Stream the Bells at Temple Square Concert, “Visions of the Season” This Friday.
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What’s New with The Tabernacle Choir

April 2018 Articles

Mountain View, CA. Concert Tickets on Sale May 3!

After many months of waiting, tickets for the Choir and Orchestra’s 2018 Classic Coast Tour performance on Monday, June 25, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, will go on sale on Thursday, May 3. The Shoreline Amphitheatre is an outdoor performing arts venue in the San Francisco Bay area that regularly hosts classical and contemporary artists. It is a highly sought after musical venue for concerts under the stars in the California summer.

Where Does the Title “America’s Choir” Come From?

The Choir’s first major tour across country from its remote mountain hamlet of Utah—not yet a state--was to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.The Choir has been touring the nation—and the world—every since performing in every region of America and nearly every state and for many presidents.  In 1911 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed for a U.S. President William Howard Taft. Since then, the Choir has performed for an additional nine presidents, including six inaugurations of presidents. In 1963 the Choir provided the music for an event at the Tabernacle at which President John F. Kennedy spoke. Shortly after, the Choir participated in a national broadcast honoring the death of President Kennedy.

Saratoga Springs—a huge success, even at sound check!

They were pretty young to have a dream come true!  Eleven singers from four local high school choirs sang on stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the afternoon sound check at Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center July 29. They were joined on the risers with three of their school conductors.  Unanimously they beamed, “It was a chance of a lifetime!”

Choir sings at Woodstock

Duke Devlin has been at Bethel Woods since the Woodstock festival in 1969. The two share the same farmer’s fields. He was 26 when he hitchhiked with a friend from Texas to attend the three-day festival with 500,000 of his “friends.”  He planted his feet in the small farming community of New York and never left. He married, raised a family and today, at 72 with a flowing beard, he acts as the site interpreter for Bethel Woods sharing his personal experience at Woodstock. The field sits just next door to the sprawling outdoor amphitheater.

President Packer Loved Hymns

Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Friday, July 3, 2015 at the age of 90.  Known for his teaching of doctrines of the Restoration, he was also an advocate for music and the arts. For more than half a century he has encouraged appreciation for music, in particular the singing of the hymns of the Restoration. “When music is reverently presented, it can be akin to revelation,” he taught.  “At times, I think, it cannot be separated from the voice of the Lord, the quiet, still voice of the Spirit.”

Choir Hits a Grand Slam

The Choir took its final bow of the Atlantic Coast tour in Boston’s Wang Theater Tuesday night. The enthusiastic standing ovations in the program were well deserved.  Said one Bostonian, “I bought tickets at Christmas for my family. I’ve waited years to see this Choir live.”

President Jarrett Looks Back at Tour

It’s one thing to sing in the Choir.  It’s another to be the president of the massive volunteer musical organization.  Ron Jarrett has done both.  He is the first choir president since pioneer times to also have been a singing member of the choir.

Alex Boyé Discusses Race and the Church

During the Choir’s Atlantic Coast Tour in the summer of 2015, we caught up with Alex Boyé in Boston before the tour’s final show. Boyé was on tour as the Choir’s guest soloist and performed the spirituals, “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me,” and “I’m Runnin’ On.” In the final video of our 4 part series, Boyé explains how he handles questions of racism in relation to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Choir Members Get Engaged in Front of 400 Close Friends

The night was full of excitement. The stage was set for a big announcement—Choir and Orchestra members buzzed as they waited in the Little Theater of the Conference Center. What could it be? The wait for the big announcement was almost over, but first there was one other announcement to be made. It was a moment of suspense to add to the already unfolding drama.

Unlikely Rock Stars: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Imagine yourself walking down the street in New York City with the usual sights, smells, and sounds, when suddenly someone in a maroon dress walks by. No big deal because if you’ve spent any time in the City, you’ve seen pretty much everything. Suddenly another person and another and another walk by with the same dress. Now you’re also seeing men in black suits and bow ties, followed by men and women dressed in black carrying instruments. “What’s going on?” you ask.

Choir Members Play “Name That Choir” in Boston

The Choir’s Atlantic Coast Tour in the summer of 2015 made its final stop in Boston, Massachusetts. The Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed for a full house at the historic Citi Wang Theatre. The concert included highlights such as associate music director Ryan Murphy’s childhood teachers cheering him on, Alex Boyé splitting his pants while doing a split, and Jane Clayson, guest conducting the finale.

