The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Wow! Over 50 Choir Albums Added to Spotify!

It’s time to face the music—Spotify is here to stay! As of February 2020, Spotify has more than 250 million users worldwide, which is a 31% increase since 2018. They are expecting that figure to jump to 328 million users by the end of 2020.

For those who haven’t heard of Spotify, it is a digital music streaming service that gives users access to millions of songs and content from around the world. Spotify is a free service, but by upgrading to Spotify Premium users can download music, listen ad-free, play any song, and skip as many songs as they want.

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Available! Tickets for Orchestra and Chorale Concert

The Orchestra at Temple Square and Temple Square Chorale will join their musical talents for this year’s annual spring concert in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. The evening performances will be under the baton of Ryan Murphy, associate music director of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and conductor of the Temple Square Chorale.

The Orchestra will open the concert with Folk Songs of the Four Seasons by English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams, which takes the audience on an engaging journey through the year from spring to winter. The concert will continue with “Let the People Praise Thee, O God,” an anthem written by William Matthias for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Also included in the program is the Utah premiere of Life Songs, two new pieces for choir and orchestra written by Ryan Murphy, originally commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Chorus. The Choir and Orchestra concert will conclude with Gloria, one of the most celebrated works by French composer Francis Poulenc, with Melissa Heath as the featured soprano soloist. 

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Concert Celebrates a Legacy of Choral Music!

The public is invited to a free concert by The Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells on Temple Square with the Gabriel Herald Trumpet Ensemble on March 7, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. This specially prepared concert celebrates the legacy of choral music and is held in conjunction with the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Western Region Conference being held in Salt Lake City the first week in March. No tickets are required, and admission will be open to all those eight years and older. 

The program will feature music from a wide variety of genres and includes carols, two different choral “Alleluias,” and two recent Latter-day anthems—Robert Cundick’s “And What Is It We Shall Hope For,” from The Redeemer, and Mack Wilberg’s “Tree of Life.”  In addition to African-American spirituals, the Choir will present music from around the world, including the audience-favorite Nigerian “Betelehemu,” followed by two American folk hymns, “Oh, Watch the Stars,” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The program ends with the famous and much loved “Hallelujah” Chorus from Handel’s Messiah

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Organists Coming Full Circle

When he was 17, Joseph Peeples—then living in Southern California⁠—traveled with his family to Salt Lake City where an acquaintance arranged a visit with Tabernacle organist Clay Christiansen. Joseph had been serving as his Latter-day Saint ward (local congregation) organist since he was 15. At the age of 17, he also began serving as one of the organists for his stake (a church unit made up of local congregations). His Salt Lake visit was his chance to actually see and learn more about the iconic organ in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. 

Joseph remembers Clay Christiansen playing the organ and explaining the features which made the Tabernacle organ unique. Because Clay knew of Joseph’s background with organ performance, he allowed Joseph to sit at the organ to play a hymn as Clay showed him the use of the different stops and sounds or “voices” that could be utilized. 

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During Temple Square Renovations—Tabernacle Open

Renovation of the Salt Lake Temple has begun and the Conference Center is now the main visitor center for Temple Square. However, during this renovation activity on Temple Square, the Salt Lake Tabernacle—home of The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells on Temple Square, and venue for the daily organ recitals—will be open!

In April 2019, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints president, Russell M. Nelson, announced plans to close the pioneer-era Salt Lake Temple for major structural and seismic renovations at the end of 2019 for four years along with renovations on part of the surrounding buildings and grounds on Temple Square and the plaza near the Church Office Building. The renovations are expected to take four years. Plans to reopen the temple in 2024 include an open house for the public.

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2020: A “Vorfreude” Year for the Choir

The word “vorfreude” in the German language means “the joyful anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures.” The 2020 year for The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is such a year!

The 2020 year will offer some unique and special performances in addition to regularly scheduled events which happen each year including the weekly Music & the Spoken Word programs, annual Christmas concert, and conferences and devotionals of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Choir plans a major international tour to the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom, the release of two new recordings, and a special concert for the American Choral Directors Association.

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2019 Year in Review

When it comes to performances by The Tabernacle Choir organization, the year’s major performances at Christmas and at General Conference probably come to mind first. Those highly viewed appearances are just the tip of the iceberg! Let’s take a moment to look below the surface to review the Choir organization activities during 2019.

52 Broadcasts: The Music & the Spoken Word live broadcast performed each Sunday morning is the longest continuously broadcast network program in history. During 2019 each broadcast has celebrated this beloved 30-minute program’s 90 years of continuous weekly broadcasts.

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