"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

The Tabernacle Choir Blog

In 1900 the Choir Surprised President Lorenzo Snow with an Impromptu

On January 25, 1900, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir closed its regular Thursday evening rehearsal and set out for an impromptu performance for President Lorenzo Snow. According to a Salt Lake Tribune article published the following day, the Choir gathered outside President Snow’s residence and began singing. Later, the group was invited in and sang additional hymns; the visit concluded with a few words from President Smith and handshakes. An excerpt from the article is below.


The Tabernacle Choir, or about 300 members of it, sprung a very pleasant surprise on President Lorenzo Snow last night. It was the regular practice evening , and after a short session at the choir hall on Richards Street, they adjourned to President Snow’s residence. The first intimation of the visit given to the head of the Church was when he heard the stains of the well-known hymn “Oh, My Father” outside the doors.

The song finished, the choristers were invited indoors, and the building made brilliant by the glow of a myriad of electric lights. For a time it fairly rivaled the Alta club building across the way.

Once inside, and after a cordial welcome from the various members of the family, the Choir sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”, very sweetly.

President Snow responded in a speech of fifteen minutes in duration, in which he heartily thanked the Choir for the honor conferred. It was an honor, he said, and he could find no adequate words in which to thank the young brethren and sisters for the courtesy. He urged the members to use the same diligence in the future as they had in the past, and said that if they did so the Lord would bless them. They would not only sing praises on earth, but also in heaven.


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William Fowler, who wrote the lyrics to “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet," only lived to age 35, but he accomplished—and traveled—much during his life. His father was in the British military, which resulted in several relocations for the family. By the time Fowler was nine, he had lived in three different countries—Australia, India, and England. Toward the end of his short life, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean and eventually settled in Manti, Utah.

Read more about “We Thank Thee, Oh God, for a Prophet” »