The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Winter Olympic Games
In winter of 2002, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was booked solid for the entire run of the 19th Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Choir performed a total of 23 times during the three-week run of the 2002 games.
In February of 2002, the Choir participated in the Cultural Olympiad with four signature concerts, one of which featured John Williams, who composed “Call of the Champions” specifically for the 2002 Olympic Games. Williams, who had previously composed the music for three other Olympic Games, was excited to have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to distinguish the piece, saying, "I was like a giddy child working with them; I loved it."
In addition to the four Cultural Olympiad concerts, the Choir also performed at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Call of the Champions” with Williams conducting. The 2002 Opening Ceremonies were viewed by 3.5 billion people. The Choir, along with the Utah Symphony, also recorded the song “Fragile” with Sting and Yo-Yo Ma. In addition, the Choir performed Light of the World, the Church’s multimedia musical presentation performed at the Conference Center, and gave free public concerts following the weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word.
The 2002 Winter Olympic Games took place only 5 months after the September 11 terror attacks, which led to a fitting tribute during the Opening Ceremonies. The United States flag that was discovered in the remains of the World Trade Center was carried into the stadium by members of the New York Police and Fire Department while the Choir sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games start on February 9 and will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Watch some of the Choir’s 2002 Winter Olympic Games related videos: