Concerts Cancelled, Auditions Postponed Due to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present unique and challenging circumstances for everyone in today’s world—and The Tabernacle Choir organization is no exception. Because of the continuing health challenges involved with live rehearsals and performances, with concern for the welfare of its performers and audiences, and to continue to follow earlier direction provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to postpone large public gatherings in areas challenged by COVID-19, the Choir organization announced these adjustments to its schedule:
Remaining 2020 Live Concerts Cancelled
- Fall concert by the Orchestra at Temple Square
- November concert by the Bells at Temple Square
- Christmas concert by The Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra, and Bells
Remaining Phases of 2020 Auditions Postponed
- The remaining three of the four audition phases of the 2020 audition cycle will be postponed until 2021.
- Applicants who were successful in Phase 1 of the 2020 process which closed August 15 will receive an email from the Choir informing them of the specific details.
“This is disappointing for all of us but we have found a silver lining in these unique times by discovering innovative ways to share our vast repository of music with more people globally than ever before through the blessing of modern technology,” explained Choir president Ron Jarrett. “As such, we are exploring ways to continue the Choir’s annual traditions of TV specials and recordings next year even in the absence of a live Christmas concert in 2020.”
These announcements continue COVID-19 impacts to the Choir organization starting in March 2020. Since then, Choir organization musicians have not been able to meet together for their usual weekly rehearsals and their live performances have been on hold. Because of the health concerns, the Choir’s 2020 tour was postponed to 2021. See here for details of the pandemic impact on the Choir.
Despite today’s announcements, Choir music director Mack Wilberg said the Choir organization ensembles are still fulfilling their musical mission. “More important now than ever is the need for experiences that elevate, uplift, and bring people closer to the divine. For over 150 years, both in good times and in bad, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has endeavored to bring joy, peace, and healing to its listeners through music. Together with the Orchestra and the Bells, and through the use of our archives and technology, we have been and will continue to be active in providing that musical uplift through this pandemic and beyond.”
Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, the Choir organization continues to pursue its mission in the following ways:
- Each week, as it has for over 90 years, Music & the Spoken Word continues to broadcast on radio, television, and the internet. Choir music director Mack Wilberg works with the program’s executive producers to select previously-aired broadcasts that have increased relevance during this time. These encore performances are reaching larger audiences searching for inspirational music for their at-home worship services.
- The Tabernacle and Temple Square organists continue to live stream the new online series of concerts Piping Up! Organ Concerts on Temple Square (without live audiences) around the world each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon mountain time. These online concerts renew the century-long tradition of live Temple Square organ recitals. The series "kickoff concert” is available on YouTube and has garnered nearly 70,000 views.
- This July Music & the Spoken Word celebrated with a special 60-minute online and television broadcast called Music for a Summer Evening: Celebrating 90 Years of Broadcasting which has now been enjoyed by over 100,000 viewers across multiple digital platforms.
- The Choir has refreshed its mobile app for both Apple and Android phones with easier accessibility to inspirational Choir music and information.
- As it did in April 2020, The Tabernacle Choir will participate in the 2020 October general conference meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the use of its pre-recorded performances.
- Scheduled for release this 2020 Christmas season are the special PBS and BYUtv broadcasts of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir featuring Broadway star Kelli O’Hara and The Waltons actor Richard Thomas taken from the Choir’s 2019 Christmas concerts.
- Watch for the new Christmas CDs, DVDs, and book each entitled Christmas Day in the Morning, also from the 2019 concert, to be released in mid-October of 2020.
The Choir organization remains optimistic for the future. As Church President Russell M. Nelson expressed relative to COVID-19 challenges, “We are grateful for your faith, your prayers, your cooperation and understanding.” Choir leadership will continue to cautiously monitor information in counsel with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to determine the appropriate timing for rehearsals and performances to resume.