The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Dr. Mack Wilberg and Bishop Gérald Caussé at the choir member retirement ceremony.

Reflections from Retiring Choir Members

On April 28, 2019, 29 devoted singers of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square finished their volunteer service as members of the Choir. Their combined service totaled 284 years! When they join the Choir, members know that they may serve for a total of 20 years or until their 60th birthday—whichever comes first. Those who are retiring this year have served between 5 years and 20+ years (due to special circumstances). Bob and Gloria Campbell, who served as orchestra librarians for 16 years, were also honored at the April 28 ceremony.

Once each year a special ceremony is held following a broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word, in which retiring Choir members are individually recognized for their service and their families are recognized for their support and sacrifice. This year Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the adviser of The Tabernacle Choir, came to express his love and gratitude for the service of these wonderful Choir members on this special occasion.

It is a bittersweet experience to retire from The Tabernacle Choir. The joy of expressing their feelings and faith, ministering to others through music, is a rewarding experience that members are not eager to leave. Because of the high performance level of the Choir, some members of the public think that this is a job for these singers. On the contrary, each Choir member is a volunteer with employment and family responsibilities outside of the Choir experience.  

In spite of the many dedicated hours with the Choir, departing members continually express their gratitude for their experiences and for the opportunity to share their music and “touch the souls of those who listen.”

Here are some reflections from these members:

  • “Johann Sebastian Bach said, ‘The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.’ My soul is refreshed.”
  • “Thank you to a choir that gives joy, comfort, and answered prayers—and a chance to give back.”
  • “I now can say that I have performed in Carnegie Hall, sung the National Anthem at a Yankees game, and performed in the top concert halls in the world. I’ve even sung music in 15 different languages!”
  • “I’ve sung on multiple recordings, three tours, a presidential inauguration, the virtual ‘Hallelujah,’ 33 sessions of general conference, 75+ concerts, 270+ Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts, almost 700 rehearsals, and a gazillion hours of personal rehearsal and memorization … but who’s counting?”
  • “Singing in the Choir has been the most amazing, grueling, stressful, spiritual, lovely, scary, brilliant, and humbling experience of my earthly life. I will ever remain in awe of the spirit, love, and gifts from Heavenly Father.”
  • “Thank you, Choir family. When I see your faces on broadcasts, I’ll remember the conversations we shared and especially remember your kindness. I’ll forever refer to you as 360 of my best friends.”
  • “To say this experience has been life-changing would be an understatement. It has been one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I’ve loved it beyond my ability to express.”

Welcoming New Choir Members

This year 36 eager new Choir members who have just completed their 16-week training with the Choir School and the Temple Square Chorale became members of The Tabernacle Choir. The Sunday, May 5, broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word will be their first as members of the Choir.

If these sound like experiences you’d enjoy, watch here or at thetabernaclechoir.org for more news about the 2019 Choir audition cycle, which will begin on July 1.