Choir Broadens Its Mission and Announces Pilot Programs to Extend Its Reach in the World
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is making significant changes to broaden the reach of its music and influence. To that end, the Choir is expanding its mission and instituting pilot programs to better reach all of God’s children
In a special meeting with the entire Choir organization—The Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells at Temple Square, and many other volunteers and professional staff—on November 15, 2022, President Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed his outlook for the Choir.
He said, “The Church will continue to grow. It will fill the world. It will continue to bless more and more nations, tongues, and people. The Lord is hastening his work in the promised global gathering of Israel. You can be sure that The Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra and Bells at Temple Square will be a pivotal part of that era.”
To emphasize the Choir’s expanded global mission, the Choir Presidency unveiled a new mission statement adding three important words—“throughout the world”—to the Choir’s existing mission statement. The expanded mission statement now reads: “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs music that inspires people throughout the world to draw closer to the divine and feel God’s love for His children.”
The Choir Presidency further outlined three pilot projects aimed at fulfilling this more global approach. They include expanding access to Music & the Spoken Word throughout the world, increasing the mission impact of Choir travel throughout the world, and reflecting the worldwide membership of the Church in Choir performances.
President L. Whitney Clayton outlined plans to expand Music & the Spoken Word in foreign language versions with the first efforts to offer the weekly broadcast in Spanish and Portuguese. The episodes would include native speakers presenting the on-camera Spoken Word messages with the scenery and people used in conjunction with the music and the message reflecting those speaking the target languages. Text on the screen would also be translated to help the entire program feel authentic. These pilot broadcasts will begin sometime next year.
President Gary B. Porter explained plans to increase the visibility and impact of the mission of the Choir through travel assignments that will be shorter and more frequent with smaller and more nimble touring companies. Historically, the Choir has traveled every two years. Under the Choir’s new travel concept, travel will occur at least annually but for shorter duration. The term “tours” would be used to reflect themed combinations of multiple travel assignments, extending across multiple years.
In these travel assignments, the Choir will experiment with new and larger events, joint performances, as well as multiple performances in one area. It will concentrate its focus on social and digital media before and after trips,. The Choir will seek to coordinate with other Church entities to strengthen the impact of Choir travel programs and support the efforts of local Areas. The Choir will test this new travel approach with a travel assignment to Mexico City on June 13-19, 2023.
Discussing the third pilot program to better reflect the global members of the worldwide Church, President Mike Leavitt explained that plans are being made for qualified Latter-day Saint singers from Mexico, Central America, South America, West Africa, the Philippines, and Asia to audition for opportunities to sing with the Choir during General Conference in April 2023.
Leavitt explained that the Choir pilot program aims to build a deeper sense of kinship and attachment with the Church and the Choir among members and non-members of the Church in these countries. “It is possible this will be a onetime event. Or perhaps it will be something we will do periodically. The most likely outcome, however, is that through this pilot project we will gradually see new options and possibilities that will help the Choir better represent the worldwide Church.”
Summarizing remarks of the evening, President Leavitt said the Choir will move forward in faith, one step at a time, as it takes steps to “inspire people throughout the world to draw closer to the divine and feel God’s love for His children.”