As each new year begins, future members of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square continue a journey that actually began six months before in the warmth of summer when they submitted an application to join the Choir.
Have you ever pictured yourself in the loft of the Conference Center during a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert?
For the Pioneer Day concert in 2014, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed alongside Santino Fontana, who starred as Prince Hans in Disney’s blockbuster movie Frozen. The concert was titled "A Summer Celebration of Song," and that it was. The Choir began the night by performing songs to honor Mormon Pioneers, such as “They the Builders of the Nation” and “Faith in Every Footstep,” before seamlessly transitioning into three West Side Story favorites. For “Something’s Coming,” Fontana made his entrance from stage right for the first of three appearances with the Choir and Orchestra in a year, including the Christmas concerts and the concert for the American Choral Directors Association.
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.
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.
Longtime friend and former Music & the Spoken Word announcer J. Spencer Kinard has retired after 32 years of service with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization. Kinard has served as a Sunday morning host since the concept of having a host address the audience was inaugurated in the fall of 2002. Kinard, Duane Cardall, Mark Eubank, and Kent Norton were the initial four hosts and Ruth Todd has also served as a host. With Kinard’s departure to serve an LDS mission with his wife in Washington, DC, an interesting new hosting arrangement will be made to fill his shoes. Watch for a future blog with this announcement.
Undoubtedly, there is no broadcast that has touched the lives of so many for so long as has the weekly program Music & the Spoken Word. The December 13 program will be the 4,500th broadcast. What a run! And the program is still continuing its run of uninterrupted broadcasting, adding listeners and viewers in scores of countries around the world! It’s the longest continuous running weekly broadcast anywhere—and rightly so. Where else can you hear such glorious music coupled with a brief, compelling message of inspiration?
Last week’s Choir Notes looked back at the mountains the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization climbed in 2015. Now to the mountains of 2016.
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.
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.”
“Music is the universal language of mankind,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote. The truth of his statement was evident during and after the Sunday, March 20, 2016 broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word.
Craig Jessop has a long history with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, beginning with his days as a Choir member from 1973 to 1977. He then returned as associate music director from 1995 to 1999, when he became the music director—a position he maintained until 2008.
Have you ever pictured yourself in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Have you said to yourself, “Someday I’ll have the courage to try out” or “In a few more years I’ll have less going on in my life?” Now is the perfect time to audition—the Choir is reaching younger audiences across the globe in new and exciting ways.
A special guest from South Africa joined her voice with Mormon Tabernacle Choir members in their Thursday rehearsal before the October general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Roma Thompson, a producer for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), practiced with the Choir many of the songs performed on Sunday’s Music & the Spoken Word broadcast.
At the request of the U. S. Presidential Inauguration Committee, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has accepted an invitation to sing at the swearing-in ceremony during the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol next month in Washington, D.C.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed at the first of two inaugurations this month. On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, the Choir performed three songs for the inauguration of Utah’s 17th governor, Gary Herbert. The songs performed were “Climb Every Mountain,” “They, the Builders of the Nation” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Choir Notes, the weekly newsletter of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization, has a whole new look! With the rollout of this new format, the Choir is continuing to meet the challenge given by Gordon B. Hinckley, past President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and adviser to the Choir organization for 36 years, to “try a little harder to be a little better.” The changes are designed to make the newsletter easier to read on all digital devices, more visually appealing and to provide a variety of information to subscribers.
Although the Mormon Tabernacle Choir name is well known, many may not know “by the numbers” what the Choir organization has accomplished. For those who love details, here are the facts:
On July 16, 2017, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began the 89th year of the weekly Music & the Spoken Word broadcast—the longest continuously running network broadcast in the history of radio.
With the Sunday, December 31 New Year’s Eve broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will finish a busy, productive year.
On January 14, 2018, Russell M. Nelson was set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1984 and as President of that quorum since 2015.
It takes a ton of time and hard work to keep the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square going—not to mention an army of volunteers.
In winter of 2002, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was booked solid for the entire run of the 19th Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Choir performed a total of 23 times during the three-week run of the 2002 games.
