Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Inspiring Stories From the Choir’s Momentous 1991 European Tour

When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir toured Europe and Russia in 1991, they were met with an outpouring of the Spirit. Audiences in Frankfurt, Berlin, Zurich, Strasbourg, Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow, Prague, and Leningrad were touched by the emotional and inspirational music performed by the Choir.

Elder Russell M. Nelson, who traveled with the Choir during the tour, said, “How bold and inspired they were [the First Presidency and Choir leadership] to conceive this tour many months—even years—before Europe’s unwelcoming walls began to crumble! The Brethren had the faith to believe that the Choir could sing in cities such as Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Leningrad, and Moscow long before such dreams seemed plausible.” He also said that the tour was “part of the Lord’s plan to preach the gospel to the people of the world.”

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"Amazing Grace": Mack Wilberg’s Arrangement of the Famous Folk Hymn

We’ve all heard “Amazing Grace” sung in many forms, from the country to pop, Celtic to gospel. Artists such as Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart and Willie Nelson have recorded it and it has been used in many films and pop culture settings. The hymn is one of the most recognizable English language songs and has been recorded over 6,600 times. "It may be the most recorded song on the planet," said Jerry Bailey, executive at Broadcast Music, Inc., of Nashville.

Mack Wilberg, director the Mormon Tabernacle Choir arranged his own version of “Amazing Grace,” which starts with the men singing in unison, gradually adds vocal parts and builds to an awe-inspiring culmination of harmonies. Of the hymn itself Wilberg said, "It's a perfect marriage of text and tune…it just resonates in a way that few other hymns do." He added, "It has universal appeal.”

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Seven Video Gems from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Many Choir fans have heard the well-known favorites such as “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Come, Come Ye Saints.” These and many other Choir performances have racked up a large number of views on YouTube and have become fan favorites. However, with over 700 videos on our YouTube channel, there are many gems that are worthy of attention. Here are seven videos we think you’ll love.

1. "Hold On," from The Secret Garden

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Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s Remarks on the Choir Singing “O Divine Redeemer”

In October 2009 at a general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stepped up to the pulpit before he was about to deliver his talk and said, “To this Choir: may they accept the thanks of everyone in this audience and all who heard them sing this choral prayer, which is surely the ultimate sermon of this or any conference of this Church and the cry of every human heart.” He then turned to the Choir and said, “Thank you. Now if I can speak I’ll try to do so.”

The Choir had just sung the hymn “O Divine Redeemer” before Elder Holland’s remarks. Following his heartfelt thanks to the Choir, he then delivered a powerfully memorable sermon on the Book of Mormon, titled "Safety for the Soul."

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9/11: Rising Above—Special Edition of Music and the Spoken Word with Tom Brokaw

Ten years after the tragedies of 9/11, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and orchestra at Temple Square dedicated a special episode of their weekly broadcast, in remembrance of the occasion. Special guest, Tom Brokaw introduced the program by saying the following:

“It’s been years since 9/11 and yet we continue to tell the stories of the children, parents, families, airline passengers, and air-traffic controllers, the firemen and other first responders‑for they inspire and give us hope. But, how do we tell the story of the rest of America? Those who watched the images, and heard the accounts and were forever changed. As they went through their own experiences with loved ones and war zones and struggled with economic uncertainty at home, they never gave up. The story of America cannot be told in words and images alone. Join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in a remembrance of 9/11, of a nation rising above.”

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"Bring Him Home”—A Universal Prayer of Hope

“Bring Him Home” is a song from the popular Broadway musical a Les Misérables, which is performed by the main character, Jean Valjean. In the musical, Valjean pleads to God to preserve the life of another man. The television show 20/20 did a video interview on the writing of “Bring Him Home” in which the narrator said, “One of the most emotionally powerful moments in the show is a prayer Vajean sings offering his life to God in exchange for the younger man’s life.”

The song has become an anthem for people around the world and helps provide comfort for those in need. Many have adopted the song as a personal prayer for their loved ones who serve in the armed forces, missions, or are otherwise apart from their families. 

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"Rock-a My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham" Performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The phrase “Abraham's bosom” appears in the Bible in Luke 16:22–23 as part of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The story contrasts the beggar who was carried away to Abraham’s bosom with the rich man who ends up tormented in hell. The term "bosom of Abraham" is "used to denote the place of the righteous dead. . . . It connotes the harmony that exists among the righteous in paradise as they await the Resurrection" (Bible Dictionary, "Abraham's Bosom").

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed the African-American spiritual, "Rock-a My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham" for Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts as well as on national tours. They received rousing applause on tour when they perform their rendition of the song, for which the soloist was former Choir member, Alex Boyé. When performing the song, Boyé also included his signature James Brown–inspired dance moves while the Choir joyfully sang along. A recording of one of the tour performances can be found in a special Music and the Spoken Word broadcast titled "Bound for Glory." Click here to watch the episode. The song appears at 9:48 into the video and is arranged by Choir director, Mack Wilberg. 

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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Visits Walt Disney World

In March 1989 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir traveled across the United States to Orlando, Florida, to perform at a magical place called Walt Disney World. The Choir’s performances were recorded by the Disney Network to use in four national television broadcasts. The broadcasts were for an Easter parade, the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, a Fourth of July program, and a broadcast that was part of the Disney Christmas Parade program.

Many of Disney’s beloved characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pooh, and Snow White joined the Choir for one of their performances of “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

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