The Tabernacle Choir: Setting an Atmosphere of Worship
Members of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square prepare twice a year to sing in the general conference meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, their sponsoring organization. “Music can set an atmosphere of worship which invites the spirit of revelation and testimony,” remarked Boyd K. Packer, former president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mindful of the responsibility they have as musicians and as disciples of Jesus Christ to contribute to each conference meeting, Choir members work diligently at home and in rehearsals to memorize their music, perfect their performances, and find ways to express the feelings of their hearts through the music they have the opportunity to sing.
The 2020 April Conference will be unique due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In February as events in the world were only starting to unfold and before Church meetings had been cancelled, Choir leaders were asked to have the conference music selections prerecorded for use if the need arose. These recordings were made after Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts while the Choir was still able to meet before restrictions on assembling large groups were put in place.
Choir members have remarked that their feelings during these rehearsals and recordings were deeper, more profound, and more powerful than other previous conference preparation experiences. They have all felt the chaos and tumult of the world but understand that now more than ever the world needs the power of music to uplift us, to help us find peace and comfort, and to bring us closer to Jesus Christ.
Those listening and watching to general conference this weekend will be experiencing it in a new and different way. There will be no live audience. But the messages from the conference speakers will be heard. The music prepared and pre-recorded for this Conference under inspired direction will still be able to contribute to the spirit of general conference.
As former Church president Harold B. Lee said, “The most effective preaching of the gospel is when it is accompanied by beautiful, appropriate music.” The Choir’s hope is the music will complement the words of the conference speakers and touch the hearts of those who are in need of comfort and peace.