100,000 Twitter followers! That’s amazing! Thank you to everyone for following, liking, retweeting, and commenting.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Latin is a dead language,” but you didn’t really understand why? The reason for this is because it is no longer used as the primary language of a particular community. While Latin may not be the native tongue of any particular community, it is spoken by numerous people around the globe and is gaining in popularity. A WGBH Radio news article states, “Believe it or not, there's a whole living Latin movement—people who are trying to get Latin to be used as a spoken language, not just treating it as a dead language that's on a page, that you might read in a Latin class, but actually a language you can speak conversationally.”
“Happiness is a state of activity,” remarked the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. For members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization, Aristotle’s statement might well read, “Happiness is a state of musical activity.”
On May 16, 2017, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir held its first-ever Facebook Live event from the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. The live event was to discuss the new album Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends. The live format was an alternative to Mormon Tabernacle Choir Premieres, which is normally recorded in a studio setting.
1. Did the musician Sting ever sing with the Choir?
On January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States of America. During the inaugural parade, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang a spirited rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” while President Reagan, First Lady Nancy Reagan, and their family watched from the stands of the presidential review box.
In the spring of 2016 the first feature-length movie ever to feature the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be released in theaters. The movie, Singing With Angels, is produced by Candlelight Media and is inspired by true events. The film follows the journey of a woman who dreams of joining the 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir and draws strength from it through life's challenges.
Sylvia McNair reprises her February ACDA convention performance this Sunday on Music & the Spoken Word
Many guest artists join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on stage for concerts and broadcasts, and they love to return a second time. Sylvia McNair is no exception. She performed with the Choir at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) convention last February and is back for a broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word on Sunday, October 11.
Latter-day Saints travel from all over the world to attend the semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been providing music for the conferences since 1867. The Choir will sing at the Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon sessions of the October 2015 General Conference. Music selections are drawn from the hymns of the Church and other music rich with traditional meaning for Church members. A special selection is often chosen to appeal to the children of the Church. You can find veiwing information at www.lds.org.
The Choir is going home to the Tabernacle Thursday, September 3, for its regular rehearsal and for regular broadcasts of Music & the Spoken Word beginning Sunday, September 6.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a well-oiled machine. With the Choir’s busy schedule, including weekly broadcasts, annual concerts, biennial tours, and CD recordings, Music Director Mack Wilberg calls it “a speeding train that does not stop to let its passengers off.” The Choir’s biweekly rehearsals are planned to the minute—new songs are often added to the already enormous repertoire, leaving little time to stop and celebrate achievements.
Zak Breese, 26, had never seen the Mormon Tabernacle Choir live. Until Bethel Woods. “Awesome! Exciting!” were his words. He attended both the sound check in the afternoon and the concert in the evening and loved them both. He particularly enjoyed Mack Wilberg, Choir director, giving instructions to the singers.
Have you ever dreamed of singing with the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir? This is your big opportunity to fulfill your dreams. We are holding a 24-hour Instagram contest Monday June 29, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. through Tuesday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m. We will notify the winners when the contest ends. There will be a total of 5 winners.
Applications to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir open July 1 and close August 15. The Choir leadership will be auditioning for all positions.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has sung its traditional “God Be With You” to Elder L. Tom Perry, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 6, 1976, for the last time. He died May 30, 2015 at his home with his wife Barbara and family members at his side. He was 92. For additional information http://www.mormonnewsroom.org
You may recall the Brady Bunch episode called “Dough Re Mi” in which Peter Brady’s voice begins to crack while rehearsing a new song with his siblings. In the episode, Peter’s brother Greg decides to alleviate the situation by writing a new song called “Time to Change,” which was designed to mask the voice cracking—hence the word change.
In a previous article we profiled the amazing story of how composer Janice Kapp Perry’s songwriting career came to be. She has written over 1,000 songs, including 10 that are published in the Children’s Songbook. What makes this even more astonishing is the fact that she started her songwriting at age 38.
Before the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concerts for those attending the American Choral Director’s Association Conference (ACDA) even began, the Choir was in the spotlight. ACDA’s executive director, Tim Sharp, announced that the Choir had been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. The induction honors the Choir for over 140 years of dedication to the choral arts and for its significant presence in the world of classical music.
Everyone loves a good mystery, right? The joy of collecting evidence and gathering tidbits of information is akin to working on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When you place the final piece you can finally rest—until you start the next puzzle. Here are some fun mysteries related to the Choir and its music.
