Inspiring Stories From the Choir’s Momentous 1991 European Tour
When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir toured Europe and Russia in 1991, they were met with an outpouring of the Spirit. Audiences in Frankfurt, Berlin, Zurich, Strasbourg, Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow, Prague, and Leningrad were touched by the emotional and inspirational music performed by the Choir.
Elder Russell M. Nelson, who traveled with the Choir during the tour, said, “How bold and inspired they were [the First Presidency and Choir leadership] to conceive this tour many months—even years—before Europe’s unwelcoming walls began to crumble! The Brethren had the faith to believe that the Choir could sing in cities such as Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Leningrad, and Moscow long before such dreams seemed plausible.” He also said that the tour was “part of the Lord’s plan to preach the gospel to the people of the world.”
The Ensign magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an article in October 1991 that included heart-warming stories from the Choir’s European tour. Below are just a few of the examples shared in the article:
“There was the 26-year-old woman a choir member met after the Warsaw, Poland, concert, who, with tears streaming down her face, said again and again: 'Unbelievable. Unbelievable.' When asked what she meant, she said, 'You do something for me I never felt before. I cannot say it in English—and I do not know words in Polish, either. I want you to keep singing all night. Then you stop for breakfast only.'
“There was the man who, after the Prague, Czechoslovakia, concert, slowly voiced his thoughts to a choir member about his having lived in a land where belief in God was oppressed and atheism was the religion: 'I am thirty-eight years old—now I have thirty-eight years of opposite philosophy to get rid of.'. . .
“At the dinner following the Budapest concert, the Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly said, 'We are convinced that your simple truth—liberty—is the one wanted in the world. And the sounds of solidarity from choirs must not be destroyed—they cannot be destroyed!'"
Read the entire Ensign article.
While on tour the Choir performed various selections including “Shenandoah,” Deep River,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” as well as sacred hymns such as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” which the Choir sings in the video below. The hymn is also included on the Choir’s album He Is Risen.
Photo: Choir in Berlin, Germany