Rolling on the Floor with the Puppeteers from Sesame Workshop®

This video will make your day! During the rehearsals of last year’s Christmas concert with Santino Fontana and the Muppets® from Sesame Street®, we captured area footage of the Sesame Street® puppeteers getting to different points under the stage by using what they refer to as “rollies.” Rollies are small round cushions with wheels that help them maneuver in small spaces.

Relive the Christmas Magic with the Muppets® from Sesame Street® and Santino Fontana

Christmas may belong to December but who doesn’t love the songs and celebrations all year long! The newest CD and DVD release from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square—Keep Christmas with You—is filled with the magic and joy of the season. And its star-studded cast is one you will love to watch again:  Broadway leading man Santino Fontana, Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and their friends from Sesame Street®, over 100 dancers, the Bells on Temple Square, the Orchestra at Temple Square and of course, the Choir. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Martin Jarvis

This year’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concerts are packed with talented performers, including returning Pioneer Day concert guest Laura Osnes, four Metropolitan Opera soloists, and British actor Martin Jarvis. Jarvis will serve as the narrator for the concerts and boasts a large resume full of roles you might recognize from every facet of performing arts. Let’s take a closer look at Martin Jarvis.

“It’s Like a Big Hug from a Bunch of New Friends” —Santino Fontana

Guests of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir have described their positive experiences with the Choir by describing feelings they haven’t felt before. Beloved actress Angela Lansbury, who performed at the Christmas concerts in 2001, said: “I didn’t realize that I was going to be hit by this extraordinary spirit. I haven’t experienced this before. It’s quite unique, people doing something for the love of it." 2010 guest David Archuleta said, “Getting to be up on that stage with the Choir was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt in my life.”

Up Close with Laura Osnes

When guest artists come to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, their schedules are tight and focused. Often, the only time fans get a glimpse of the artist's personality is during the Friday morning press conference and the few moments on stage between songs.

Up Close with Martin Jarvis

When guest artists come to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, their schedules are tight and focused. Often, the only time fans get a glimpse of the artist's personality is during the Friday morning press conference and the few moments on stage between songs or narrations.

Looking Forward to 2016

Last week’s Choir Notes looked back at the mountains the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization climbed in 2015. Now to the mountains of 2016.

Lindsey Stirling Makes Forbes 30 Under 30 in Music List

Lindsey Stirling’s star continues to rise, as she was just named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in Music list: The Class of 2015. The list highlights influential artists under the age of 30 from a mix of various musical genres. In the article, Stirling is pictured holding a see-through, jewel-encrusted violin, with the caption reading, “Self-described ‘dancing violinist’ produces choreographed videos of herself playing a palatable dance-pop mix. The America’s Got Talent quarter-finalist has more than 5.8 million subscribers on YouTube; her second album, 'Shatter Me,' reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.”

Laura Osnes Discusses Family and Faith

Our 2015 Pioneer Day concert guest artist—talented Broadway leading lady Laura Osnes—sat down with us for a post-concert interview and discussed her relationship with her husband and how her Christian faith keeps her grounded.

A Tabernacle of…Gingerbread?

You may have heard of a tabernacle of clay, but chances are you’ve never heard of a tabernacle of gingerbread…until now, that is. Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Gregory Marsh spent three weeks constructing the replica, which measures 25" x 16" and stands 9 inches tall. 

Choir and Orchestra Participate in BYUtv’s Random Acts

As children we learn we must be kind to others, but as we grow into adults do we remember to continue that pattern of behavior toward others?  Do we look for ways to reach out to others who might need our help? A well-known youth leader has said recently, “It is the love of God and neighbor that gives meaning to life.”

Clay Christiansen: Living a Life of Music

How do you say goodbye to a good friend? Clay Christiansen, a Tabernacle organist for nearly 36 years, recently announced he will retire from his full-time position at the end of April 2018. On Sunday, April 1, after playing the organ during Sunday morning’s Music & the Spoken Word broadcast and the general conference session, Clay Christiansen received a standing ovation from the Choir and others in the Conference Center. Christiansen acknowledged the applause by raising his arms in gratitutde and nodding a silent “thank you,” first to the Choir and then to the audience.

