Divine Coordination of Conference Music and Message
From the beginning of time, music has held a singular place in worship of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It began “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (Job 38:7)
No wonder then that every general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has The Tabernacle Choir in the loft singing in praise of God and His glory.
President Russell M. Nelson refers to the singers as “our beloved choir.”1 There are many accounts of how the Choir’s music has fit so well with conference messages. Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described his own experience with the song, “Come, O Thou King of Kings:”
“On Tuesday, March 31, 2015, the First Presidency’s office sent me an email explaining that I would speak on Sunday afternoon, April 5, immediately following the congregational hymn ‘Come, O Thou King of Kings.’ The text of this great Restoration hymn, written by Parley P. Pratt, is a humble plea to the Savior to return to the earth. It embodied the message of my conference talk perhaps more powerfully than any other hymn we sing. I was deeply moved by the significance of believing Saints everywhere singing together on Easter Sunday, raising our voices to God and in unison singing, ‘Come, O Thou King of Kings! We’ve waited long for thee.’
"Realizing that I personally had no input on the music selection for general conference, I wondered if those responsible for the music had read my conference talk entitled ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and then chosen this hymn about the Second Coming of the Savior. I later learned that The Tabernacle Choir directors had recommended the hymn to the First Presidency in early March, weeks prior to my talk being sent to the First Presidency for translation. The last time that ‘Come, O Thou King of Kings’ was sung as a congregational hymn in general conference was October 2002. We each try to do our part, but He is the grand architect.”2
For the two-day conference in October 2022 the Choir will sing in the Conference Center for the Saturday morning and Sunday morning and afternoon sessions. “Singing at Conference is at the heart of the Choir’s mission,” Scott Barrick, special advisor to the Choir Presidency, explains. “The music of the Choir seeks to contribute to the Lord’s call in latter-day scripture when He said, ‘The righteous shall be gathered from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with song of everlasting joy (D&C 45:71).' Elder Anderson’s experience with divine coordination of music and message has happened over and over at general conference time.”
The Choir’s weekly broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word immediately precedes the Sunday morning session of general conference. Since the general conference session and the Choir’s broadcast are transmitted together on Sunday morning, many millions around the world have an additional opportunity to experience the peace, hope, and joy the music of the Choir brings.
- Russell M. Nelson, “Opening the Heavens for Help,” 2020 April General Conference.
- Neil L. Anderson, “Thy Kingdom Come,” 2015 April General Conference, Footnote 3.