Many people dream of singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but tend to think it is out of their reach, or just a dream. 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 beyond that, the Choir may not be as far out of reach as one might think.
Written by: Alison Barton, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Member
When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square go on tour, it is a logistical feat unlike any other, transporting hundreds of people, thousands of pieces of luggage, a clothing store-equivalent of concert attire, dozens of musical instruments—including a touring organ—and staging equipment to venues far from home. The operation is as well-orchestrated and rehearsed as the musicians themselves.
The logistical wizard is the Choir’s administrative manager of 18 years, Barry Anderson, who always is one step ahead of the action. He is usually thinking years in advance. When one tour ends, he is out finalizing details for the next time the Choir hits the road, which is usually every two years. There are, of course, smaller, less extensive concerts and travel sandwiched in between the major tours. During three months in 2018, Anderson spent 47 days on the road refining and perfecting not only their 2018 tour itinerary but also plans for a future tour.View Full Story
To put the size of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir tour into perspective, it helps to know a few important facts:
- The Choir, Orchestra, and guests travel with about 1,200 pieces of luggage.
- Eleven buses and multiple trucks are used to transport the entire touring company and equipment.
- In addition to approximately 300 Choir members, 65 Orchestra members accompany the tour.
When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir takes to the stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 20, 2018, the second stop on the Classic Coast tour, it will bring back treasured memories of a previous concert. In 2005 the Choir performed on that same stage and that concert is as legendary in Choir circles as it gets.
It began with the invitation from the American Choral Director Association to be one of the featured choruses for their national conference. It was the “superbowl” for choral musicians, one of the larger choral festivals in the world.
Choral music has been around for over a thousand years, and although it has evolved throughout the centuries, it seems to be here to stay.
But that begs the question—how does choral music fit into today’s society? Choral music appears to be going through a cultural renaissance. According to an article on NewMusicUSA.org, “More and more ensembles are bringing together musical innovation in the choral world, and ensembles are performing music that points composers in a new direction.”View Full Story
Why does the Mormon Tabernacle Choir go on a two-week tour every two years? It’s certainly not easy to take 291 singers, another 66 musicians from the Orchestra at Temple Square, staff, and stage crew on 24 commercial flights and send two trucks loaded with suitcases, a large but portable organ, musical instruments, staging equipment, and three costume changes for each singer. The logistical planning alone takes two years. So why go to the trouble in an era when people can pull up performances on YouTube, log in on the internet, tune in on the radio, and listen to recordings?View Full Story
When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir goes on tour this June–July, it is anything but a vacation. Yes, the Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square members pack their suitcases and jet from one location to another—except for the 11-caravan bus ride from Southern to Northern California. But vacation? Think again.
Long before the Choir and Orchestra leave, there is months of preparation. The 291 singers from the Choir’s complement of 360 whose schedules allow them to go on tour memorize all the music for two different programs for the seven concerts. That is a total of 27 pieces with several in foreign languages. No sheet music separates the Choir from the audience. Orchestra members had extra rehearsals with the Choir so both ensembles would be prepared as one unit. The Choir and Orchestra members did all this preparation for the Classic Coast tour concerts while still maintaining a demanding schedule at home with the weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts, recording sessions, and preparation for other special concerts. (Just weeks after returning from tour the Choir will present the traditional Pioneer Day concerts to an audience of 21,000 on each of two nights in the Conference Center at Temple Square, featuring guest musical artists Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly, costars of the Broadway musical Finding Neverland, and narrator Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III.)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is currently touring the West Coast, which will include stops in Costa Mesa, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Mountain View, and Rohnert Park, California; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Seattle, Washington.
Music for tour concerts showcases the Choir’s immense repertoire, which includes choral masterworks, hymns, Broadway songs, inspirational music from around the world, American folk hymns and spirituals, and much more. Concertgoers of all ages and tastes in music will no doubt come away feeling inspired and uplifted. Mack Wilberg puts a lot of thought into the setlist of each concert, and each piece of music seems to arrive at the exact moment it should. “When we experience great music, in great spaces, it makes for a great experience—both for the audience and the performer as well,” said Wilberg.View Full Story
Fiddler on the Roof is a 1964 American musical about Jewish life in a small village in imperial Russia at the turn of the 20th century. The music was written by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and the book by Joseph Stein. The story’s focus is on Tevye, who does everything in his power to maintain Jewish culture for his five daughters, as traditions seem to be crumbling around him.
On June 17, 1972, Fiddler on the Roof staged its record-breaking 3,225th performance. Shortly after breaking the record, the show ended its run on July 2, 1972, with 3,242 performances, which remained unbroken until 1980 when the musical Grease surpassed it with 3,388 performances.View Full Story