The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Choir Makes History Again – 60 Years Later!

On Friday, July 15, 2016 at 6 a.m. the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square—in full concert attire—loaded buses outside their Paris hotel to travel to the Eiffel Tower. What made this morning so memorable was the chance to recreate the official 1955 Choir photograph on the same spot outside the Palais de Chaillot with the Eiffel Tower in the background from which the original picture was taken.

That 1955 tour was the Choir’s very first international trip. For six weeks, they traveled through the Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and France. Before leaving France, the Choir posed for that official photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background and, according to Choir minutes, sang for services providing newsreel, television, and other media.

This time on the Choir’s first tour of Europe in 18 years, the 320 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were joined by 67 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square.  This made history as well as it was the first international tour for the Orchestra, which was organized in 1999. In addition to recreating the 1955 photo, a new photo was taken that included the Orchestra members as well.

Six o’clock in the morning may seem early, but the time was selected to avoid the large crowds in Paris over the French Bastille Day holiday weekend. When the Choir and Orchestra arrived, it was clear why the 1955 photo was taken at this location—it is beautiful! The terrace of the Palais de Chaillot, which is on a hill overlooking the Seine river, sits between two large buildings that were built for the 1937 International Expo and currently house French museums. This view of the Eiffel Tower is reputed to be one of the most photographed in the city, and at this early hour in the morning the Choir and Orchestra had the entire area to themselves, except for the tireless maintenance workers cleaning up after Bastille Day celebrations.

Choir members lined up quickly on the steps of the terrace for the first photo according to a pre-planned chart. The photographer, standing on a tall ladder provided by local Church leaders, double-checked the angles and locations to make sure the photo would replicate the 1955 photo. Then the Orchestra members joined the Choir members for another historical photo. The Choir and Orchestra made history again—sixty years later!