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.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir launched its official blog in January 2014. It is now loaded with unique content including Choir videos, hymn histories, behind-the-scenes video, interviews, announcements, Choir history and more.
We all know that music makes us feel good, but this is beyond feeling good—researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenberg have conducted a study that shows a link between choral singing and increased or decreased pulse rate.
Great news! BYU Broadcasting won several Emmys® recently at the 2014 Rocky Mountain Emmys®, including an Emmy® for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Presents an Evening with James Taylor. The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced Emmy winners on Saturday, October 18.
Basketball…and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Wait, what? Many people might not realize it, but the Choir has a history with the NBA that dates back to when they first performed the national anthem at a Utah Jazz game in 2001. Let's take a moment to look at some of the Choir’s basketball history.
Most Mormon Tabernacle Choir fans are familiar with David Archuleta, guest artist from the Choir's 2010 Christmas concerts. He performed to capacity crowds of over 21,000 people a night. The video of the concert is enormously popular on YouTube where it has amassed over 750,000 views. Now David is making news again thanks in part to a song he performed for the new Meet The Mormons film.
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.
Around 1935 it was decided that the Choir needed to invest in mechanisms that would improve the Choir’s sound quality for recordings and broadcasts.
In 2004, Collin Allan traveled to the Netherlands with his granddaughter, Arianne, and grandson, Jim, to commemorate the anniversary of Dutch liberation. Allan shared a story from the trip with Liahona Magazine. An excerpt is below:
Have you ever wondered what type of music missionaries are allowed to listen to? Have you ever wanted to send a missionary music but weren’t sure if the music fit within the guidelines for missionaries of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Missionaries are counseled to listen to music that "invites the spirit" and "directs" their thoughts to missionary work and the Savior.
It is an enviable record! Four thousand, four hundred twenty-six (4,426) completed broadcasts. Count them.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is pleased to announce its collaboration with Candlelight Media Group on a new feature length motion picture currently titled “Singing with Angels.” This inspirational movie will be produced by Silver Peak Productions this fall, and distributed by Candlelight Media Group.
The Century of Progress Exposition was a World’s Fair held in Chicago between 1933 and 1934. As part of the event, Ford Motor Company constructed its own exhibit that featured, among other things, a museum and concert hall. Subsequently, Ford would bring in musical acts, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A history of the Choir’s involvement in Chicago is documented in A Century of Singing, a book by J. Spencer Cornwall. An excerpt is below:
A February 2007 article in the Ensignmagazine reported that the Choir was honored with the Mother Teresa Award. Read the section below:
In 1985, Ronald D. John was employed as manager of Temple Square operations. Among other responsibilities, John was in charge of preparing and maintaining Temple Square buildings, such as the Tabernacle, for events.
Want the best seat in the house for Mormon Tabernacle Choir concerts, broadcasts and tours? Looking for an opportunity to express yourself in song? Join the Choir!
Famed composer Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos announced his retirement due to his recent cancer diagnosis. Frühbeck, 80, released a statement saying, “After meeting with my doctors I have come to the following conclusion: I have to recognize publicly that I have cancer and that in this state of health and with deep sorrow I am not able to conduct at my standards and the moment to quit professional matters has come."
Members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir must retire at age 60 or after 20 years of service, whichever comes first. This policy was set in place in 1974 by former music director Jerold Ottley. Before 1974, there was no clear policy on retirement from the Choir.
Former American Idol contestant David Archuleta posted a new video blog on his YouTube channel, where he discussed writing new music and taking his time to get it right. “The mission helped me not be so self-conscious,” said Archuleta as he discussed his two-year religious mission to Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also mentioned going to Los Angeles and said it freaked him out: “After two years of not thinking about yourself and just helping other people and all of that, to coming back to the entertainment world, where it’s all about you and how important you are, and letting everybody know that, and how great you are and everybody look at you—it was weird.”
The C-SPAN fleet of Local Content Vehicles recently visited Temple Square and interviewed Choir President Ron Jarrett and Tabernacle Organist Rick Elliott. The two discussed the history of the Choir and provided fascinating insight about the Tabernacle and organ.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir gets its name from the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Salt Lake Tabernacle, which was completed in 1867 and later designated as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, is one of several tabernacles constructed by early Utah settlers. Tabernacles were also built in St. George, Logan, Bear Lake, Brigham City, Provo, and Ogden, among other places. The buildings typically functioned as venues for religious and civic events.
