An Unusual Year for Choir’s International Broadcast Growth
It has been an unusual year for The Tabernacle Choir organization and its members who for the past year have been watching Music & the Spoken Word from home with the rest of the world. As pandemic restrictions have continued, the weekly Music & the Spoken Word program—now in its historic 92nd year of continuous broadcasting—has still found increased international viewership.
There is no question why. Around the globe, audiences have been searching for additional inspiration and uplift during these trying times. Many people have been accessing Music & the Spoken Word as part of their Sunday worship service while meetings of congregations of all faiths have been temporarily on hold. It hasn’t mattered where they resided or what language they spoke, the music of the Choir was able to touch their hearts. As former Church president, David O. McKay (1873-1970) once remarked: “Music is truly the universal language, and when it is excellently expressed how deeply it moves our souls.”
Even though the Choir hasn’t been able to perform since March 2020, its vast archive of recorded work has enabled it to air special encore broadcasts of Music & the Spoken Word since restrictions over a year ago.
The Choir weekly broadcasts had already been streaming on its YouTube channel from the United States. Because in Europe, Facebook offers some additional local advantages, in the second half of 2020, the Choir began Facebook streaming on the language pages of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its sponsoring organization.
Because these pages are “language” pages, many countries around the world access the same language broadcast through these pages. For example, viewership is higher on the Facebook Portuguese page among Brazilians than those living in Portugal, and on the Facebook UK English page, the highest viewership is coming from India!
In the spring of 2020, the Music & the Spoken Word spoken dialogue was already being translated and distributed in 4 languages—English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. By April 2021, the broadcast iwas available in an additional eight languages: Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Romanian, Hungarian, German, and Italian. Also, an English version with a British accent was added. In May 2021, Dutch and Polish streams were added, and in August 2021 Czech and Albanian language streams were added.
“It is miraculous how the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up opportunities for The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square since its outbreak. People everywhere are seeking anything that provides a measure of light in these darkened times. It is therefore little wonder that our audiences have responded so favorably to Music & the Spoken Word since its introduction in these new countries and languages,” remarked Brian Cordray, the Europe Area Publishing Services Manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Though live performances may have stopped for a season, the Choir's boradcast is now being used by our full-time missionaries throughout Europe to bring messages of peace and hope into places previously unfamiliar with the sweet strains of its inspired music.”