The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s California Connections
Currently, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is approaching the final California concert of their Classic Coast Tour. The tour kicked off in Costa Mesa, California, before making stops in Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Mountain View. The California dates will conclude with a concert in Rohnert Park on June 27 and will be followed by stops in Washington and Vancouver, Canada.
As the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square continue their journey through the Golden State, we thought it would be fun to share some of the Choir’s connections to California.
Choir President Ron Jarrett’s Mission
The president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Ron Jarrett, went on a two-year volunteer mission to Southern California for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to becoming the Choir’s president, Jarrett was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for nine consecutive years.
Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ—Los Angeles Times
In 1901, an editor from the Los Angeles Times who was headed to Buffalo, New York, stopped by the Salt Lake Tabernacle to hear a performance. He wrote, “The Tabernacle Organ is undoubtedly the grandest musical instrument in the world. Not one of the more modern instruments, no matter what its pretensions or cost, comes up to the standard of the Salt Lake wonder.” The writer was so impressed with the organ and the performance that he went as far as to say, “It was a night of nights. All the treasured memories of operas and symphonies seemed to sink into insignificance in the light of this unparalleled musical experience.” Read the blog post that includes a link to the original article.
Conference Center Organ Company
The Conference Center organ may not have the storied history of the Tabernacle organ, but it is a treasure nonetheless. When the building was being constructed, the Tabernacle organists, Choir staff, and Tabernacle organ curator unanimously agreed on using Schoenstein & Co. of San Francisco, California. Schoenstein & Co also renovated the Tabernacle organ in the late 1980s.
Mack Wilberg: University of Southern California
With the 2018 Classic Coast Tour, Mack Wilberg returned to Los Angeles, where he attended the University of Southern California and received his master’s and doctoral degrees. Wilberg is one of the world’s leading choral conductors and arrangers and recently released original choral works on the new album Tree of Life: Sacred Music of Mack Wilberg.
Organist Bonnie Goodliffe: San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Bonnie Goodliffe has been a Temple Square organist since 1979. She has a wide-ranging background in music theory, organ performance, and composition, and she studied piano and organ at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Bells on Temple Square Tour
The Bells on Temple Square—part of the Choir organization—embarked on their second out-of-state tour to Garden Grove, California, in 2017, performing for the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar. Watch the video below to see the Bells on Temple Square perform “Good Vibrations” by the California group the Beach Boys.
In related news, the Beach Boys recorded a song they wrote titled “Salt Lake City,” which was due to the early support that the city gave to the group. According to a Salt Lake Tribune article, “from 1963 until 1973, the band played at Lagoon’s Patio Gardens at least a dozen times.”