The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Behind the Scenes Articles

How Do You Travel with a Large Choir on Short Notice?

With only a few weeks’ notice, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had to quickly arrange for 215 singers plus staff to travel to Washington, DC to perform at the 2017 U.S. Presidential Inauguration. Moving a group of this size is not a simple task and doing it on short notice made the task even more challenging. It was more than just singing at the inauguration—the Choir needed to make sure they would have airplane seats available at the right times, food to eat, hotel rooms to sleep in, buses to move the Choir around Washington, DC, as well as security clearances for all the participants.  It was a complex task, but one that Choir administrative manager Barry Anderson accepted and quickly got to work to accomplish. Two days after receiving the invitation, through many phone calls and emails, Anderson had all the key arrangements in place.

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.

New Choir Hosts to Welcome Guests to the Broadcast

Visiting Music & the Spoken Word in person in the Tabernacle or the Conference Center? When you do, come early so that you can hear from our hosts before the broadcast begins. Some new hosts will be at the microphone and they come with special credentials. They are members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

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.

Starting the Year with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir School

The new year brings with it new beginnings, and this is particularly true for the 48 new singers who will participate in the 2016 Choir School which started this week.  The once-a-year Choir School which continues for sixteen weeks, is the last step in the application process for membership in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The process actually began six months earlier when applications to audition were accepted. A rigorous three-phase audition process followed that included a voice recording submission, a written musical skills test, and an in-person audition. Applicants who progressed through all three steps were then invited to attend the Choir School to fine tune their vocal and ensemble skills before being accepted into the Choir.

Choir School Women Take Their First Tabernacle Tour

The audition process for becoming a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir includes multiple steps, and the final step consists of being invited to participate in a 16-week Choir School. Each year, hopefuls begin the fine-tuning process of twice-a-week Choir School after submitting a voice recording, auditioning in person, and taking a musical skills test. This year, 48 new singers started Choir School after the New Year and got their first taste of what it's like to be a part of the Choir as they were taken on a tour of the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

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.

Choir Retirements and New Beginnings

When people attend Mormon Tabernacle Choir concerts or listen to Choir recordings, many notice something unique about the Choir. Martin Jarvis, noted British actor who narrated the Choir’s 2015 Christmas concert, said this to Choir members about his experience:

Choir Wardrobe: Ensuring the Choir Is Unified Visually

Many who watch the Choir each week may have noticed something new prior to the Choir’s departure for its 2016 European tour: a new addition to the women’s performance wardrobe.  Many people may not be aware of all of the work and effort that goes into clothing the Choir members for their performances.

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. 

Starting 2017 with the Choir School!

Thomas S. Monson, LDS Church president and advisor to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said, “There is no better time in all the world to make important choices than…at the beginning of a new year.”  For 34 talented singers, 2017 brought the wonderful choice and opportunity to participate in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s annual Choir School. This once-a-year training is the last step in the audition process for membership in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir whose singers serve as good will ambassadors for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Choir Members Volunteer “For the Joy of Music”

When composer-conductor John Williams conducted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during the Cultural Olympiad for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City he observed: “These are people who are there for the joy of music. It’s not a job with them; it’s a mission.”

Fred Vogler Playing the Audio Console Like an Instrument

Fred Vogler isn’t a name everyone recognizes—unless you are in the business of sound. Vogler, a multi-Grammy Award winner with a long list of credits, and his colleague Bruce Leek, also Grammy-nominated, are contract sound engineers who since 2003 have worked on the Choir’s CDs and DVDs and its much-acclaimed Christmas concert specials. They complement accomplished in-house sound engineers Trent Walker, Chris Martin, Jason Graham, and others, who work week in and week out on the technical elements of the Choir’s signature sound.

From Bar Soap to the Choir

What do bar soap, dog food, banking and the Choir have in common?  Scott Barrick, General Manager of the Choir has worked with them all.  A marketing and Public Relations professional with a Harvard MBA, Barrick has been with the Choir since 2002; this will be his seventh major tour.

Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound…When Sung by Choir Fans

Fans of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are in for a huge treat next week during the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. The Choir will have a special kiosk set up that will allow Choir fans registered for the ACDA conference to fulfill their lifelong dream of singing with the Choir. That’s right—you will have the opportunity to sing “Amazing Grace” along with a recording of the Choir while “standing in” with a backdrop of the Choir. The performance will be recorded and given to the participants who are brave enough to share their talent in front of the camera.

43 Applicants Join The Choir

January begins a new year and new life for 43 singers who take their places in the once-a-year Mormon Tabernacle Choir Training School. Choir School is the last step in the audition process for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This year’s class includes 26 men and 17 women, who will meet Thursday evenings-the first session was January 8-to fine tune their choral skills.

