Fourth of July Surprise “Music Under the Stars” Concert at West Point
It’s no surprise that when it comes to patriotic music, The Tabernacle Choir is often at the top of any search list. It’s a large part of the reason that Ronald Reagan gave the Choir the nickname “America’s Choir.” The 40th President of the United States said in 1981, “At my first inauguration as president of the United States, I wanted very much to reignite the fires of liberty and re-inspire the American spirit. And no one sings the anthems of America quite like The Tabernacle Choir.”
That reputation was uppermost in the minds of the musical leadership at the United States Military Academy when they invited The Tabernacle Choir to perform at West Point as part of their annual “Music Under the Stars” series.
What was a surprise to everyone—the cadets, the general public, and even the Choir itself—was that the Choir was coming. On the 2015 Choir East Coast tour, the Choir and members of the Orchestra at Temple Square turned up as surprise guests at West Point’s annual 4th of July concert performing with West Point Band. The Band’s annual concert always draws capacity crowds so the addition of the Choir to the program was kept a surprise so as not to overwhelm the already packed yearly celebration.
On July 4, 2015, a crowd of more than 12,000 gathered to celebrate our nation’s founding. The weather was perfect despite rain earlier in the day. The sunset was golden and the crowd was excited. After all, it was the first time the Choir had ever performed at the U.S. Military Academy with the famous West Point Band. The festivities—complete with cannons, new cadets, flags, music, and fireworks was a spectacular display of patriotism. During the concert, the Choir performed, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America the Beautiful,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and more.
The Choir’s participation in such patriotic events has a long pedigree. Since its earliest days, the Choir has been singing patriotic songs, and won a Grammy Award for “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1959. The Choir has performed at seven presidential inaugurations and for 11 different U.S. presidents including William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, and Gerald Ford. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter saw the Choir during visits to the Salt Lake Tabernacle. An unusual but very special patriotic event took place in Colonial Williamsburg in 2011. While on tour in Virginia, the Choir staged a “flash mob” spontaneously bursting into song including “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Now you can watch the never-before-public concert of the Choir performing at the United States Military Academy at West Point with the West Point Band, posted for the first time here on the Choir’s website. You can enjoy this breathtaking moment in time as many times as you like.