What’s New with The Tabernacle Choir

FAQ: Streaming The Tabernacle Choir Music and Programs

As audiences throughout the world increase their use of digital streaming as a primary way to access music and programming, The Tabernacle Choir is focusing on digital programing to put its music at your fingertips. In addition to our traditional radio and television broadcasts, the Choir’s music and programs are streamed each week on the Choir’s social media channels and website. 

To help our streaming audiences, here is a list of frequently asked questions submitted during the Choir streams that might be of interest: 

Saying Goodbye to the Best Job in the World

Check the credits at the end of Music & the Spoken Word and for nearly forty years you would see the name Edward Payne.  He isn’t a familiar sight on camera but behind the scenes as executive producer of the broadcast he pulls everything together. And he makes it look easy. 

He has been producing the weekly broadcast for nearly forty years. His work has taken him on tour with The Tabernacle Choir from Israel to Australia and across the United States. He has shot footage for overrolls; conceived changes for the opening and closing scenes; worked closely with music directors Jerold Ottley, Craig Jessop, and Mack Wilberg and Choir presidents Wendell Smoot, Mac Christensen, and Ron Jarrett; directed guest artists; and helped shape the technological growth of Church broadcasting from a small three-seater booth in the Tabernacle to a state of the art facility in the Conference Center.

Super Sleuths Identify Music from General Conferences

For a collective 66 years, former Tabernacle Organists John Longhurst and Clay Christiansen were at the center of the music scene on Temple Square. Now retired, the two have spent the past nine months as “super sleuths” charged with ferreting out detailed information about General Conference music from 1936 to 1970 for the Church History Library. 

The intent was for all General Conferences to be available online without restrictions of music copyrights. The music needed to be verified, if possible, with the title, composer, arranger, publisher, copyright, and public domain status. The years 1970 to the present had already been reviewed but records for the years before were spotty at best.

Has The Tabernacle Choir Sung in Every General Conference?

Music presented at the semi-annual general conference meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has usually included The Tabernacle Choir—but there have been some exceptions through the years! 

Did you realize that General Conference was canceled, just once, in 1957 due to a flu epidemic? Or that in the late 1880s General Conference was held in other Utah cities with local choirs singing? Or that during World War II the Choir only sang in some Sunday morning meetings? 

Stepping Up for Piping Up!

Luke Howard had been singing second bass with The Tabernacle Choir for 13 years when his music career took a decided twist last spring. He was asked to write program notes for Piping Up:  Tabernacle Organists in Concert, the kickoff event on June 17, 2020 for a new series of streamed organ concerts featuring the five Tabernacle and Temple Square organists. 

The kickoff event drew thousands of views on YouTube, and Howard continued on as the host for the new 30-minute program Piping Up: Organists in Concert, each of which features one of the organists and airs three times a week on the Choir’s You Tube channel, the Choir’s Facebook page, Broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website, and the Choir website home page

Lamont Anderson: Fine Tuning the Temple Square Organs

For 34 years, Lamont Anderson has scaled ladders and squeezed in between pipes—11,623 of them—to tune the famed Tabernacle organ. In addition, his responsibility as a keyboard technician extends to keeping in tune all nine of the organs on Temple Square from the historic Tabernacle instrument to the imposing organ in the Conference Center, as well as those in the Assembly Hall and the Joseph Smith building.

These organs are recognized for their towering pipes, large consoles, pedalboards, with their magnificent, at times even thunderous, sound. They are, however, instruments with thousands of organ pipes that require delicate, fine tuning.