Celebrating Thanksgiving in Song
Countries around the world have celebrations and holidays unique to their culture and history. The British have Boxing Day; the Canadians, Canada Day; the French, Bastille Day; Norway and Sweden, St. Lucia Day; Thailand, Yi Peng Lantern Festival; Brazil, Carnival; China, Chinese New Year; and the United States has Thanksgiving.
The music which The Tabernacle Choir performs in November specifically reminds us of our gratitude and thanksgiving for the blessings of life. From the popular “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” to “For the Beauty of the Earth,” “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” “Hymn of Praise,” and “Prayer of Thanksgiving,” the Choir sings of what we feel in our hearts.
At Thanksgiving, the Choir highlights such favorites on Music & the Spoken Word. But these songs of praise and appreciation can be accessed year-round on popular streaming services like Spotify, on YouTube, on Choir albums, and on the Choir’s website with the archive of weekly Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts as well as a 24/7 music stream. The 24/7 music stream is also available on the Choir’s mobile app and on The Latter-day Saints Channel Radio-The Tabernacle Choir.
Lloyd Newell, announcer for the Choir’s weekly broadcast, has reminded us in a Spoken Word message the power of being thankful. Several years ago, Newell quoted Henry Ward Beecher who wrote, “The unthankful heart…discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and…it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!”1
One of the first Thanksgivings in 1621 brought the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag together for an autumn feast. No mention has been made of music on that occasion. However, when Thanksgiving became an official holiday in America in 1863, the settlers in the valley of the Great Salt Lake commenced construction of the iconic Tabernacle on Temple Square and the Choir has been singing praises to God in that hall ever since.