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 April Conference in 2020 was unique due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That February as events in the world were only starting to unfold and before Church meetings had been canceled, Choir leaders were asked to have the conference music selections prerecorded for use if the need arose. These recordings were made after the weekly 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 remarked that their feelings during these conference rehearsals and recordings were deeper, more profound, and more powerful than other previous conference preparation experiences. They had all felt the chaos and tumult of the world but understood that more than ever, the world needed the power of music at that time to uplift us, to help us find peace and comfort, and to bring us closer to Jesus Christ.
Those listening and watching general conference broadcasts that weekend experienced it in a different way. There was no live audience. Messages from each of the conference speakers were heard. The music, prepared and pre-recorded for these Conference sessions by inspired leaders and singers, contributed to the spirit of each of the general conference sessions.
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 that its chosen music will complement the words of the conference speakers and touch the hearts of all those who are in need of comfort and peace.