The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Likes Basketball
Basketball…and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Wait, what? Many people might not realize it, but the Choir has a history with the NBA that dates back to when they first performed the national anthem at a Utah Jazz game in 2001. Let's take a moment to look at some of the Choir’s basketball history.
For the opening of the 2001–2002 season, the Choir performed a pre-game 9/11 tribute ceremony at the Delta Center (later renamed Energy Solutions Arena). The ceremony started with the familiar voice of Lloyd Newell sharing a message about liberty, peace, and hope followed by the Choir's performances of “God Bless America” and the “The Star Spangled Banner,” led by former Choir director, Craig Jessop. The ceremony concluded with a red, white, and blue balloon drop while the announcers said, “The entire 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir—wow, you talk about emotion…the coaches were moved; the players were moved.”
The Choir also performed the national anthem in October 2009 at the Utah Jazz home opening game. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, who serves as the Choir’s advisor, has been spotted at many Utah Jazz games and often sits in the private box suite of Jon Huntsman Sr.
In 2012, after seeing the NBA perform their version of “Carol of the Bells” with basketballs in a commercial for NBA Christmas Day uniforms, the Choir made a video response. They performed a snippet of the song and concluded by throwing hundreds of basketballs in the air while shouting an enthusiastic, “Merry Christmas!”
During the 2013 tour, the Choir received a personalized jersey from the Indiana Pacers before taking the stage in Indianapolis, Indiana. The jersey was presented by Greg Schenkel, Vice President of Corporate Communications, who said, "I hope this jersey finds a place a prominence with you and you remember us fondly."
Recently, the Choir invited the star of Disney’s Frozen, Santino Fontana, to participate in their annual Pioneer Day concert. During the concert, Fontana and the Choir performed an energetic version of “She Likes Basketball” from the Broadway musical Promises, Promises. Below is the video of Fontana and the Choir performing the song.