Take a Tour of the Salt Lake Tabernacle Attic

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through the attic of the Salt Lake Tabernacle? Well, wonder no more because your virtual chance has arrived. In this video, you will get the rare chance to see the historic Tabernacle as you’ve never seen it before.

Were Your Ancestors in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Find Out on Our Historical Roster

Just 29 days after the first pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, a small choir was formed under the direction of Brigham Young. From this humble beginning arose what is known today as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. For over 150 years the Choir has been lifting spirits and touching hearts through the power of music. They have sung in over 4,500 broadcasts and toured the world, and they continue to reach international audiences through social media. “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).

Mack Wilberg Discusses Messiah

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has had a relationship with Messiah for many, many years. In fact, the Choir’s first recording in 1910 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle included the famous “Hallelujah” chorus. Over the years the Choir has recorded various selections from Messiah as well as the entire oratorio. In 1959, the Choir’s best-selling recording of Messiah received gold record recognition and it was later inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. On March 4, 2016, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square released a new recording of Handel’s Messiah, edited and conducted by Dr. Mack Wilberg.

Lindsey Stirling Wows in CMA Christmas Performance and New “Hallelujah” Video

In 2013 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square hosted Lindsey Stirling for the annual Pioneer Day concert, where she performed “Scotland, the Brave/Simple Gifts,” “Poor Little Lambs,” and her YouTube hit “Elements,” which has almost 70 million views. Stirling also joined the Choir and Orchestra for the finale of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

European Concert VIP Receptions: Building Friendships

Twelve days into their tour of Europe, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square gave their fifth concert in Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday, July 9, 2016, at the Jahrhunderthalle (“One Hundredth Anniversary Hall”) with yet another standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience. At each European concert the Choir has engaged audiences with its vast and varied repertoire sung entirely from memory and in different languages.

Choir and Orchestra Wrap Up 2016 European Tour

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square wrapped up their first European Tour in almost 20 years with sold out concerts and standing ovations from enthusiastic audiences. The Choir and Orchestra gave performances in Berlin, Nuremberg, and Frankfurt, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; Brussels, Belgium; and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. For 20 days, beginning June 27, the Choir and Orchestra members–all volunteers–gave up their summer vacations, left loved ones to share their music with European audiences.

Overcoming the Language Barrier Through Music

In the sixth concert of the 2016 European tour, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed on July 11, 2016 at the Bozar Centre for the Fine Arts, the principal concert venue in Brussels, Belgium. In this city where healing has been needed, the Choir and Orchestra offered expressions of love, support, and encouragement for the citizens of Belgium through the inspiring music performed.

"God Be with You Till We Meet Again" Sung in Dutch—Live from The Netherlands

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed the last concert of their 2016 European tour in Rotterdam, Netherlands, at De Doelen concert hall. The hall was originally built in 1934 but was destroyed in 1940 by the German bombardment of Rotterdam at the beginning of World War II. De Doelen was rebuilt in 1966, and additional halls were added in the 1990s.

Bishop Gérald Caussé Appointed Chairman, Tanner Gift of Music Committee

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on August 30, 2016, the appointment of Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop, as Chairman of the O. C. Tanner Gift of Music Committee.  He succeeds President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, who has served as committee chairman for 23 years since his appointment in 1993. 

The Complete King’s Singers Video Collection from the 2016 Pioneer Day Concert

Audiences were wowed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 2016 Pioneer Day concert, featuring England’s the King’s Singers. The concert included incredible highlights, such as the King’s Singers performing a moving Primary song medley, an emotional farewell tribute to retiring group member David Hurley, and amazing numbers from the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

Australian Choir Fan Shares His Story

When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square toured Europe in the summer of 2016, fans were ecstatic. It had been 18 long years since the Choir has been to Europe—The tour visited eight European cities over 20 days and included performances in Berlin, Nuremberg and Frankfurt, Germany, Vienna, Austria, Zurich, Switzerland, Brussels, Belgium, and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Choir fans came from far and wide to see them.

