Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

New Tabernacle Organist Appointed

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir announced Monday, January 22, 2018, that Dr. Brian Mathias has been appointed a full-time Tabernacle organist. Mathias joins a long line of distinguished musicians who have served as organists on Temple Square, continuing a tradition that stretches back to early pioneer days. The renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir organists are key members of the Choir’s musical family and perform at the highest professional standard of artistry as they bring the sound of the iconic Tabernacle organ to life for tens of thousands of fans throughout the world. The organists perform in daily organ recitals as well as performances with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in telecasts, recordings, tours, concerts, and other appearances. With Dr. Mathias’s appointment, there are now four full-time Tabernacle organists—Richard Elliott, Clay Christiansen, and Andrew Unsworth—with two part-time organists, Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts.

Mathias is very excited to serve with the Choir organization. “I have been an avid fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir since I was a teenager, and it is a dream come true for me to have the opportunity to be a part of what they do. The conductors and organists are musicians of the highest caliber, and I am thrilled to work alongside them.”

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“Israel, Israel, God Is Calling”: An Invitation to Come unto Christ

The hymn “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” is about God’s invitation to “come to Zion.”  

The hymn text was written by Richard Smyth, who served three missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early days of the Church. After serving his first mission in England, he then returned to his native country of Ireland to extend the invitation to rejoice “within Zion’s walls.” The music was from the hymn composed by Charles C. Converse.

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What Exactly Is Choir School?

As each new year begins, hopeful singers continue a journey that actually began six months before, in the warmth of summer, when they submitted an application to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

In the fall, once applicants complete the lengthy audition process—which consists of a written application and voice recording, musical skills assessment, and in-person audition—they are accepted as members of the Choir School and Temple Square Chorale. The next step in the process begins in January, when the potential new Choir members start the 16-week training, which is like a graduate course in choral singing but is sometimes thought of as a choral “boot camp.” This year’s Choir School membership includes 49 singers (21 women, 28 men).

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Star Wars Director Gets a Birthday Surprise via the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Star Wars has officially taken over the box office, and its influence has now infiltrated the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following the Christmas concerts in December, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir received a request to sing “Happy Birthday.” It’s a request that the Choir gets quite often, especially on tour—but this was a little bit different. This time, the request came from the Conference Center stage, from guest artist Sutton Foster’s husband, Ted Griffin.

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“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” Is an Invitation to Engage in the Work of the Gospel

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.” —Gordon B. Hinckley

“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” was composed by William L. Thompson, a member of the Church of Christ, and was first published in a gospel-song hymnal in 1904. In 1909, it was included in Deseret Sunday School Songs and quickly caught on with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a 1950 hymnal for the LDS Church, it included the title “The world has need of willing men.”

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Music to Celebrate the Life and Mission of Thomas S. Monson

On January 12, 2018, funeral services for President Thomas S. Monson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. President Monson died from causes incident to age on January 2, 2018, in Salt Lake City at the age of 90.

The music for the funeral services was provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and closely reflected the life and mission of Thomas S. Monson. President Monson often quoted Doctrine and Covenants 25:15 when discussing the Choir: “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:12).

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2018 An Exciting Year Ahead for the Choir Organization

The work of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square rarely takes a breather—and this year will not be an exception!

Each new year begins with the start of Choir School, the 16-week training in vocal technique, sight-reading skills, and music theory that this year 49 incoming Choir members will complete. Choir School, along with participation in the Temple Square Chorale, is the last step in the process for preparing new members for the Choir.

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Tribute to President Monson

President Thomas S. Monson, sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died January 2, 2018, at age 90. He had served as President since 2008, as a counselor in the First Presidency since 1985, and as an Apostle since 1963. He was no stranger to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the entire Choir organization mourns his passing.

Fifty-four years ago, October 4, 1963, Thomas Spencer Monson, age 36, took the long walk from the congregation in the Salt Lake Tabernacle to his seat on the stand as the newly called member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Behind him in the Choir loft sat the hundreds of members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. One of his relatives, Richard P. Condie, was the music director. Over the years, the faces have changed, four Choir directors have come and gone, and four Choir presidents. These many years President Monson has listened to the Choir sing the songs of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in general conference sessions and thanked them for providing “truly heavenly music.”

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2017 - It's Been a Great Year!

With the Sunday, December 31 New Year’s Eve broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will finish a busy, productive year.

The Choir accepted invitations to perform in January 2017 at both the Utah Governor’s inauguration ceremony as well as the United States presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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Mack Wilberg’s “Silent Night”: The Heartwarming Story of This 2017 Concert Piece

Sometimes a coincidence is just that—but sometimes it is much, much more.

In late 2017, Mack Wilberg was in Minneapolis to conduct a concert as part of the American Choral Directors Association state conference, when he had a chance encounter with Pete and Judy Duelo. The Duelos were attending the concert at the request of a young coworker of Pete Duelo. Wilberg had no prior knowledge that the Duelos would be at the concert. When the Duelos arrived, they decided to take seats in the balcony where an acquaintance of theirs happened to be an usher.

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