Ron Jarrett - Nothing Compares with Listening to The Choir in Person
Why does the Mormon Tabernacle Choir go on a two-week tour every two years? It’s certainly not easy to take 291 singers, another 66 musicians from the Orchestra at Temple Square, staff, and stage crew on 24 commercial flights and send two trucks loaded with suitcases, a large but portable organ, musical instruments, staging equipment, and three costume changes for each singer. The logistical planning alone takes two years. So why go to the trouble in an era when people can pull up performances on YouTube, log in on the internet, tune in on the radio, and listen to recordings?
“We go on tour because there is nothing like listening to the Choir in person,” Ron Jarrett, Choir president, explains. “The tour gives many people an opportunity to experience this glorious sound as it reaches down to their very souls.”
The Choir has seen the effect all over the world as they have been ambassadors of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The most recent tour, two years ago, was to some of the most famous concert halls in Europe. The audiences came to hear the music and to see the world-famous choir. They were not disappointed, jumping to their feet to ask for more. So it has been on tours to the East Coast, the South, the Midwest—everywhere the Choir travels. The last Choir tour to the West Coast was in 2005.
Jarrett explains the tour is dubbed the Classical Coast Tour because of “the quality of the music and the locations where the Choir will perform, places where our sound will be impressive.” The tour begins in Southern California at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and then goes to the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Choir then whistle-stops its way to the Bay Area in Northern California with three concerts in Berkeley, Mountain View, and Rohnert Park and concludes in the Northwest in Vancouver, British Columbia, and finally Seattle. With the exception of Disney Hall, all of the performance locations, which include two outdoor venues, are new to the Choir. (The Choir and Orchestra appeared at the Segerstrom Center in 2005, but the concert hall they will perform in this time was not built then.)
The Choir has two programs for the tour—one for the concert halls and one for the outdoor amphitheaters. Jarrett explains that many in the audience will not be as familiar with the classical music of the first half of the program, but experience tells him that they will “walk away having been beautifully immersed in a musical experience unlike any other.” The Choir and Orchestra will perform without interruption for the first half so that the music builds and fills the hall. No applause will interrupt the performance. A former Choir member, Jarrett recalls feeling the “level of emotion building as the pieces were performed.”
The tour begins June 18 and concludes July 3, 2018. Tickets remain at Berkeley, Mountain View, Rohnert Park, and Vancouver.