Hallelujah! Christmas CD and DVD Released

This Christmas the whole world can experience the uplifting 2015 Christmas concert from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with the release of Hallelujah! The DVD and CD are now available online and in stores. Digital downloads, both in audio and HD video, are also available.

The Inspirational Story Behind “I’ll Follow Him in Faith” by Janice Kapp Perry

In 2001 Janice Kapp Perry received a request from the Music Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to write a song for the first-ever Primary satellite broadcast, which would be held the following year. She was given a theme and suggested ideas of what she could include in her song. In her songwriting career, Perry has written over 1,000 songs, so we can only guess there wasn’t much doubt that she was up for the challenge.

Singers and Bloggers Shout “Hallelujah!”

Can we get a “Hallelujah?” Better yet, can we get a few thousand? We are looking for singers of all skill levels to join the world’s largest “Hallelujah” chorus, and that means you, your friends, your grandparents, or your choir. YouTube star Peter Hollens and his wife, Evynne, have teamed up with us to record videos for four individual singing parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). Submitted videos will then be used to make a grand virtual choir of epic proportions.

Next Mormon Tabernacle Choir Live Messiah in 2018!

On Thursday and Friday, March 22 and 23, 2018 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will once again present George Frideric Handel’s brilliant oratorio Messiah live in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  These performances, with world-class soloists, will be a special gift to people around the world as a prelude to Easter celebrations. The entire Messiah concert will be live streamed over the Internet on Friday, March 23, 2018, and will be available for on-demand viewing for the week following the concert on the Choir website and YouTube channel.

Forgiveness is the Focus of the Choir’s New Christmas Music Video

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s new music video depicts the parable of the prodigal son and also references the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin as told in Luke 15 of the New Testament. This modern-day retelling of the biblical story of the prodigal son depicts the love of God for all of His children and will serve as a reminder to be compassionate toward and accepting of those who seek forgiveness.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony to perform Mahler Symphony No. 8

The Mahler Symphony no. 8 will be performed at two O.C. Tanner Gift of Music concerts on Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  Maestro Thierry Fischer will conduct Utah’s two premiere musical institutions—the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—joined by 50 voices from The Madeleine Choir School and eight renowned soloists: Orla Boylan, soprano; Celena Shafer, soprano; Amy Owens, soprano; Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano; Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano; Barry Banks; tenor, Markus Werba; baritone; and Jordan Bisch; bass.

“Mozart & Mendelssohn: A Spring Concert” by the Temple Square Chorale and Orchestra at Temple Square

On Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Temple Square Chorale and Orchestra at Temple Square will present a joint spring concert entitled “Mozart & Mendelssohn.” The concert will begin with the Orchestra performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Overture in C Major, op. 101.  The Chorale and Orchestra will then present the Great Mass in C Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The concerts will be led by Ryan Murphy, associate conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and conductor of the Temple Square Chorale. 

Hear What Santino Fontana and the Puppeteers from Sesame Workshop® Thought about Performing in the Choir’s Christmas Concert

It’s not every day that a performer entertains over 21,000 people in a single concert. It can certainly be intimidating for an actor or singer to undertake such a challenging task. Santino Fontana described it by saying: “This experience is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. Not only because of the size of the Choir and the size of the Orchestra but also the space. It’s huge—21,000 seat auditorium—there’s nothing to prepare you for that.”

The Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ: Celebrating 150 Years!

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ. The then-newly constructed pipe organ made its debut in October 1867 during the first general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. In the 150 years that have followed, the Tabernacle organ has served as the iconic backdrop for meetings and events broadcast throughout the world. The image of the Tabernacle organ itself has become widely known as a symbol of the Church and of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The Choir and Orchestra: Performing the Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein

For over 40 years, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been performing the beloved songs of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist and playwright Oscar Hammerstein II. Beginning in the 1940s and 1950s the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein changed the world of music and theater. Their popular Broadway musicals began what is now considered the “golden age” of musical theater. Their music today continues to give audiences around the world encouragement, hope, and comfort.

Tony Nominated Broadway Star Is Guest Artist for Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert

The singing and acting sensation who brought George Washington to life in the Broadway hit Hamilton, will be the featured guest artist for this summer’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s Pioneer Day Concerts. Christopher Jackson joins the Choir in two gala performances in “Music for a Summer Evening” on Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center. The concerts will be conducted by Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir, and Ryan Murphy, associate music director.

