The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Tour Diary 1—Memorize, Practice, and Prepare!

Written by: Sandey Johansen, Mormon Tabernacle Choir member

Soon after I became a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the 2016 European tour was announced for the Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square. Imagine needing to train yourself for something like an Olympic event in less than a year! Well, that's what it would take—hours of practice with the Choir and even more hours outside of the Choir on our own time—that's all part of the commitment that each choir member makes when they join.

Starting this April, we received a partial list of the tour music. As time permitted, when the Choir finished rehearsing for Music & the Spoken Word broadcast each week, the Choir would practice a few tour pieces. Most of the music we would be singing on tour had been sung on the previous 2015 Atlantic Coast tour so it was familiar to most, but not to the newest members of the Choir like me!  Next came the introduction of German pieces with lessons on the correct word pronunciation. This went on until June with time added for extra rehearsals on Sundays and Tuesdays until our pre-tour concert on July 23, 2016 for family and friends. On that date, the tabernacle was packed and the Choir and Orchestra members were filled with excitement and butterflies. Here we go!!

June 27th—the day the Mormon Tabernacle Choir embarked on its 2016 European tour—was a day of excitement! It started with Choir and Orchestra members leaving at all times of the day, with flights to cities in the United States and Europe with our final destination for everyone being Berlin, Germany. The faces I saw were happy and when talking with some of the Choir members, they were nervous and excited. As for me, I wasn’t quite sure. I was still worried about the music to be sung by memory: 23 pieces in seven different languages!  But with God’s help, we all felt nothing was impossible! And so I boarded the plane bound for Amsterdam.

As I looked around two hours into my flight, it was very quiet and calm.  Some Choir and Orchestra members were sleeping, some were reading, but most were enjoying the age of electronic devices. But there was no sleep for me, not even with my travel pillow and the barrage of food given me by the flight attendants. I didn't want to miss anything.

We landed in Amsterdam and got a taste of crowds, lines, and customs and many different languages. There was a sea of beautiful color in dress and faces. I made myself take a mental picture of the scene. We soon boarded a plane to Berlin for a short flight and then on to a bus bound for the hotel. When we stopped at the hotel, the doorman came on the bus and quietly announced we had arrived.

Now it was time to be ready for this working holiday. A time to be a part of something much bigger than myself for a world where some are desperately in need of peace. So let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. We had memorized, practiced, and prepared. We were ready for this 2016 European tour to begin!