Behind The Scenes at The Choir—A New Historian At Work
“We are a history-keeping people,” Tam Wood explains as she describes her new calling as historian of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “We like records; we keep things so we can go back to them if we need them.” She is essentially the “memory bank” for the Choir when a question comes up about who, what, when or where.
She takes over from a long line of Foulger-family volunteers. Marene Foulger has served as assistant historian from 1999 to 2003 and then for past ten years to 2013 as the historian. She took over from her mother who served as Choir historian from 1976 to 2002. Her father who also sang with the Choir kept track of all the recordings for 26 years.
A former second soprano in the Choir, Wood was surprised when President Mac Christensen asked her to step in as the assistant historian following her retirement from the Choir. She is a music teacher by training but every bit a Choir enthusiast and was willing to take up a new assignment. She officially becomes the Choir historian this month, following the official retirement of Marene, who was feted at a luncheon in her honor given by the Choir leadership.
There is always much to be done. Tam will follow the pattern established by Marene: she will keep a day-to-day record of the current activities of the Choir, the minutes and announcements at Choir rehearsals and performances and a chronology for all the year’s events including guests, guest artists, special commemorations, participation in funerals of Choir members, tour venues and special awards. She will maintain a compilation of programs for concerts—many signed by guests like news anchor Tom Brokaw, a 2012 guest narrator for the Christmas program—and other special documents like the signed score of the original 2002 Olympics music composed by John Williams. And she will also work with the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where a repository of Choir historical materials is being made available.