Lindsey Stirling Opens Up about Her Life to Television Personality Larry King

Lindsey Stirling has recorded hit albums, won prestigious awards, written a best-selling book, earned a spot on the Forbes Top-Earning YouTube Stars list and continues to inspire through her groundbreaking music videos. In 2013, Stirling spent some time as a guest artist for the Pioneer Day concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, performing her popular song “Elements,” among others.

Four Ways to View the Pioneer Day Concert with Alex Boyé!

Late Breaking Announcement: Due to unavoidable and unanticipated scheduling conflicts with his current TV series, Christopher Jackson will not be able to appear on the 2017 Pioneer Day concerts.  Alex Boyé, singer, entertainer, and mega-million view YouTube artist, will now headline the concert.  Click here for more information.

The Bells on Temple Square: Ringing in California!

The Bells on Temple Square, part of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization, is touring again! The bell ensemble has played at various locations in Utah, and its first out-of-state performance was to Rexburg, Idaho, in 2015. This year the ensemble is traveling to Garden Grove, California, for the 2017 Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar. The group was selected to be the featured performer for the July 15 concluding concert, capping off the four-day seminar. LeAnna Willmore, conductor of the Bells on Temple Square, will direct the performance. The repertoire will explore a variety of musical genres from hymns, folk, and classical to jazz, gospel, and patriotic. The public is welcome to the performance in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Orange County on Saturday, July 15, at 6:00 p.m. For those able to attend the Southern California performance, tickets are available at the door for $15 or may be purchased online.

Celebrating the Organ and Organists: “Organ Fest X”

As musical instruments, organs have had a place in music repertoires for centuries. Mozart referred to the organ as “the king of instruments.” Beethoven, after commenting on the power of this instrument, said “I should place an organist who is master of his instrument at the very head of all virtuosi.”

New Mahler Symphony No. 8 Album Features the Choir and Utah Symphony

On November 17, 2017, a two-disc recording featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony, directed by Thierry Fischer, will be released. The album also features choristers of The Madeleine Choir School and soloists Orla Boylan, Celena Shafer, and Amy Owens (sopranos); Charlotte Hellekant and Tamara Mumford (mezzo-sopranos); Barry Banks (tenor); Markus Werba (baritone); and Jordan Bisch (bass). Pre-orders are available on Through November 16, purchases at the Utah Symphony Guild Store are $5 off.

Tribute to President Monson

President Thomas S. Monson, sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died January 2, 2018, at age 90. He had served as President since 2008, as a counselor in the First Presidency since 1985, and as an Apostle since 1963. He was no stranger to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the entire Choir organization mourns his passing.

Former Choir Guest Artists Perform Music from The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is an American musical film, released on December 20, 2017. Surprisingly, in the first week of its release, the film was actually considered a box-office bomb. An early review boldly stated, “Considering the film that triumphantly declared itself ‘the greatest show’ had an $84 million budget, this is a flop for 20th Century Fox. Condolences to Hugh Jackman and his passion project.”

Clay Christiansen’s Final Solo as Tabernacle Organist

For more than 35 years, Clay Christiansen has been a familiar face to fans of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In 1982, he was appointed as a Tabernacle organist, where he has become a familiar face to countless viewers of Music & the Spoken Word. Throughout the years he has recorded many Choir albums; performed in general conferences, Christmas concerts, and other special concerts; toured the world; and published compositions for chorus, string quartet, woodwind trio, and chamber and symphony orchestra.

Los Angeles Concert Announced for 2018 Tour!

A new concert location has been announced—The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California—for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s 2018 Classic Coast Tour this summer. The concert in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 20 completes the list of seven locations where the Choir and Orchestra will perform. The 2018 Classic Coast Tour begins on Monday, June 18, and will conclude 16 days later on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, with visits to California, Washington, and Vancouver, Canada.

What Are the Colored Dots on the Organists’ Sheet Music?

Have you ever been in the middle of watching The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square during general conference or a weekly broadcast and wondered what the colored dots on the organists’ sheet music were? You’re not alone. It turns out, this is a question that organists are asked after general conference or other Choir broadcasts, and the answer may not be as mysterious as you would think.