The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Joseph Daynes: The First Organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Joseph Daynes arrived in the Salt Lake Valley at age eleven. Upon his arrival in the valley, Brigham Young observed the boy playing a small organ called a harmomium and declared, “there is our organist for the great Tabernacle organ.” Although the Tabernacle would not be completed for several years, Brigham’s statement would eventually prove to be prophetic.

The Tabernacle opened its doors for the first time on October 6, 1867, for the 37th annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only 700 of the 2,683 organ pipes were completed but 16-year-old Joseph Daynes took the honored seat as the organist, which he was to hold for the next thirty-three years.

Not only did Daynes contribute to the music of the Church in the Tabernacle, he composed music, helped organize the hymns, and established the first free organ recitals at the Tabernacle, a tradition that continues to this day. Five of the hymns in the current LDS Hymnbook were composed by Daynes including, “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”, “Now We’ll Sing with One Accord”, “Lord, Accept Our True Devotion”, “As the Dew from Heaven Distilling”, and “Great God, Attend While Zion Sings”.

Listen to “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” in the SoundCloud upload below. For more on the life of Joseph Daynes, click here to listen to Episode 38 of the Mormon Channel’s History of Hymns series.