Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Guest Conductors
"Take a Bow"

Not many people get to conduct the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle and its companion ensemble, the Orchestra at Temple Square. At each of the seven concerts on the recent Classic Coast tour, Mack Wilberg handed off the baton to a community leader, giving each of them an opportunity to conduct the encore, “This Land Is Your Land.”

As Wilberg waved each guest conductor up to the podium, he smiled and said—a bit understated—“Have fun.” They did. One guest conductor even turned and invited the whole audience to join in the chorus, while another commented, “It was an honor just to be asked.” They described this once-in-a-lifetime event as one of life’s greatest moments—joyful, unforgettable, full of love, simply unreal. After the concert, the Choir frames the baton used by each conductor and presents it as a keepsake of the performance.

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Songs from South Pacific: Featuring Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly

The 2018 Pioneer Day concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square focused on a Broadway theme, with narration provided by Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III, the grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II. Delivering the songs were two of Broadway’s hottest stars, Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly. In addition to songs from The King and I, The Sound of Music, Carousel, and Oklahoma, the concert also included music from South Pacific

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Watch the Entire 2018 Pioneer Day Concert featuring Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III

On Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, 2018, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square held their annual Pioneer Day concerts, “Music for a Summer Evening.” They were joined by guest artists Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III.

This special Broadway-themed concert began with the Orchestra at Temple Square performing the Main Title from How the West Was Won, followed by a musical tribute to the Mormon pioneers with the Choir and Orchestra performing “They, the Builders of the Nation” and “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” 

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President Ron Jarrett: Moving the Choir Forward for 6 Years

In August of 2012, Ron Jarrett began serving as the president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization—a massive musical organization of 700-plus volunteers that includes the Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, Bells on Temple Square, and Temple Square Chorale. As the president he also oversees the Choir’s operations, staff, and marketing to make sure things run smoothly and that programs stay within budget.

President Jarrett—himself a volunteer—is the first Choir president to have been a singing member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Prior to his call as president, he was a first tenor in the Choir from 1999 to 2008 and had served as an assistant to former Choir president Mac Christensen from 2008 to 2011.

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“Be Still, My Soul”: Mack Wilberg’s Peaceful Arrangement

“Be Still, My Soul,” was written by Katharina von Schlegal (1697–1768) and was originally written in German, titled “Stille, mein Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen.” The music was composed by Johann (Jean) Julius Christian Sibelius, who was born in Finland in 1865. The hymn was added to the hymnal of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1985.

Author Karen Lynn Davidson explained, “Katharina von Schlegal is a woman about whom little is known. She probably dedicated herself to a religious life in the protestant equivalent of a convent setting. One fact is certain: She knew her scriptures well, both the Old and the New Testaments. In her hymn, she wove together in a creative and remarkable way a whole series of scriptural themes and references to biblical events” (Our Latter-Day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages [1988], 166).

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How Do I Attend a Free Organ Recital on Temple Square?

If you plan to visit Salt Lake City, this is the perfect opportunity to witness world-class organists performing world-class music. You can attend a free 30-minute organ recital every day of the week, and you can count on the organists to be at the top of their game at all times. Principal Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott commented, “I have always wanted to win friends for the organ. If you go back in time, you’ll find that it was a well-respected instrument. Mozart called the organ the ‘King of Instruments.’ In his era, the two most impressive feats of human engineering were considered to be the mechanical clock and the pipe organ.”

If you want to watch certain organists or hear specific pieces, you can view the recital programs here to plan your trip accordingly. 

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Mormon Tabernacle Choir Continues Messiah Tradition!

One of the world’s most beloved musical works, George Frideric Handel’s musical masterpiece Messiah—first premiered by Handel in the spring of 1742—will be presented once again by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in April 2020! This continues a biennial tradition begun in 2014.

Plan to join us on Good Friday, April 10. and Saturday, April 11, 2020. as part of your Easter weekend celebrations.

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5 Sunny Songs to Brighten Your Day

Every once in a while, a bad day will come along where nothing seems to go your way. Maybe you slept through your alarm, missed the bus, spilled on your work clothes, or said something you wish you could take back. Whatever the reason for your bad day, it can and will get better.

In a 2008 fireside talk titled “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “I testify that bad days come to an end, that faith always triumphs, and that heavenly promises are always kept.” A 2016 Ensign magazine article quotes former Church leader Richard G. Scott, who testified, “I witness that with faith in the Savior and obedience to His teachings, happiness never ends, but sadness does.”

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“Called to Serve” Was the Last Hymn to Be Added to the 1985 Hymnbook

It seems almost impossible not to feel the power of the popular children’s marching song “Called to Serve.” Its core message is a charge to press forward in God’s name. In a 1997 talk, Boyd K. Packer said, “The willingness of Latter-day Saints to respond to calls to serve is a representation of their desire to do the will of the Lord.”

How It Came to Be Included in the 1985 Hymnbook

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All You Wanted to Know about the 2018 Classic Coast Tour!

On July 3, 2018, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square completed their successful 2018 Classic Coast Tour. It included seven concerts in Costa Mesa, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Rohnert Park, and Mountain View, California; Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington. They performed in beautiful concert halls and premier outdoor venues to standing ovations from the enthusiastic audiences thrilled by the variety and spirit of the beautiful music they presented.

“One of the great powers of the Choir and Orchestra is to draw down the powers of heaven through their music to heal, uplift, and strengthen those that hear their words,” said Elder John C. Pingree Jr., a senior Church leader who accompanied them during part of the tour. “They are vehicles for connecting people with God, and they do so beautifully.”

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