The Tabernacle Choir Blog

A Unique Time for a New Organ Tradition

What do you do if you’re the five Tabernacle and Temple Square organists and you find yourself confronted with daily organ performances being suspended on Temple Square? The century-long tradition of daily organ recitals—a beloved tradition for music lovers and visitors to Salt Lake City’s Temple Square—have been on hiatus due to COVID-19 since mid-March. 

Here’s what the Tabernacle and Temple Square organists did: they got together and proposed the start of a new organ tradition—streaming the recitals online but without an audience to keep everyone safe. With this new tradition, they could continue sharing their love of music that inspires and encourages others. 

“We all agree that this is unique time. We don’t know when The Tabernacle Choir will be able to meet again,” organist Andrew Unsworth said. “The organ concert stream is a musical offering that we can make under these conditions. We want to contribute our artistic, musical, and even spiritual offering to the world at this unique time.”

Now through modern technology, everyone around the world is able to hear and watch the very talented organists play music on the magnificent Temple Square organs. (The concerts take place without an audience with full COVID-compliant precautions.) Here are the details:

WHAT: PIPING UP: Organ Concerts at Temple Square, 30-minute concerts each featuring a different organist every day

WHEN: Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at noon (mountain)

WHERE: Streamed on The Choir’s YouTube channel, Broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, and TheTabernacleChoir.org

MORE: Programs are available online to download prior to the concerts at TheTabernacleChoir.org/events/organ-recitals

Each of the five Tabernacle and Temple Square organists—Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Brian Mathias, Linda Margetts, and Joseph Peeples—will be featured in individual performances in the concert series. 

The announcer for the concert stream, Dr. Luke Howard, professor of music at BYU and member of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, introduces and comments on the music selections to enhance the audience’s experience.

During the June 17 kick-off concert, Piping Up: Tabernacle Organists in Concert, each of the five organists performed much to the delight of the world-wide audience. So far, this concert has garnered more than 50,000 views from patrons around the world! You can watch this 45-minute concert here. (Please note: the weekly organ concerts are streams and can only be viewed during their noon airing. They are not posted for later viewing.)

All of the talented organists recognize their opportunity to play the organs on Temple Square as an honor and a privilege. “I think when anybody discovers something beautiful, they want to share it with other people,” remarked Andrew Unsworth. “We want to share that love with the audience.” 

Tune in each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon (mountain) for Piping Up: Organ Concerts at Temple Square.