More than Hallelujahs: Update on Handel’s Messiah

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been singing Handel’s Messiah for years. Music scores of the composition in the Choir’s library are dog-eared from wear. Those who follow the Choir know that a singular recording of the entire oratorio is being made for distribution in 2015.

Behind-the-Scenes: Happy Medley - Santino Fontana

A behind-the-scenes look of the first and only rehearsal of the "Happy Medley", the popular song from the 2014 Pioneer Day Concert featuring Pharrell's "Happy", with Santino Fontana, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Orchestra at Temple Square. Hear Mack Wilberg and Fontana discuss the logistics of this crowd-pleasing piece.

Behind The Scenes With Janice Kapp Perry: “What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?”

“What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?” is a poem written by Gordon B. Hinckley, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When Janice Kapp Perry’s niece, Kathleen Blacker, was battling cancer, the poem brought more comfort than anything else. The poem was so special to Blacker that she requested President Hinckley’s permission to print the poem on her funeral program. Her request was granted, with well wishes from the prophet.

Behind The Scenes With Janice Kapp Perry: “Mother, Tell Me The Story”

“Mother, Tell Me the Story” is a counterpoint melody song written by Janice Kapp Perry. Counterpoint consists of two independent melodies that fit together harmonically. In other words, one person sings one melody that sounds like a song on its own, a second person sings another melody, and together they blend to make one harmonious sound.

Behind the Scenes With Janice Kapp Perry: “My Father’s Faith

Soon after the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed “My Mother’s Love” for a Mother’s Day special of Music & the Spoken Word, Janice Kapp Perry was asked to write a Father’s Day song as well. “For that song I only had my father, but I couldn’t have had a better example. It was my mother’s love and my father’s faith; that’s what I wrote about,” she said.

Why Is 60 the Age Limit for Tabernacle Choir Members?

Some people say that 60 is the new 50. If that’s the case, then why the age limit for members of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square? It can’t be possible that one simply loses the ability to sing once they hit the magic number of 60.  So why the restriction?

Take a Tour of the Logan Tabernacle [VIDEO]

Although construction on the Logan Tabernacle began in 1864, the building wasn't complete until 1891—27 years later. During that time, progress was delayed twice, once when plans were made to expand the size of the tabernacle and again when resources were shifted to building the Logan Temple.

How Is Choir Seating In The Loft Determined

Ever wondered why your favorite alto is seated on the third row one week and in a different spot a few weeks later? Or why the tenor from down the street is always in back row?  It has a lot to do with height. Since 2006, Choir members have been assigned seats according to height as often as possible. This makes it easier for them to see the conductor and creates a more uniform appearance for the cameras.

How Is Choir Seating In The Loft Determined?

Ever wondered why your favorite alto is seated on the third row one week and in a different spot a few weeks later? Or why the tenor from down the street is always in the back row? It has a lot to do with height. Since 2006, Choir members have been assigned seats according to height as often as possible. This makes it easier for them to see the conductor and creates a more uniform appearance for the cameras.

Behind the Scenes: Camera Operators Make the Broadcast Come Alive

These professionals have Choir “uniforms” but they don’t look a thing like the men and women in the loft.  They are dressed in black. You won’t see them center stage although you occasionally might see them slipping between rows on stage or moving the jib from one place to another. The camera crew for Music & the Spoken Word and other Choir broadcasts is very much a part of the success of the final product—behind the scenes. 

The Salt Lake Tabernacle And Other Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is an organization made up of civil engineers from across the Unites States. Founded in 1852, it was created to advance the profession as well as promote the history and accomplishments of civil engineering. The organization holds conferences and publishes journals, books, and magazines that cover the trends and milestones of those in civil engineering.

Listen to the inside scoop on Christmas concerts

Ask Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, how renowned guest artists like Alfie Boe, Bryn Terfel, Deborah Voigt and John Rhys-Davies agree to come as guest artists for Christmas programs.  His answer is simple, “We ask them.”

New "Behind the Scenes" Video on Teach Me to Walk in the Light Ad

Teach Me to Walk in the Light, the latest Mormon Tabernacle Choir recording, is quickly becoming a favorite. This unprecedented collection of familiar Primary hymns-with all new arrangements-includes "If the Savior Stood Beside Me," "Give, Said the Little Stream," "Love One Another," and "I Know that My Savior Loves Me."

Behind The Scenes at The Choir—A New Historian At Work

“We are a history-keeping people,” Tam Wood explains as she describes her new calling as historian of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “We like records; we keep things so we can go back to them if we need them.” She is essentially the “memory bank” for the Choir when a question comes up about who, what, when or where.