The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Visits Switzerland for the First Time in 25 Years
Zurich, Switzerland, was the fourth stop on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 2016 European tour. The last time the Choir was in Zurich was 1991, when they performed at the same venue, Hallenstadion—a multipurpose venue that has played host to musical artists such as ABBA, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, and, more recently, Adele, Imagine Dragons, and Ed Sheeran—even Justin Bieber will take his turn at Hallenstadion in November.
Within the first hour of arriving in Switzerland, Choir members made their way to a local store’s candy aisle to get a taste of some of the world’s finest chocolate. When in Switzerland. . . .
During the sound check, Ryan Murphy, associate music director, was pleasantly surprised by the sound in the venue, saying that it had one of the best sounds of the large venues he’s heard. The sound check was also eventful because of the variety of guests that were on hand to witness or even sing with the Choir. CHor3 PLUS, a 30-member choir of young single adults from three different congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was able to attend. Sara Seidl, the group’s music director, had the opportunity to sing with the Choir, along with six others in attendance at the sound check.
A longtime Choir fan, Trevor Clarke, 82, made the long trip from Sydney, Australia, to see four of the Choir’s concerts. Clarke has been a Choir fan since age 18 and hasn’t missed a broadcast in years. “When I first heard the Choir one morning twiddling around the dial on the old radio and I heard these voices, I thought, ‘What’s this?’ and it was the Choir. I was hooked,” said Clarke.
Clarke continued, “Unfortunately, I didn’t go to Salt Lake City [to see the Choir] until 2013. Why I didn’t go earlier I don’t know—maybe finance,” he laughed, before adding, “I went in September 2013 and 10 months later I was back again, so what an effect it had on me.”
Since his first trip to Salt Lake City in 2013, he has developed a friendship with Choir personnel, including announcer Lloyd Newell and organist Clay Christiansen, who made arrangements for Clarke to come for sound checks and concerts during the tour. “I’m not a Mormon,” he said. “I’m not anything. I just love my music, and to me, this is just the greatest choir in the world.”
To accommodate the audience’s limited view of the concert from certain seats, two big screens displayed images of the Choir and Orchestra in action. Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Senior President of the Quorum of the Seventy of the Church, traveled with the Choir for part of the tour and observed, “It has been fascinating to look in people’s eyes and talk to them before the concerts, then talk to them afterward. I’ve heard people say, ‘I was in tears for the whole first half.’ I’ve heard people say, ‘I had no idea that music could move me the way this music has moved me.’”