"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Choir sings at Woodstock

Duke Devlin has been at Bethel Woods since the Woodstock festival in 1969. The two share the same farmer’s fields. He was 26 when he hitchhiked with a friend from Texas to attend the three-day festival with 500,000 of his “friends.”  He planted his feet in the small farming community of New York and never left. He married, raised a family and today, at 72 with a flowing beard, he acts as the site interpreter for Bethel Woods sharing his personal experience at Woodstock. The field sits just next door to the sprawling outdoor amphitheater.

Asked what he thought of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing – essentially – at Woodstock he explained that when he was young he had never heard of the Choir. “Today, I’m more mature and I understand, “he said.  “Just like when we opened up here the very first time, we had the New York Philharmonic. They gave me a very nice seat, a primo seat, I thought, ‘Do I have to sit through this?’ Well, as soon as they struck up the band — and that was the first song they came up with, ‘Strike Up the Band’ — I was thrilled by them.” He was thrilled with the Choir’s performance that evening though the Choir sang in a rainstorm. Fitting, it rained at Woodstock in 1969 as well.