What Music Should I Perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?
If you were invited to be a guest soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square on their Music & the Spoken Word broadcast, what music would you want to perform?
That was the dilemma violist Leticia Oaks Strong faced when Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, invited her to be a guest on the July 29, 2018, broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word. As a member of the renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1994, Strong has been a soloist with several orchestras, given recitals, and even performed at the International Viola Congress.
Strong reached out to a friend who had arranged music for her before, Dr. Cameron Rose, the director of choral activities at the University of Texas at Tyler and a noted composer, arranger, and pianist. Rose suggested arranging the old Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision” with translation by Eleanor Hull. With only weeks before the performance, Dr. Rose went to work, taking into account the talents of this professional violist and the well-known abilities of the Choir and the Orchestra.
“I was working to spotlight the viola player as a soloist as well as to give the Mormon Tabernacle Choir a wonderful opportunity to sing as well as providing the Orchestra wonderful music to play,” remarked Dr. Rose, “in such a way they are not competing with each other, but they support each other to perform the hymn in a meaningful way together.”
“When Cameron told me the piece he was working on, I brought up the words [to the hymn] and read them,” remarked Strong. “It was exactly what was in my heart—what I wanted to do. I wanted to praise God and share my heart and my testimony through the music.”
Watch a video interview with Leticia Oaks Strong and Dr. Cameron Rose featuring portions of Strong’s performance of “Be Thou My Vision” with the Choir and Orchestra.