In 1861 leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called over 300 families to move to southern Utah and establish the area that would soon be known as St. George.
Who helped you tie your shoes or learn a new piece on the piano? When you forgot your science project was due the next day, who made a late-night run for poster board and glue? It was Mom.
In a historic, global event, guests and cast members at Disney Parks around the world will unite in song on April 10, 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “It's a Small World."
2002 was a busy year for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In addition to their weekly Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts, Christmas concerts, and general conference appearances, they also performed numerous times during the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
When John Williams, one of America’s greatest film composers of all time, conceived the idea of using a nineteenth-century Olympic motto for the words of the 2002 XIX Winter Games tribute, he imagined a celebratory feeling. Who better to sing the three Latin words that constituted the lyrics – Citius, Altius, Fortius – than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? The Choir’s performance in the opening ceremonies touched hearts around the world, an estimated audience of 3.5 billion, as they sang with great spirit Williams’s composition “The Call of the Champions.”
The organs on Temple Square, including the organs inside the Tabernacle and the Conference Center, are among the largest organs in the world. Here's a look at other large instruments from across the globe:
As its website states, “The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA is an independent federal agency that funds and promotes artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.” Created by the United States Congress in the late 1960s, the agency awards grants, encourages partnerships, and recognizes outstanding achievements in art. The organization, which “is the largest annual national funder of the arts in the United States,” is led by a chairman who must be appointed by the President and then confirmed by Congress.
Ryan Murphy is the associate music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a position he has held since 2009. In this role, he is responsible to assist Mack Wilberg, music director, with the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in rehearsals, concerts, tours, and the weekly broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word. He also serves as the conductor of the Temple Square Chorale, the preparatory ensemble for new singers in Choir service.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Reached #13 On Billboard’s Top 40 With Its Recording Of The Battle Hymn Of The Republic
Julia Ward Howe wrote the patriotic lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” during the Civil War when she was visiting Union troops near Washington, D.C. Mrs. Howe wrote the lyrics to the tune of another song, “John Brown’s Body,” which was also a popular song in the American Civil War era.
Choir President Ron Jarrett has a full year of service behind him administering one of the largest choirs in the world. Once a member of the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir, President Jarrett now oversees the whole operation of the Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, the Bells on Temple Square and the Temple Square Chorale.
Over ten thousand Americans lost their lives at the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, given on the battlefield at the dedication of the cemetery for Union soldiers and barely 3 minutes long, has become one of the most famous and inspiring messages of all time. “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” Lincoln said, “but it can never forget what they did here.”
Salt Lake City — On Sunday, August 11, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will commemorate the 85th anniversary of its Music & the Spoken Wordbroadcast. Music director Mack Wilberg has invited two former conductors of the Choir, Jerold Ottley and Craig Jessop, to join him and associate conductor Ryan Murphy in conducting this week’s broadcast.
SALT LAKE CITY —The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will make a special stop on its Upper Midwest Tour on 19 June to honor the Mormon pioneer loggers whose remarkable labor built Nauvoo, Illinois, a city central to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A commemorative historical marker paid for and donated by the members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be erected at the Trail of Honor Park in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, near the mills where Latter-day Saints harvested over one and a half a million board feet of lumber and then floated it down the Black River to Nauvoo 400 miles away. In recognition of the pioneers’ hard work and ingenuity, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform specially prepared musical numbers for members of the community.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Announces James Taylor, Lindsey Stirling and Nathan Pacheco for Summer Concerts
Salt Lake City — Music lovers have much to anticipate this summer, as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir partners with three very diverse artists for two remarkable concerts. Up-and-coming Latter-day Saint artists Lindsey Stirling and Nathan Pacheco will be the featured performers with the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square at this year’s Pioneer Day concert on Friday and Saturday, 19 and 20 July, at 8:00 p.m. in the Conference Center. On the other end of the summer concert season, on Friday and Saturday, 6 and 7 September, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist James Taylor will perform with the Choir and the Utah Symphony at the Conference Center for the 30th anniversary of the Tanner Gift of Music concert series.