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.”
Among all his many responsibilities, President Monson served as the adviser to the Choir, with the president of the Choir reporting directly to him. It was an assignment that he was particularly fond of, and he loved the music of the Choir. President Monson frequently quoted latter-day scripture when talking about 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).
President Monson also loved Broadway show tunes and was delighted when programs included some of his favorites. His 85th birthday celebration in August 2012 was replete with this music he loved performed by renowned guest artists. He was known to sit down at the organ or piano with the Choir watching and plunk out a tune from his early piano lesson days. He attended concerts and Music and the Spoken Word, joined the Choir for concerts on tour, met with guest artists, and for as long as he was able shook hands with members at the once-a-year retirement ceremony. He was a hands-on adviser, typical of his ministry.
When the Choir leadership proposed a European tour, the first in more than 18 years, President Monson gave encouragement: “I am delighted that these noted ensembles will have the opportunity to touch the hearts of people in multiple nations through their magnificent music. This tour will be an important step forward as the Choir and Orchestra continue to build bridges of friendship and understanding across the globe as ambassadors of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
For further information about the life and accomplishments of President Thomas S. Monson, please see:
Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Spoken Word for January 7, 2018: “President Thomas S. Monson—beloved adviser and friend.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website (www.lds.org)
The Church Public Affairs website (www.mormonenewsroom.org)