The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Read the Incredibly Warm Welcome the Choir Received When Opening Its 1955 European Tour in Glasgow, Scotland

In 1955 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir toured in Europe. The Choir boarded a ship named Saxonia in Montreal and set sail. The first performance was held in Glasgow, Scotland. A reception was given for the entire Choir at the council chambers. Andrew Hood, Lord Provost of Glasgow welcomed the Choir with a very warm and welcoming speech, recorded in J. Spencer Cornwall’s book, A Century of Singing. Below is an excerpt:

"As far as I know, this is the greatest invasion of Mormons in Scotland. I am not entirely unfamiliar with your history. Many years ago I was associated with a man who was a member of your church (President David O. McKay) and that was at a time when there was much criticism of your church, but I felt that any religion which had principles which could produce a man of such integrity must be grossly misrepresented. I care not what a man’s theological beliefs may be, but I consider how that man feels toward his neighbor.
We have been very flattered that Scotland was chosen for the opening concert of your European tour. Your publicity program has been very effective—there is hardly a person here who has not heard of your coming. The press has termed Scotland as the gateway to to Europe. I would like to state here that Glasgow is the gateway to Scotland.
I hereby take the opportunity myself to turn over to you the public rooms of this building, which please feel free to look through if you care to. Meanwhile, we have prepared some refreshments—not tea—not coffee—not Scotch whiskey, but something I’m told will be acceptable to your particular taste.
In behalf of the city of Glasgow, I bid you a thousand welcomes, and with you success on your tour."

After the reception, Choir leadership was handed the local newspaper, which welcomed the Choir on the front page.