The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Choir Members on Tour Told to Polish Their Shoes and Be in by Midnight

The Choir has been taking tours for 130 years. The first was to American Fork, Utah, in 1880. In 1893, the Choir's first out-of-state tour was to the Chicago World’s Fair, where it placed second in a choral competition. In 1911, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in New York City, where it will perform again this summer. The Choir has toured the United States, Canada, and much of the rest of the world, including Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Israel, and Australia, to name a few previous tour destination.

In just a few weeks, from June 24 to July 7, the Choir will be touring the Atlantic States with performances in prestigious concerts halls—the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland; Carnegie Hall in New York; the Wang Theatre in Boston—and at outdoor concert facilities in Saratoga Springs and Bethel in New York.

Taking 320 members of the Choir, 68 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square, guests of the performers, and production staff means 11 busses and 3 airplanes, floors of hotel rooms, and lots of food. 

Susie Butler in the Choir office discovered these instructions for the 200 members of the Choir in that 1911 tour to the East Coast. To keep discipline and order, the director and staff issued some rules to provide the “fullest amount of liberty commensurate with good discipline [and] as a help in the dispatch of business and in looking after the welfare of our company.” Here are just a few of those rules for the 1911 Choir members:

Organization – For the purpose of good discipline and accounting for the whereabouts and deportment of the members of the Chorus, the organization shall consist of the following: (1) Captains of cars, (2) Lieutenant of tens. The Lieutenant shall look after the welfare, comfort, safety and conduct of the ten members under his jurisdiction and report to the Captain of his car [train car].

Rehearsals – It is not expected to do much rehearsing, but in case of necessity it is expected that all members shall be at the call of the Conductor for such rehearsals as he may require.

Adequate Sleep – It is of the utmost importance that members conserve their strength in order to get the best results from singing. A tired-out chorus will be very liable to do poor singing, flat singing and be otherwise unsatisfactory; therefore, ladies and gentlemen, please look after your health and get all the sleep and rest possible.

Concerts – At each concert all members of the Choir are required to report at the hall, properly dressed, twenty minutes before the time for the beginning of the concert in order that the attendance be duly registered, that the Conductor might be freed from the anxiety caused by late arrival of the Choir, and that the entire body might take their places on the platform promptly and in perfect order.

Dress – At evening concerts, ladies are expected to appear in white or cream-colored dresses; gentlemen in evening dress, white ties and patent leather or shined shoes. At matinees ladies may wear afternoon gowns and gentlemen their morning clothes.