21,000 Voices Close Out Choral Conference
The American Choral Directors Association—singers, conductors, composers by the thousands—came to Salt Lake City for a three day conference the last week of February and witnessed the induction of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. They also attended concerts by the Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells on Temple Square in the Tabernacle and Conference Center, were given a simulated opportunity to sing with the Choir, and celebrated with guest artists and ACDA honor choirs in the finale of the highly successful conference.
American Classical Music Hall of Fame honored the Choir for its more than 140 years of choral arts and contributions to the world of classical music. Since its beginning in 1998, the Hall of Fame has inducted 128 musicians from George Gershwin to John Williams to Renée Fleming, and now the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Choir’s medallion is the latest in a long line of significant honors, including a Grammy, three Emmys, the National Medal of the Arts, the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Radio Hall of Fame.
As part of the ACDA conference, the Choir filled the Tabernacle for two special concerts. “With Cheerful Voice: An Evening of Sacred Song” was an offering of hymns, spirituals, and masterworks, which showcased the Choir, Orchestra and Bells to an appreciative audience. The Choir presented a community concert as the last event of the conference featuring world-renowned soprano Sylvia McNair and Broadway star Santino Fontana in his third visit within a year, . Richard Elliott’s “Hot Pipes” performance on the organ with the Orchestra at Temple Square brought everyone to their feet. The conclusion was a stirring 1,700-voice choir singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” which included five different ACDA honor choirs, and the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.
Another highlight was the Choir’s booth in the exhibit area, which provided a green screen backdrop to enable conference participants to “join” the Choir singing “Amazing Grace” and then sent them an email with a video recording for posting and sharing.
“We survived ACDA week, although it's the most demanding thing I can remember the Choir doing in all my years here,” said Richard Elliott, principal Tabernacle organist. “There are a lot of tired singers and instrumentalists out there this week, but this has done a tremendous amount of good for the Church and for the Choir. Conductors, singers young and old, and their parents were all bowled over by the facilities, the kindness of the people, the aura of Temple Square and of the city, and the caliber of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performances. Good feelings and happy memories were felt all around.”