Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

The Story Behind "Softly and Tenderly (Jesus Is Calling)"

“Softly and Tenderly,” which was originally known as “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling,” is a classic invitation hymn from the 19th century.  It was written by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909) who was a composer of gospel, secular, and patriotic songs.  

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The Choirs Favorite Lists

Christmas is a time for making lists! It’s a time to organize, to review, and to make plans. List-making has become a necessity as we try to juggle all of the information we receive in our busy lives.

Here are some favorite lists about the Choir you’re sure to enjoy!

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Watch the Live Stream of Bells on Temple Square Holiday Concert November 17–18

Get ready to watch the Bells on Temple Square in the best seats in the house—your house. If you’ve never experienced a Bells concert, they are among the most popular on Temple Square.

On Friday and Saturday, November 17–18, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. mountain time, the Bells on Temple Square commence the holiday season with their annual concert, “Prelude to the Season.”

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The Lion King Celebrates 20 Years on Broadway

The Lion King officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997, and it is still running 20 years later. In fact, with more than 6,700 performances, it is currently the third-longest-running show in history.

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Veterans Day Songs to Honor All Who Served

Each year on November 11, Veterans Day is celebrated in the United States to honor military veterans. The reason Veterans Day falls on November 11 is because the hostilities of World War I officially came to an end at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The holiday was originally called Armistice Day but was renamed in 1954.

In a speech given on November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued an address to the United States of America, expressing his thoughts on the new holiday. The end of the address reads, “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”

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PBS and BYUtv Broadcast Dates Announced for Choirs Christmas Special

This year’s TV special, Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Rolando Villazón, showcases one of the world’s most sought-after tenors in a cross-cultural, Latin-themed Christmas celebration. The program was taped in 2016 over the course of three nights in front of a combined live audience of 63,000 people in Salt Lake City’s Conference Center. Villazón is the first Latin-American guest star and narrator to headline a Christmas concert by the Choir and Orchestra.

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir programs have consistently been the top-rated holiday program on PBS. This year for the first time, the TV special will be available on BYUtv soon after its premiere showing on PBS. The concerts from which these holiday specials are drawn have been a Temple Square tradition that dates back decades. Since 2000, the concerts have united a 600-person-strong cast comprised of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells on Temple Square, dancers, and actors to deliver an unforgettable program of music, pageantry, and storytelling.

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Celebrating Episode 4,600 of Music and the Spoken Word!

On Sunday, November 12, 2017, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrates broadcast number 4,600. The Choir’s weekly program, Music and the Spoken Word, is the world’s longest continuing network broadcast.

It started with a humble beginning in July 1929 with a single microphone and an announcer on a ladder. Read “History of Music and the Spoken Word for the full story. Since that summer in 1929, the Choir has gained listeners from around the globe and has toured far and wide. The program airs each week in English, Spanish and Portugues and is translated into more than 50 languages twice a year.

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“The Prayer” Is a Song of Safety and Inspiration

“The Prayer” is a popular classical crossover song by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa, and Tony Renis. It was originally released as separate solo tracks on the soundtrack for the animated film Quest for Camelot, with a solo version for Celine Dion recorded in English and one for Andrea Bocelli in Italian.

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9 Mack Wilberg Compositions for Your Listening Pleasure

In case you thought Mack Wilberg was just the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, we’ve got some news for you: in addition to his duties as director—which is a serious job in and of itself—Wilberg is a world-class composer and arranger.

In fact, Wilberg has over 200 listings on Oxford University Press, including compositions and arrangements. Former Choir director Craig Jessop said, “Mack Wilberg has emerged as one of the preeminent composers and arrangers of choral music in the United States today. His sublime arrangements and compositions are being performed by choirs and orchestras around the world to great acclaim.”

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The Little Match Girl book is now available

Originally written for the narration of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 2016 Christmas concert, David Warner’s hope-filled adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” comes to life in this new children’s book beautifully illustrated by Greg Newbold.

One of the wonderful Christmas traditions in Salt Lake City is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square annual Christmas concert. In 2016, Rolando Villazón, one of the most critically acclaimed and versatile tenors in the world, was the guest soloist and narrator for the concert. Celebrating Christmas through the eyes of a child, the concert delivered a unique and poignant cross-cultural holiday celebration by weaving much-loved, traditional Latin American holiday songs with classic carols. Culminating the program was Mr. Villazón’s beautiful narration of “The Little Match Girl.”

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