How to Audition for The Tabernacle Choir
Many people dream of singing with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square but think it is out of their reach. The truth is that many people each year fulfill their dreams of becoming a part of the Choir. There are requirements that need to be met, but still, the Choir may not be as far out of reach as one might think.
- You must:
Be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing.
- Be between 25 and 55 years of age on April 30, of the year choir service would begin (the year following your application.)
- Currently reside within 100 miles of the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Don’t Let Your Fears Hold You Back
When composer Janice Kapp Perry’s husband suggested that she try out for The Tabernacle Choir, she thought, “I can’t do that with this average voice.” Perry eventually joined the Choir despite having to be dragged into the in-person audition. She recalled, “My fears almost kept me from five and a half years of the most glorious musical experience on this earth.” When former music director Craig Jessop suggested that Alex Boyé join the Choir, he did not feel up the task. “He stopped me and said, ‘I want you to be in the choir.’ I said, ‘What choir?’ He said, ‘The Tabernacle Choir.’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’” recounted Boyé.
Many Choir members may have a story of why they felt like he or she felt unready to audition. Upon her retirement, former Choir member Joanne Voorhees said, “The most important [nonmusical] things to prepare for being in the Choir are your heart and attitude.” Persons auditioning for the Choir need to ask themselves if this is the right time in their lives for this commitment and understand what the number of hours participating in the Choir will mean for them.
If you feel like it is the calling for you, scroll down to see the phases you will need to go through in order to make your dream a reality.
Watch an excerpt from the film Singing with Angels about Choir auditions. Although this is a dramatization, it gives some idea of what the audition phases are like.
Phase 1: Online Application
The first step is submitting a completed online application, which includes a digital photo and a digital voice recording. (Detailed instructions on how to create the voice recording are provided in the online application.) Upon receipt of the application, the Choir will email the applicant's local Church leader and ask for an ecclesiastical endorsement response. The application will be complete when the ecclesiastical endorsement is received.
The link to the digital application and an application guide are posted online each year on June 1. All applications must be completed and submitted electronically no later than August 15. Check here for the Audition information page.
Phase 2: Musical Skills Assessment
This audition phase is a two and half hour musical skills written and aural assessment that measures musical ability and aptitude. The assessment usually takes place on a Saturday morning in mid-September. Applicants with acceptable test scores (usually 80 percent or better) then advance to the next phase.
Phase 3: Interview and In-person Auditions
The next phase includes an interview with the Choir president to be sure the candidate understands the demands of Choir membership. This is followed at the same appointment with an in-person audition before the Choir’s music director and associate music director, which includes solo singing, vocal range testing, and sight reading. The interviews and in-person auditions are usually in early- to mid-October.
Phase 4: Choir School and Chorale at Temple Square
This phase consists of participation in Choir School and the Chorale at Temple Square. This 16-week course of training takes place each Tuesday and Thursday night and applicants commit to 100 percent attendance over the four-month period. This regimen has proved invaluable to meet the demands of the Choir’s performance schedule and limited rehearsal time. (For more information, check out a previous blog post, “What Exactly Is Choir School?”)
Following successful completion of a concert by the Chorale at Temple Square and passing the Choir School final exam, participants will become members of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
Watch the Choir perform “Amazing Grace” on the banks of the Mississippi River:
Joining the Choir definitely has plenty of amazing opportunities. Here is a video of the Choir finding out that they were to be surprise performers at a special Fourth of July concert at West Point while on tour in 2015:
Watch the Choir perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Yankee Stadium: