The Tabernacle Choir Blog

A Bittersweet Sunday: Choir Members Retire

Every April, following a broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word, Choir members say goodbye to their fellow singers, some with whom they have shared the loft for their entire Choir membership. The joy of touching people’s lives and sharing testimonies through music and song is a powerful feeling, one that retiring members aren’t eager to lose. For a job that doesn’t pay, you would think it would be the opposite, but they do it for the love of music, the love of their fellowman, and the love of the Savior. Where else can you sing for kings and presidents, sing with Grammy Award-winning artists, or sing at the feet of prophets, all while being a part of history by singing in the longest-running broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word?

Choir member Joanne Voorhees, who is retiring this April, said, “Being in the Choir is a blessing to the individual Choir members’ lives, and you have no idea coming in how it will inspire your life. It is the abundance of spirit.”     

When Choir members retire, new members, who have completed the Choir School preparatory program, begin a journey of their own. A 13-year veteran of the Choir, Voorhees said the most important [nonmusical] things to prepare for being in the Choir are your heart and attitude. She noted the importance of asking yourself “if it is a calling the Lord wants you to have.”

On the subject of retirement, Voorhees seems to be at peace, saying, “I’m OK with it; it’s been a huge blessing and I’ve been grateful. I want someone else to have that opportunity. It would be selfish for me to not want that.” She also said that of all the memories, her personal favorite (as is true for most retiring members) is singing at general conference. “To sit at the feet of the prophets and to see the Conference Center fill with that many people who feel as you do is so thrilling,” she added.

This year, 28 Choir members will be honored for their service, and their families will be recognized for their support and sacrifice on April 27, and on the following Thursday, others will take their own place in the loft and begin making memories of their own. Many Choir members will tell you that “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is their favorite hymn to perform with the Choir because of the spirit it brings. Below is a video of the Choir performing the hymn, which was arranged by the director, Mack Wilberg.