The Tabernacle Choir Blog

A Dream Come True at Carnegie Hall

“Going to Carnegie Hall is a dream for all of us,” said Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director, Mack Wilberg in a recent interview with Heidi Swinton on the Mormon Channel. And he’s right: simply being on stage or in the audience of the world-renowned concert hall would be enough for most of us. 

But the upcoming concerts at Carnegie Hall crown a specific dream that is particularly meaningful to the Choir, the Orchestra, and their much-loved conductor.  The program on July 1 and 2 includes the first movement of a requiem commissioned by The Carnegie Hall Corporation and written by—you guessed it—the Choir’s very own Mack Wilberg.

Watching Mack Wilberg conduct the Choir for Music & the Spoken Word each Sunday, we sometimes forget that he is also a well-known and highly regarded composer.  It was in this capacity that he was asked to write an Introit and Epilogue (or in Mack’s words, “an invocation and benediction”) to Vaughn William’s Dona nobis pacem, which was scheduled as the main work for the Carnegie Hall National High School Choral Festival in March 2006. 

Dr. Luke Howard, a member of the Choir and professor of music at BYU, recounts the rest of the story in these program notes:

The [former] director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Craig Jessop, who conducted this [March 2006] Carnegie Hall concert, suggested that Wilberg’s Introit could form the beginning of a fully-fledged Requiem.  Wilberg worked on it in earnest during the summer of 2006 while staying in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, and inscribed the finished score, “In memory of loved ones passed.”  His aim was to choose texts that would “memorialize and honor our dead, both those who have given their lives in war and those whose well-lived lives have laid the foundation for our own.”

Mack Wilberg’s Requiem was premiered by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in April 2007.  The upcoming concerts at Carnegie Hall will bring the piece full circle to the place it all began. How about that for a dream come true!

Listen to more of the Wilberg requiem here.