Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Celebrate the True Spirit of Pioneer Day with These 5 Songs

Every year on July 24, Utahns gather in celebration to commemorate the arrival of Mormon pioneers, who settled in the Salt Lake Valley on that date in 1847. Celebrations include the Days of ’47 Parade, flag ceremonies, Handcart Days, dances, hikes, fireworks, and concerts—including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s annual concerts, which feature acclaimed guest artists.

While Pioneer Day is a chance to enjoy these various family activities, it is also a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who migrated from the Midwest to the Salt Lake Valley.

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Music and the Spoken Word Starting 90th Year!

On Sunday, July 15, 2018, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir began its ninth decade—nearly the entire lifetime of radio itself—broadcasting Music and the Spoken Word, the world’s longest-running continuous weekly network program, with music and messages of hope and inspiration.

Music and the Spoken Word began broadcasting on Monday afternoon, July 15, 1929, on Salt Lake City radio station KSL. The broadcast began with a telegraphed message from the National Broadcasting Company in New York City. The message was relayed within seconds to the basement of the Tabernacle on Temple Square. A hand signal forwarded the message upstairs to the program director and then on to Ted Kimball, 19-year-old son of Choir organist Edward P. Kimball. Ted stood atop a 15-foot ladder to reach the one and only microphone, which had been brought to the Tabernacle from KSL radio, and then the show began. Three years later the program moved to a Sunday morning broadcast on CBS, where it continues to this day.

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Watch Full Pioneer Day Concerts Featuring Amazing Guest Artists

Pioneer Day is an official Utah holiday that is celebrated on July 24. It commemorates the arrival and legacy of the original Mormon pioneers, who settled the state of Utah after migrating across the United States from the Midwest.

In the years following the death of Joseph Smith, the first president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many Church members, organized by companies, took the long journey by foot to the Rocky Mountains in the west, staring in 1846. Some pushed handcarts or carried their belongings by hand; others used farm wagons pulled by oxen. The Mormon pioneer migration, which continued for many years, was taken by approximately 70,000 people.

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2018 Classic Coast Tour Photo Albums

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it may be safe to say that these seven photo albums will be worth a whole lot more. In case you’ve been taking a social media fast or missed our previous Classic Coast Tour posts, we shared a photo album from each of the seven tour stops.

The tour began on June 19, 2018, in Costa Mesa, California, and ended in Seattle, Washington, on July 2. Photo highlights include concerts, free-time excursions, behind the scenes, sound checks, and guests.

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Tour Diaries Provide an Inside Look at Life on the Road

When two years of planning goes into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s massive tour, you’d better believe it’s going to be documented.

During each tour, the Choir’s digital media staff anticipates and tracks the action as the touring company makes its way to each concert destination, while capturing everything in between. The Choir’s blog includes posts such as a tour songs playlist and behind-the-scenes profiles with Ron Jarrett (Choir president), Mack Wilberg (music director), Barry Anderson (administrative manager), and the organists. The blog also includes posts related to connections to touring locations, sound check guests, live videos, and historical events such as when Russell M. Nelson traveled with the Choir on the 1991 tour to Europe.

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Five-Year Old Leads the Choir

Graham Walton listens to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir every day. His favorite Choir song is whatever the Choir is singing, and he counts Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy as two of his best friends. Graham is five years old.

Born with only half of his heart functioning properly, Graham has had three major open-heart surgeries and eventually will need a heart transplant. But nothing is missing in his heart when it comes to his love for the Choir.

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Four Ways to View the 2018 Pioneer Day Concert

Watch the concert online here.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will present “Music for a Summer Evening,” the annual concert held 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 on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and will be conducted by Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir, and Ryan Murphy, associate music director. 

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“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” Was Written at the Request of a Sunday School Class

“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” was written in 1885, by William Henry Parker. He was a member of the Chelsea Street Baptist Church, in Nottingham, England, where he was active in the work of the Sunday School. He wrote many hymns and songs throughout the years, and had fifteen of them published in the Sunday School Hymnary (1905).

The music for the song was composed by Frederic A. Challinor, who wrote the tune for a competition sponsored by the National Sunday School Union, in London, England.

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Tour Diary #8 Performers Add Benaroya Hall to Their List of Favorite Venues

Written by Siope Kinikini, Mormon Tabernacle Choir member

Mack Wilberg, Mormon Tabernacle Choir music director, once stated, “When we experience great music in great spaces, it makes for a great experience—not only for the audience, but for the performer as well.” For me, performing at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, was a unique and rewarding experience. This was the final stop on our 2018 Classic Coast tour. Having performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in places like Carnegie Hall (New York) and Musikveiren (Vienna), I can now add Benroya Hall among my favorite places.

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10 Facts about 2018 Pioneer Day Guest Matthew Morrison

The walls of the Conference Center won’t be able to contain all of the glee that will be emanating from within because song and dance man Matthew Morrison will be in the house. Along with Morrison, this year’s Pioneer Day concert will feature actress Laura Michelle Kelly and Oscar "Andy" Hammerstein III, grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II.

The Pioneer Day concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center and will be conducted by music director Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, associate music director. 

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