How to Audition for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Many people dream of singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but think it is out of their reach. The truth is, singing with the Choir is within reach for many people who might think it’s impossible. There are a few benchmarks that need to be met, but still, the Choir may not be as far out of reach as one might think.
• Be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing.
• Be between 25 and 55 years of age on or before April 30, 2019.
• Currently reside within 100 miles of the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Don’t Let Your Fears Hold You Back
When composer Janice Kapp Perry’s husband suggested that she try out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, she thought, “I can’t do that with this average voice.” Perry eventually joined the Choir despite having to be dragged into the in-person audition. She recalled, “My fears almost kept me from five and a half years of the most glorious musical experience on this earth.” When former music director Craig Jessop suggested that Alex Boyé join the Choir, he did not feel up the task. “He stopped me and said, ‘I want you to be in the choir.’ I said, ‘What choir?’ He said, ‘The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’” recounted Boyé.
Many Choir members may have a story of why they felt like he or she felt unready to audition. Upon her retirement, former Choir member Joanne Voorhees said, “The most important [nonmusical] things to prepare for being in the Choir are your heart and attitude.” Persons auditioning for the Choir need to ask themselves if this is the right time in their lives for this commitment and understand what the number of hours participating in the Choir will mean for them.
If you feel like it is the calling for you, scroll down to see the phases you will need to go through in order to make your dream a reality.
Watch an excerpt from the film Singing with Angels about Choir auditions. Although this is a dramatization, it gives some idea of what the audition phases are like.
Audition Phase I
The first step is submitting a completed application, a voice recording, and a local Church leader’s recommendation.
The application and an application guide are posted online each year on July 1. Applications must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, August 15.
Audition Phase II
The next phase includes a musical skills assessment that measures musical ability and aptitude. The assessment usually occurs in September. Applicants with acceptable test scores (usually 80% or better) advance to the next phase.
Audition Phase III
The final phase is the in-person audition with the Choir music directors, which includes solo singing, testing vocal range, and sight reading. There is also an interview with the Choir president to be sure the candidate understands the demands of Choir membership. In-person auditions are usually in October.
Results of the in-person audition are sent by letter, which usually arrives in the fall. When Choir hopefuls have passed the audition, they become members of the Temple Square Chorale and then take part in a 16-week training course referred to as Choir School.
Audition Phase IV (Choir School)
Every Thursday night for 16 weeks, the Choir School instructors train participants in sight-reading, music theory, rehearsal techniques, vocal blending, listening skills, Choir policies, and more. The Choir School prepares candidates for a rigorous schedule of Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts, special concerts, LDS general conference, and other Church and community events. Near the end of Choir School, the singers take a final exam. For more information, check out a previous blog post, “What Exactly Is Choir School?”
Every Tuesday during those same 16 weeks, the Temple Square Chorale meets for rehearsals to prepare for a major concert held each spring in conjunction with the Orchestra at Temple Square. Following successful completion of the concert and passing the Choir School final exam, participants will at last become members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Watch the Choir perform “Amazing Grace” on the banks of the Mississippi River:
Joining the Choir definitely has plenty of amazing opportunities. Here is a video of the Choir finding out that they were to be surprise performers at a special Fourth of July concert at West Point, while on tour in 2015:
Watch the Choir perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Yankee Stadium: