Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and BYU Broadcasting Win Emmys at the 2014 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards

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.

“We are thrilled by this prestigious honor,” declared Ron Jarrett, President of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, “It is just another example of how the power of music can inspire and unite people of all ages. We certainly saw that with this remarkable concert.”

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Five Brilliant Arrangements by Ryan Murphy

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s associate director, Ryan Murphy, has arranged many of the songs that have been performed by the Choir throughout recent years. His arrangements cover a variety of styles from children’s music to Broadway to sacred hymns. 

Below are five videos of some of the impressive arrangements Ryan Murphy has created.

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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Likes Basketball

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. With the NBA season tipping off tonight, we thought we’d take a moment to share some of the Choir’s basketball history.

For the opening of the 2001–2002 season, the Choir performed a pre-game 9/11 tribute ceremony at the Delta Center (later renamed Energy Solutions Arena). The ceremony started with the familiar voice of Lloyd Newell sharing a message about liberty, peace, and hope followed by the Choir's performances of “God Bless America” and the “The Star Spangled Banner,” led by former Choir director, Craig Jessop. The ceremony concluded with a red, white, and blue balloon drop while the announcers said, “The entire 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir—wow, you talk about emotion…the coaches were moved; the players were moved.”

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Choir Releases Let the Season In from 2013 Christmas Concert

The Christmas magic that filled the Conference Center last Christmas can now fill your home and your heart with the release of Let the Season In. Available in both CD and DVD formats, the new products feature the Choir and the Orchestra at their holiday best with two special guest stars: world-renowned vocalist Deborah Voigt and charming actor John Rhys-Davies.

No Christmas collection should be without these live performances. The full concert, available on the DVD, features the story of the creation of Charles Dickens’s beloved tale A Christmas Carol and includes such musical classics as “The Holly and the Ivy” and “Coventry Carol” as well as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Voigt’s tongue-in-cheek “Twelve Days After Christmas.” Richard Elliott’s organ solo, always a showstopper in the concert, was the familiar “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” with a signature twist.

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Santino Fontana Returns as 2014 Christmas Guest Artist

Santino is back! If you happened to miss his performance in the 2014 Pioneer Day concert make sure to watch the video below. Watch this clip of Fontana as he pulls his phone out mid-concert and takes a selfie in the Conference Center.

During the concert, Fontana, the Choir and the Orchestra performed a variety of songs including “Ten Minutes Ago” from Cinderella, “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story,She Likes Basketball,” from Promises, Promises, and a “Happy” medley featuring the international hit song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. The medley, arranged by Sam Cardon and Bob Stillman, begins at 1:01:09 in the video below.

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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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