Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Tribute to An American Composer

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir expresses its sincere condolences to the family of composer, Stephen Paulus, who passed away Sunday at the age of 65. He died of medical complications, which resulted from a severe stroke that he suffered on July 4, 2013.

During Sunday’s broadcast of the Choir’s weekly radio, television and Internet program of Music and the Spoken Word, the Choir performed “Pilgrims’ Hymn,” which Paulus composed.  The music for the broadcast is determined several weeks in advance so the timing of the song’s airing was remarkable. Ryan Murphy, associate music director of the Choir who conducted “Pilgrims’ Hymn” on Sunday’s broadcast, said, “I am deeply moved to realize that the Choir performed this song by Stephen Paulus on the day he passed away.”

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The History of “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand"

“God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand” communicates a feeling of patriotism and honors the greatness of God. The hymn’s origins can be traced back to 1876, when the United States was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel C. Roberts wrote the text for the hymn to be used during a small patriotic celebration in Vermont. The lyrics ask God to continue to guide and protect us as He has done in the past.

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Six Notable Changes of the Jerold Ottley Era

Jerold Ottley started his career as an educator and planned to keep it that way. When Ottley was asked to be the assistant director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, he was hesitant because of his commitment to the University of Utah, where he and Choir director Jay Welch were music educators. Ottley worked out an arrangement with the University of Utah to split his time between the University and the Choir. He enjoyed his role with the Choir, saying, “Well, this is the best of all possible worlds, because I’ll have the opportunity to work with the Choir from time to time and be associated with its development, but I wouldn’t have the prime responsibility. I could have my cake and eat it too, as it were.”

Things would soon change. In 1974, Ottley was appointed the director of the Choir within a year of being appointed as the associate director and would continue until his retirement in 1999. He would spend the next 25 years leading the Choir. After much discussion and prayer from the Choir's advisors and leadership staff, significant changes were made that would enhance the Choir. Although many changes occurred, here are six that made a considerable difference and shaped the Choir into what we know today:

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A New Look! Choir Launches New Web Home Page

Bold. Simple. Up-to-date. The Choir’s new home page at MormonTabernacleChoir.org gives fans and friends a quick glance at what is happening, when and where as well as swift access to the latest videos, Music and the Spoken Word programs, media and more.

Two new additions at the top of the page—“Subscribe” and “Donate” —encourage those viewing the page to become part of the Choir family.  “Subscribe” is for the newsletter, Choir Notes, which you are currently viewing.  Recommend the newsletter to your friends and point out that subscribing is easy. Just click, enter your email address, and you’re subscribed.

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Introducing George Li—Piano Soloist for the Orchestra's 15th Anniversary Concert

This weekend, audiences will be treated to the 15th Anniversary Concert of the Orchestra at Temple Square. The concerts will be Friday and Saturday, October 17 and 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

The concert will begin with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in B-flat Minor, op. 23., and will feature award-winning 19-year-old piano prodigy George Li as the soloist. Li has been performing publicly since age 9 and performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall at the age of 11. In 2011 he performed for President Barack Obama in the White House Rose Garden.

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2014 Christmas Guests Are Brought to You by the Letters
F-U-N!!!

The wait is over! This year’s annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert guests have been announced, and you’re in for a major treat. Frozen’s Santino Fontana returns to join forces with the world-famous Sesame Street Muppets. The concerts will take place December 11–14. As an added bonus, the minimum age for this concert event will be lowered to ages 5 and up, rather than the usual 8 and up.

As the Choir’s guest for the 2014 Pioneer Day concert, Fontana used his princely charm to win over the 21,000 guests he entertained each night at the Conference Center. He performed a diverse set, which included songs from West Side Story and Cinderella, as well as a “Happy Medley,” featuring Pharell Williams's hit song “Happy.”

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13 Chart-Topping Hits Performed by the Choir

When you’ve been recording and performing for over 100 years, chances are you have sung some popular songs. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has always been on the cutting edge of recording technology, making their first sound recordings in 1910. The Choir has also made headway into popular culture, performing some of the most respected songs in the history of music. These songs have been recorded by the music industry's top artists over the years. Below are 13 songs performed by the Choir that earned their place in pop-culture history by rising up the Billboard music charts.

You Raise Me Up – The 2010 album, Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir  featured this #1 song that was almost left off the original album. Click here for the full story. Numerous artists including Josh Groban, and Westlife have successfully recorded it.

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3 Life Lessons from Meet the Mormons

Meet the Mormons opening weekend is finally here! There is no doubt that members of the LDS Church as well as friends of other faiths will flock to the theaters to see what the film is all about.

One of the most exciting aspects of the movie is that two close friends of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—David Archuleta and Gail “The Candy Bomber” Halvorsen—are involved with it. We send our congratulations to David, whose video for “Glorious” reached 1 million YouTube views in the first week of its release. The song is featured in Meet the Mormons and is his first major release since returning from his Church mission in Chile. Gail Halvorsen, who participated in the Choir’s 2012 Christmas concert, is also featured in the film. His unique and touching story has brought joy to countless lives and will no doubt bless many more as his story is shown in theaters throughout the U.S. 

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7 Signs That You Might be Obsessed with the Choir’s Videos

There are bad obsessions and there are good obsessions—if you constantly find yourself glued to your phone watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s YouTube channel…that would be a good obsession. To help you figure out if you’re beyond a cure, here are 7 telltale signs that you might be obsessed with our videos. See where you rank below:

Sign #1 – You found your mom’s collection of antique bells and tried to film your own rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” in hopes of going viral.

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