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The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Former Choir Conductor Craig Jessop Receives Elite Utah Arts Award

Craig Jessop has a long history with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, beginning with his days as a Choir member from 1973 to 1977. He then returned as associate music director from 1995 to 1999, when he became the music director—a position he maintained until 2008.

During Jessop’s time with the Choir, 15 albums were recorded, the Orchestra at Temple Square was formed, and the Choir performed during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, received a Grammy nomination for the Choir’s work on a Christmas album—Spirit of the Season, featuring Sissel—and even toured the Holy Land. Jessop was also instrumental in encouraging musician Alex Boyé to audition and join the Choir.

On May 5, 2016, Jessop will be presented with the Governor’s Leadership in the Arts award at the Mountain West Arts Conference at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City, Utah. He is one of four honorees, along with the Utah Arts Festival, James Rees, and the Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council. In a recent interview regarding the award, Jessop said, “This just came out of the blue. I was very surprised and very honored. It was completely unexpected.”

Jessop became the head of the Utah State University Music Department in 2008 and became the founding dean of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University in 2010. “I really have three distinct chapters of my life—the Air Force, the Tabernacle Choir, and my time at Utah State University. Each one has been the best possible thing for me at the time,” Jessop said.

Watch Craig Jessop talk about the power of music in this video: