our evening, Jon Washburn, who has been the conductor and artistic director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir for over 40 years, took the podium. This was a real treat, since we were in his “home.” It was a rousing Canadian version of “This Land Is Your Land,” with yet another standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.

There was one more thing that completed the experience for me. Those of us who are Canadians smuggled small flags onto the stage, waving them wildly when announcer Lloyd Newell first asked those with Canadian citizenship to stand. The crowd naturally erupted, finding out they have compatriots in such a world-renowned organization! So many more of our friends stood when Lloyd asked those with ties to Canada to stand. That was the ganache on the Nanaimo bar—a delicious Canadian dessert—or for those unacquainted with this treat, the cherry on the sundae! Who knew there were so many Canadian ties among us, eh?