The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Giving Julie Rohde a Standing Ovation

A standing ovation for Julie Rohde starts right now!

After more than twenty years in The Tabernacle Choir singing as a second alto and over twenty years in the Choir front office as an Executive Assistant, Julie Rohde truly deserves the applause of all the Choir family and its millions of friends. Over that extended period of time, Julie has shown a singular commitment to the work of the Choir, been so influential in ways big and small, and been so encouraging of Choir organization members. As she would say, she has been “more blessed” by being a part of The Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square.

Julie is retiring on May 20, 2022.

She began singing in the Choir in October 1981 when Jerold Ottley was the conductor. She sang under the baton of Craig Jessop and Mack Wilberg, retiring from singing in 2003. Prior to joining the Choir staff, Julie worked for the Mormon Youth Symphony and Orchestra for nine years. Their offices were just next door to those of The Tabernacle Choir. When she was approached to work in the Choir office, she jumped at the chance. Counting her time with Mormon Youth and with The Tabernacle Choir as a singer and employee, Julie has been in the business of making music for the Church for the better part of 50 years. It's hard to think of anyone else in the Choir who has had such a history of singing and administrative service. She has served under five Choir presidents: Oakley Evans was president when she began, Wendell Smoot followed, and then Mac Christensen, Ron Jarrett, and now Mike Leavitt.

It’s fair to say her life has been consumed by The Tabernacle Choir for over forty years and she has loved every minute of it from being on stage to being behind the scenes. She has been there for tours around the world from Russia to Australia and for moving the Choir offices from the high-rise Church Office Building to the Tabernacle in 2007. She sang in the first general conference sessions in the new Conference Center in 2000, at multiple United States presidential inaugurals, and at the funerals of presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has seen more than a dozen dresses for the women’s wardrobe come—and some go. She has kept the historical roster of Choir members, collecting names back to the 1800s. Her efforts now include names of the Orchestra, Bells, and staff—more than 6,000 members.

In the Choir office, she has worked closely with broadcasts, concerts, and special performances. Her hands have shaped programs, kept track of music for upcoming productions and Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts, and coordinated with production teams.

When reflecting on experiences that were memorable, Julie quickly speaks of a very special meeting in the Salt Lake Temple where the Choir sang in praise of Jesus Christ in His Holy House, as well as singing in the rebuilt Nauvoo Temple for the first session of the dedication. She fondly remembers singing in Shepherds’ Field in Israel on tour with the Choir and has been blessed with many opportunities to listen to and encourage new and retiring Choir members. She will never forget singing at Tanglewood, shortly after knee surgery, leaning on a cane so she couldn’t hold her music. The woman in front of her knew the music and held up her folder high so Julie could see the notes and sing. That kind of care is what the Choir has been about for her all these years. And being immersed in the Choir has strengthened her testimony. When she reads the scriptures, she finds herself recognizing so many phrases and messages that are ever present in the Choir’s music.

Among her most treasured associations has been working closely with music director Mack Wilberg since 2008. She is grateful for the respect and kindness he has shown her describing him as “so incredibly kind, so patient, so appreciative.”

Dr. Wilberg returns the compliments. “Over these many years Julie has accomplished her responsibilities so admirably and her gracious efforts have made her friends all over the world. Her unmatched institutional knowledge and great writing and editorial skills are truly irreplaceable. She will be greatly missed!”

After these many years of service, Julie’s friends and colleagues concur with Dr. Wilberg’s sentiments and join together in the traditional Choir farewell, “God be with you till we meet again.”