The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Music & the Spoken Word features St. Olaf Choir

On Sunday, May 1, 2022, The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will feature the famed St. Olaf Choir conducted by Anton Armstrong on its long-running Music & the Spoken Word program. Armstrong will conduct the St. Olaf Choir together with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in performing a composition Mack Wilberg previously composed especially for the St. Olaf Choir, “Light Dawns on a Weary World.” The St. Olaf Choir will perform two additional selections—one a cappella and one with piano accompaniment—both conducted by Armstrong. Mack Willberg will conduct the combined choirs and orchestra for the broadcast’s concluding number, “Thou Gracious God, Whose Mercy Lends.” The repertoire for the broadcast can be found here.

This year marks Anton Armstrong’s 32nd year as conductor of the St. Olaf Choir. He is just the fourth conductor to lead the ensemble during its 110-year history. In addition to his role as a professor of music at St. Olaf College, Armstrong is in demand as a guest conductor in the international and national choral music scene. Armstrong has been a featured guest conductor on the Music & the Spoken Word broadcast three previous times, while this will be the first time the St. Olaf Choir has appeared with its famed conductor.

The 75-voice St. Olaf Choir has received recognition as an a cappella ensemble, renowned for its artistry and beauty of sound. For more than a century, the St. Olaf Choir has performed for audiences around the world. It was founded in 1912 by distinguished Norwegian musician F. Melius Christiansen on the campus of the St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. (Editor's note: Christiansen's a capella arrangement of "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" will be performed by St. Olaf on the broadcast.)

Today St. Olaf College is a nationally ranked four-year, co-educational liberal arts college recognized worldwide for the exceptional breadth and depth of its music program. The college is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) with students from across the United States, as well as from 75 countries. St. Olaf Choir members are full-time, undergraduate students. Their commitment to the St. Olaf Choir involves rehearsing five days a week in addition to completing a full schedule of academic and musical studies.

“We are pleased to welcome the St. Olaf Choir for this performance with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square,” said Mack Wilberg, music director of The Tabernacle Choir. “We are delighted to welcome back our dear friend, Anton Armstrong, whose prior appearances with us have been so memorable. Both The Tabernacle Choir and the St. Olaf Choir have long-standing traditions performing music that inspires and uplifts people of all faiths giving hope and peace to those who listen. It’s wonderful to have both choirs together with the Orchestra on this special broadcast.”

Two additional opportunities to hear the St. Olaf Choir directed by Anton Armstrong are as follows:

  • St. Olaf will present a concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. Paid tickets are required. Just search in your browser for "St. Olaf Choir at First Presbyterian Church" for details.
  • Following the live broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word on Sunday, May 1, the St. Olaf Choir will perform a short mini-concert of about 10 minutes for the audience in attendance.