Choir Wardrobe: Ensuring the Choir Is Unified Visually
Many who watch the Choir each week may have noticed something new prior to the Choir’s departure for its 2016 European tour: a new addition to the women’s performance wardrobe. Many people may not be aware of all of the work and effort that goes into clothing the Choir members for their performances.
One of the Choir’s musical goals is to sing with one voice. The Choir’s conductors often say that people “listen with their eyes,” so the visual unity of the ensemble is very important. The Choir leadership and staff pay particular attention to the details of concert attire for both women and men.
In the early days of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the choir members themselves purchased and managed their own clothing. Today, with weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts and other concert performances, the Choir owns and manages the concert wardrobes for both the men and the women with volunteer wardrobe committees.
For the women of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, new dresses have been added periodically. Once the dress design and fabric have been chosen, the women’s wardrobe committee of five talented women start their work. Fabric for every dress—plus some extra to allow for new members—must be ordered. Patterns must be prepared in a variety of sizes. One sample dress in every size is made, for fittings, allowing a custom-fit dress to be created specifically for each woman. After the fittings are done, the work really begins. The women’s wardrobe committee will cut, sew, assemble, and do a final fitting for every woman in the Choir. It is a process that takes time but benefits everyone.
Under the direction of the Choir’s president, both the men’s and the women’s wardrobe committees are responsible to coordinate weekly wardrobe selections, communicate to Choir members the assigned wardrobe for each event, and to manage the cleaning and repair of wardrobe pieces. This is an ongoing task and the end result is a pleasing and unified appearance to match the unity of the Choir’s music.