Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Broadway Stars Join Choir for Pioneer Day Concert.

Three amazing guests—Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III—will join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for their “Music for a Summer Evening” concert held annually in conjunction with community-wide Pioneer Day celebrations. This special Broadway-themed concert will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center and will be conducted by Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir, and Ryan Murphy, associate music director. 

Guest Artists

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Were Nails Used to Build the Salt Lake Tabernacle?

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is a historic civil engineering landmark and home to the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was completed in 1867 to house meetings for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as the location for the Church’s general conferences for 132 years.

The Tabernacle was designed by Henry Grow, under the direction of Brigham Young, who was President of the Church at the time. Tradition suggests that Young made the first model of the Tabernacle using a boiled egg and toothpicks to show the rounded roof. See Deseret News article »

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The Choir Performs “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for the NAACP

On May 20, 2018, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. Members of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP and the NAACP Foundation were in Salt Lake City for their board meetings, which were held in Salt Lake City for the first time. They also met with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and made a joint statement to the media calling for “greater civility and racial harmony.”

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Four Emmy® Award Statuettes Now Grace Choir Display!

Four beautiful Emmy® Awards now sit in the display case in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir office. Since 1987, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been recognized on four different occasions for its television programming by the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences—a membership organization dedicated to honoring excellence in television.

However, something was missing. There was no statuette for the Choir’s first Emmy, long thought to have been awarded for a concert with famed artist Shirley Verrett. Thanks to some investigative work by staff and volunteers in the Choir office, the correct information has come to light. In the files of Margaret Smoot, the producer of the original program awarded the first Emmy, was found the documentation that enabled the Choir to receive a copy of the original statuette.

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The History of the Latter-day Saint Hymn “O My Father”

The hymn “O My Father” was written by Eliza R. Snow and was originally titled “My Father in Heaven.” Snow wrote it as a poem in Nauvoo, Illinois, before she and the other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were forced to flee the city due to persecution.

The poem was first published in the Nauvoo newspaper Times and Seasons in 1845 and was initially sung to many different tunes, including the tune AUSTRIA, which is the tune currently used for “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” (no. 46 in the current hymnbook). In the end, music composed by James McGranahan, who was not a member of the Church, was chosen as the best fit for the hymn.

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24 Singers Retire from Choir after 288 Years of Service

On April 22, 2018, the Choir held a retirement ceremony to say goodbye to 24 devoted members who together represented 288 years of volunteer service in the Choir. Singers in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may serve for a total of 20 years or until their 60th birthday—whichever comes first.

At this retirement ceremony, held each April following a broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word, retiring Choir members are recognized and their families are recognized for their support and sacrifice. The meeting is conducted by the Choir’s president, Ron Jarrett, and short tributes to each retiree are given by Choir music director Mack Wilberg. This year, President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also honored retirees with brief remarks.

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Watch Organist Brian Mathias Perform His First Organ Solo

On January 22, 2018, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir announced that Brian Mathias would be the new Tabernacle organist taking over for Clay Christiansen following his retirement. Before joining as a Tabernacle organist, Mathias was an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

Upon joining the Choir organization Mathias marveled, “I have been an avid fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir since I was a teenager, and it is a dream come true for me to have the opportunity to be a part of what they do. The conductors and organists are musicians of the highest caliber, and I am thrilled to work alongside them.”

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15 Videos to Honor the Best Moms in the World!

Let’s face it—life just wouldn’t be possible without mothers. Their amazing strength, selflessness, and determination give them the much-deserved title “the backbone of society.” They take on multiple roles and don’t always receive the praise and appreciation they deserve, yet they continue to raise generation after generation of successful children.

In a spoken word segment from last year’s Mother’s Day special, Lloyd Newell remarked, “Mothers, by their very nature, are always thinking of others. Years of sacrificing and serving, of loving and giving, have taught them that their joy is increased as they bring joy to others.”

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Bells on Temple Square Spring Concert: “Bells Are Ringing!”

The Bells on Temple Square celebrate spring with their annual concert entitled “Bells Are Ringing!” The performance will take place Friday, June 8, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square.

Everyone who watches this delightful handbell ensemble perform will tell you that the artful bell ringing often looks like the performers are dancing with their bells. “With the bells, it’s not just about playing the notes,” said Teresa Winder, one of the charter members of the Bells on Temple Square. “It’s a visual art!”

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