Atlantic Coast Tour Q&A with First-timer and Tour Veteran
Approximately one year ago, Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Siope Kinikini took his place in the loft as part of the 360-member group. In addition to many weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word, he’s been in the Choir long enough to experience general conference, Pioneer Day, and Christmas. We asked Kinikini some questions to get his perspective on his first concert tour.
What excites you most about going on your first Choir tour? I'm excited to meet new people. I'm really excited to share music live with people who can only hear or see it through TV or radio. There really is nothing like hearing the Choir live, and I'm excited for people to have that opportunity.
Have you been to any of the locations on the East Coast? I have never even been to the East Coast at all, so it is going to be an adventure.
What did you do to prepare? I prepared by memorizing the music as early as possible. I also started to eat better and exercise more so I could handle the schedule. Advice from other Choir members is to get as physically fit as possible.
Which venues are you most excited to perform in? Carnegie Hall. I've seen performances in Carnegie Hall on TV and specials for years, and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would actually be in that space, let alone on that stage. Sometimes I just think about it and say, "This can't be my life right now." It is my life, and I'm so excited.
If you had the chance to invite a non-Choir fan to watch the Choir on tour what would you say to them? Please come and listen. We sing because we love it, and you can feel it in the music. Hearing the Choir live is an experience most people never get unless they visit Salt Lake City, so please come. (Also, get in touch on social media and let's meet afterward.)
What do you hope the Choir will accomplish through music? Touch hearts. I hope people will feel the love we have for the music we sing and the message that is shared through it.
What will you bring or do to keep busy on the road? My iPad. It has books, games, apps, music, and movies.
When you have a moment of free time, what sites would you like to explore? I want to see anything in Washington, DC: the WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, White House. I would love to spend a week or two exploring the Smithsonian. It will have to be another trip on my own.
What is your favorite song/hymn to perform? My favorites are “Love Divine, All Love's Excelling,” “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and “Pilgrim Song.” Do I have to choose one? If so, I can't do it.
Are you excited to perform in Yankee Stadium? Absolutely. What is more American than "America's Choir" singing at a baseball game? Not to mention it's at Yankee Stadium. The only thing missing is apple pie. I hope I can get some at the game!
Tour Veteran—Art Hovley (10th and final tour)
Art Hovley joined the Choir in 1995, and this summer’s Atlantic Coast Tour will be his 10th and final tour. We caught up with Art and asked him some of the same questions we asked our tour newcomer, and here’s what he had to say:
What are your thoughts on going on your last Choir tour? With each tour I’ve been on, there is the excitement of getting to go to new places, meeting new people, eating more of Barry’s fantastic food . . . and then eating some more of Barry’s fantastic food (Barry Anderson is the Choir's administrative manager and schedules the meals on tour, among other things). I’m sad this is the last tour (number 10) that I’ll be going on, but I’m grateful and excited to be on tour because I know from the past stories from other tours that there is a lot of good being done. A lot of people’s faith and hope are being strengthened. This is such a unique and wonderful mission. I’ll miss it very much and am very grateful for the memories being created and being part of this wonderful group.
Have you been to any of the locations on the East Coast? Yes. I was on the 2003 tour with the Choir. It was the most physically demanding tour I’ve ever been on. I was utterly exhausted by the end.
What did you do to prepare? Since tours take two to three weeks out of the summer, work and family have to be crunched on each end . . . before and after. Miraculously, my business always works out for me to be gone. It never has become the issue I worry about. Music preparation is always fun and challenging. Being a back row singer, I think it’s really important to have all the music learned well, so I sing correctly into the ears of those in front of me—words, notes, and pitch. I also believe by having the music really well learned, it allows me to pray while I’m singing, and I find I can pray for the Spirit to touch the hearts of the people during the concerts. To learn the music, I listen to the music over and over, and through familiarization, I pinpoint challenging areas and, one at a time with the music score, check them off.
Which venues are you most excited to perform in? I’m excited to perform in Carnegie Hall.
If you had the chance to invite a non-Choir fan to watch the Choir on tour what would you say to them? You might think the Choir sings music only old people like, but give it a chance, and you might be surprised how much you enjoy it. On a prior tour I talked to a gentleman from Oakland, CA, at a concert the Choir did there. His brother made him go. He had an Oakland A’s shirt and baseball cap on. He said as he walked into the concert, he could hear the game going on and was really sad he was going to the concert instead of the game. As soon as the concert started, he completely forgot about the game and was mesmerized. He was completely blown away by the wonderful spirit that overcame him and said he would never forget it.
What do you hope the Choir will accomplish through music? Ultimately we hope to be ambassadors for the Church and prepare them to return to Heavenly Father. Many people hear the Choir and are touched.
What will you bring or do to keep busy on the road? Play Scrabble with my buddies. My wife always wins, though.
When you have a moment of free time, what sites would you like to explore? I’m very excited to go to the Broadway musical Wicked.
What is your favorite song/hymn to perform? “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” or “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Those two are a toss-up.
Are you excited to perform in Yankee Stadium? Yes, I’m excited to see it. I’ve never been to a Yankees game. I’ve only ever been to one professional baseball game before.