Salt Lake Tabernacle, home of the choir
This week I begin my 13th year
as a member of the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Some may not know that we are volunteers. Choir members are not paid. Singers are allowed up to 20 years of service, but are released when they reach 60 years of age if this comes first. My choir audition took place during the summer of 1997 and was accepted into the choir in October of that year, two weeks after General Conference. The seat I was assigned had been vacated the week before by Uncle Jim Kennard, who had just retired. (Jim, that was a great honor!) My mentor, Jim Young, sat right next to me and was a great help to me as I became acquainted with the methods and procedures of membership in the choir. I have formed fast friendships that will endure long past the time of my tenure, and I have also enjoyed seeing relatives on a more regular basis during the time of our mutual service. The year after I joined the choir we took a three-week trip to Europe, performing concerts in England, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. I have performed under the direction of such conductors as Rafael Fruhbruck de Burgos, John Williams, Keith Lockhart, Eric Kunzel, Jerold Ottley, Donald Ripplinger, Craig Jessop, and Mack Wilberg.
Choir and Orchestra in the Tabernacle in front of the Great Organ
The many highlights include performances with the Boston Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Utah Symphony, and Orchestra at Temple Square. Performance venues include locations such as Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles CA, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto Canada, Chautauqua NY, Wolftrap in VA, Blossom in Cleveland OH, Ravinia in Chicago IL, Nashville Arena TN, FedEx Forum in Memphis TN, Tanglewood in MA, Lincoln Center in NYC, and Boston’s Esplanade on July 4th with the Boston Pops Orchestra and live on Public Television. The choir has provided “backup” for Angela Lansbury, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bryn Terfel, Claire Bloom, Edward Herrmann, Frederica von Stade, Peter Graves, Renee Fleming, Sissel Kyrkjebo, The King’s Singers, Walter Cronkite, Yo Yo Ma, Sting, Gladys Knight, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, The Oak Ridge Boys, and others. It has been an incredible journey, and I am happy to say that I anticipate many more such experiences in coming months and years.