Tour Diary #4 - Performing in a Greek Theater!
Written By: Richie Clark, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Member
On tour day six we made it to lovely San Francisco, and I am so ready to not only leave my heart here but also create memories that will last a lifetime. This is my second tour with the Choir, and each day my experience seems to become sweeter.
Today some of us from the Choir and Orchestra started the day by visiting the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, not far from our hotel, where we wandered from booth to booth in search of something good to eat. There were so many different varieties of fruits, breads, jams, and other delicacies that it became overwhelming to know what to sample. At times, we wished we could have just stayed in one place and had each person come to us with their sweet and savory delights. We sampled the peaches and wanted to buy every one of them. They were sweet to the taste, indeed!
In the afternoon, the Choir and Orchestra members traveled to the beautiful campus of University of California, Berkeley and to the historic William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre—the longest-running outdoor amphitheater in the country. The facility opened on September 24, 1903, just one year after the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s first and only other visit to Berkeley.
The amphitheater architecture was amazing. When we walked in, I felt like we had taken a step back into ancient Greece. The stage was built in the Greek Revival style, with large pillars lining the back of the stage, and was designed similar to ancient theaters in Greece. I particularly liked the 31 stone “thrones” placed between the front and back sections of the audience seating, and I imagined that each guest seated in them was a member of a royal family!
As the Choir and Orchestra, we had the opportunity to offer our savory musical delights to an amazing, energetic, and appreciative audience. We provided samples of Berlin, Gershwin, American folk music, spirituals, and our two signature hymns, “Come, Come, Ye Saints” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
One might think that as a Choir member, it would be easy to go through the motions as we sing these songs over and over again. Even though this was our third concert on tour, we all try to perform each concert like we are presenting the songs for the first time. One audience member commented to us at the concert, with tears in her eyes, how wonderful the concert was and how it had brought back such sweet memories of listening to the Choir throughout her life.