Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

The Organ Pad and the Art of Organ Improvisation

Since 1929, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been performing a weekly broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word, which has become the longest-running continuing broadcast in the world. Week after week, the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square fill the airwaves with glorious music—for 27 minutes and 56 seconds to be exact.

The timing is extremely important to fit the standard broadcast television half-hour show length. Because of the exact timing, songs are carefully selected to fit not only the length, but specific themes as well. Because the spoken word messages vary slightly in length each time they are read out loud, and song lengths can change based on slight variations in the tempo, the broadcast needs to have precautions in place in order to fill time.

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Broadway Star Sutton Foster and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville are the 2017 Christmas Guest Artists

Award-winning actress, singer, and dancer Sutton Foster and acclaimed British actor Hugh Bonneville will be the featured guest artist and narrator at this year’s Christmas concert. This annual event by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells on Temple Square will take place on December 14, 15, and 16 in the Conference Center.

Ms. Foster starred in 11 Broadway shows and is a two-time Tony Award–winner for her roles in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She also originated roles in The Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, and Shrek the Musical. She currently stars as the lead character Liza in the critically acclaimed TV Land television series Younger, which will begin its fifth season in 2018. As a solo artist, Ms. Foster has recorded two albums and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. (This interview tells about her start on Broadway.)

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God Be With You Elder Hales

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir lost a dear friend as Elder Robert D. Hales passed away in an area hospital on Sunday afternoon October 1 following the morning session of the 187th General Conference.  Elder Hales had served as a General Authority since 1975. He was 85.

On Sunday evenings when Elder Hales was growing up in New York, he lay on the floor and listened with his family to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s radio broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word.  He was not unusual; tens of thousands around the world have been listening to the broadcast since its inception in 1929.

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Watch a Pioneer Day Concert Special Featuring Alex Boyé on BYUtv

BYUtv has produced a 60-minute special of the Pioneer Day concert with Alex Boyé, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square. Boyé was a big hit with audiences, performing “Where You Are” from Disney’s Moana, “Circle of Life” and “He Lives in You” from The Lion King, “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” a Nat King Cole medley, and more.

The Pioneer Day concert special airs on Saturday, September 30, at 5:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, October 1, at 11:00 p.m. mountain daylight time. Make sure to watch or set your DVRs to relive this wonderful concert!

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Jeffrey R. Holland Uses Singing in a Choir as an Analogy for Remaining Faithful Through Trials

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Orchestra Concertmaster Shares Her Love of Music

When the Orchestra at Temple Square was announced in 1999, Meredith Campbell, a professional musician who had performed with the Utah Symphony and a busy mother of seven, auditioned to become a musical goodwill ambassador for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She grew up in a musical family where everyone played an instrument—they even had their own family orchestra for a time. Campbell relished the performing opportunities she’d had through the years both as a professional musician and as a volunteer in church musical events. So when the notice of auditions appeared, she didn’t hesitate.

Campbell secured a position in the violin section when the Orchestra was first organized in 1999 and became the concertmaster in 2003. When asked about her experiences in the all-volunteer orchestra, Campbell spoke about sharing her faith through music. “It is intriguing to bear your testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel with an instrument,” she said. “We strive to be perfect to bring the Spirit. We are at a disadvantage because we don’t have words, which means we have to work harder.”

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Australian Organ Virtuoso Thomas Heywood to Perform in the Salt Lake Tabernacle

Don’t miss your chance to see internationally acclaimed organ virtuoso Thomas Heywood performing in the Tabernacle on October 10, 2017, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Heywood will be performing favorite classical pieces by Rossini, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, and others transcribed for organ.

His biography on Concertorganists.com states: “As the only professional concert organist in Australian history, Heywood is celebrated as ‘an acknowledged master’ for his unique ability to make the greatest music of all time come alive on the King of Instruments, with an ever-growing repertoire of over 5,000 works. Heywood has also become one of the world’s most prolific organ recording artists, with over twenty popular sellout recordings receiving extraordinary critical acclaim.” Heywood’s Tabernacle performance is part of an ongoing performance series that takes place weekly on Temple Square. Find more information on upcoming concerts.

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Alex Boyé Video Features the Bells on Temple Square

Alex Boyé’s music videos are usually full of characters, and his latest is no exception. His video for “Celebrate” is packed with guests including the Bells on Temple Square.

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