Santino Fontana made Mormon Tabernacle Choir history when he performed as a guest artist with the Choir three times within a year. In July 2014, Fontana made his first appearance in the summer Pioneer Day concerts. Five months later Fontana was back on the Conference Center stage singing Christmas songs. Only two months after the Christmas concert, Fontana returned to perform in a concert for the American Choral Directors Association.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed the inspirational songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein on February 9, 2017, in the Conference Center at Temple Square for the opening event of the RootsTech 2017 Conference: “Music—It Runs in the Family.” The Choir was joined by Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III, grandson of lyricist and playwright Oscar Hammerstein II, and singer Dallyn Vail Bayles to showcase the amazing talent and legacy of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songwriting team. The annual RootsTech conference has become the largest global family history conference in the world.
In 1847, Mormon Pioneers moved to the Salt Lake Valley under the direction of Brigham Young, who was the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after the arrival, a small choir was formed and sang at the first conference of the Church on August 22, 1847, which was only 29 days after the arrival of the first pioneers. This choir became the foundation of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir traces its beginnings to a small chorus that sang three weeks after the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. That small band of singers in the Rocky Mountains has now become a choir of 360 members that shares its musical message of hope and inspiration throughout the world each week through the miracle of radio, television, the Internet—and now social media channels as well.
Without the Hammerstein family, Broadway just wouldn’t be Broadway as we know it. In 1864, Oscar Hammerstein I emigrated to America from Germany via Liverpool, England. After a three-month journey to the United States, Hammerstein arrived broke, with dreams of making it in the opera business.
Editor’s Note: April McMurtrey, author of a blog called “Something to Shout About!”interviewed Choir President Ron Jarrett with questions sent in by her readers. Here are some excerpts from April’s blog, used with her permission.