Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Performed at a Prison in the 1870s

In 1847, Mormon Pioneers moved to the Salt Lake Valley under the direction of Brigham Young, who was the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after the arrival, a small choir was formed and sang at the first conference of the Church on August 22, 1847, which was only 29 days after the arrival of the first pioneers. This choir became the foundation of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Over 170 years later, the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir has toured around the globe. But, before the Choir ever set foot out of the state of Utah, they performed at several locations around the state. One of its most unusual performances was a trip to the Utah Penitentiary in the 1870’s.

View Full Story

Oscar Hammerstein II’s Grandson Teams Up with Choir for RootsTech, Music and the Spoken Word

Without the Hammerstein family, Broadway just wouldn’t be Broadway as we know it. In 1864, Oscar Hammerstein I emigrated to America from Germany via Liverpool, England. After a three-month journey to the United States, Hammerstein arrived broke, with dreams of making it in the opera business.

He started working in a factory for $2 a week and eventually worked his way up the factory organization to become the creator and owner of 80 patents, many of which were machines that helped make the factory’s production process easier. With the money he made in the business, along with revenue from his many inventions, Hammerstein built theaters, including the Harlem Opera House, the Columbus Theatre, the Manhattan Opera House, and the Olympia Theatre. Sadly, his theater ventures were all financial failures and Hammerstein was once again broke.

View Full Story

The Inspiration Behind “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”

Clara McMaster is the composer to many beloved children’s songs from the LDS Children’s Songbook, including “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” “Choose the Right Way,” “Reverently, Quietly,” and “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”

McMaster was born in Beaver Dam, Utah, in 1904 and was the youngest of eleven children. She grew up in a very musical household and became a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 23 years. She was also on the Primary General Board for 14 years and served with her husband, J. Stuart McMaster, when he served as a mission president of the Kansas-Missouri Mission in 1970.

View Full Story

How Do You Travel with a Large Choir on Short Notice?

With only a few weeks’ notice, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had to quickly arrange for 215 singers plus staff to travel to Washington, DC to perform at the 2017 U.S. Presidential Inauguration. Moving a group of this size is not a simple task and doing it on short notice made the task even more challenging. It was more than just singing at the inauguration—the Choir needed to make sure they would have airplane seats available at the right times, food to eat, hotel rooms to sleep in, buses to move the Choir around Washington, DC, as well as security clearances for all the participants.  It was a complex task, but one that Choir administrative manager Barry Anderson accepted and quickly got to work to accomplish. Two days after receiving the invitation, through many phone calls and emails, Anderson had all the key arrangements in place.

Because the performance took place outside the U.S. Capitol building in cold weather conditions, it was important to make sure the singers were comfortable. During the Opening Ceremony for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the Choir performed at an outdoor venue in coats provided by the Olympic Committee.  After the Olympics, the attire was gifted to the Choir and stored for future use. The warm, cream-colored Olympic coats with matching turtlenecks were taken out of storage to be used again for this special occasion. The red-plaid scarves made by the ladies’ wardrobe committee accented the coats for this internationally broadcast event.

View Full Story

Listening to the Spirit Led to the Creation of the Song “Consider the Lilies”

The fifth and sixth chapters of Matthew in the New Testament are among the most quoted scriptures in history. They contain the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Lord’s Prayer, which are key moral teachings from early on in the Savior’s ministry. They also include the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament.

Shortly after the Lord’s Prayer, the Savior continues and preaches about forgiveness, fasting, heavenly and earthly treasures, light and darkness, and good and evil. In the 28th verse of chapter 6, Christ says:

View Full Story

Fog, Cancelled Flights, and No Sleep: How the Choir Almost Missed Lyndon B. Johnson’s Inauguration

Wake Up Call

It was 3 a.m. on a foggy morning Tuesday, January 19, 1965 in Utah, the day before the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s first-ever performance at a presidential swearing-in ceremony. Choir members were awakened by Choir secretaries alerting them that they might leave for Washington D.C. via Hill Air Force Base instead of the Salt Lake Airport. All Choir members were originally supposed to meet at 5:45 a.m., which was then delayed until later in the morning, due to changing weather conditions.

View Full Story

Starting 2017 with the Choir School!

Thomas S. Monson, LDS Church president and advisor to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said, “There is no better time in all the world to make important choices than…at the beginning of a new year.”  For 34 talented singers, 2017 brought the wonderful choice and opportunity to participate in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s annual Choir School. This once-a-year training is the last step in the audition process for membership in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir whose singers serve as good will ambassadors for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The process for these singers to become Choir members began nearly six months ago when applications to audition became available. A rigorous three-phase audition process followed that included submitting a voice recording, a written musical skills assessment, and an in-person audition. These 34 applicants made it through all three steps and were invited to participate in the Choir School to fine tune their vocal and ensemble skills as the final step to becoming a member of the Choir.

View Full Story

Check Out Our Updated Calendar Pages!

President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life.” To keep up with change, most of us rely on a good calendar. Over the past year, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been working to simplify and improve communication on its website calendar. The goal was to help patrons and visitors be better informed about Choir organization concerts, rehearsals, live performances of Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts, daily Temple Square organ recitals, radio and TV specials, and other events.

Just in the time for the new year, the new calendar pages are here!  You can find the new calendar as the first item on the “Events and Tickets” drop-down menu on www.mormontabernaclechoir.org. Included on the calendar page are scheduled events for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells on Temple Square, and the daily organ recitals given on Temple Square.

View Full Story