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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Americas Choir New Album No. 1 On The Charts

Updated on April 3, 2013

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: American Folk Hymns and Spirituals"

According to the Deseret News on Wednesday, April 15, 2009:

"The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's new album, 'Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: American Folk Hymns and Spirituals,' knocked out an all-star cast of classical music heavyweights by taking the top spot on Billboard Magazine's classic overall music chart this week. The No. 1 ranking displaces such music artists as Il Divo, Placido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli.

'Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing' also earned the No. 1 spot on the classical crossover chart, No. 8 on the contemporary Christian chart, and cracked the Billboard Top 200 list coming in at No. 126.

'The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has proven once again why it is America's choir,' said Bob Ahlander, managing director for the music division at Deseret Book, which handles the marketing and distribution of all choir products. 'We want to congratulate the choir for putting out another great album for music fans everywhere.'

'Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing' showcases the choir's musical heritage with American folk music for which music director Mack Wilberg is known."

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Singing

Live music performed by the Tabernacle Choir can be "felt."

I will never forget the first time I ever heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform live. It was in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it was during General Conference. I had heard them sing before on television and over the radio, but the sound of hearing them sing live was a feeling that simply must be experienced. It was there, that I finally understood the power that music could have upon ones soul. Their music was tangible; it literally filled every portion of my body. The unity with which each voice was raised sent chills down my spine and thrilled my very spirit, illustrating the very grandeur of perfect harmony.

National Medal of Arts

"America's Choir" and "a national treasure" are terms U.S. Presidents gave to the choir.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was dubbed "America's Choir" by the United States President Ronald Reagan. He however, is not the only president that the choir has performed for. They have performed for over 10 United States Presidents, and at inaugurations for five of them. This included the 1989 inauguration of President George H. W. Bush, where he called them "a national treasure." In November of 2003, they were awarded the United States' highest honor for artistic excellence in a White House ceremony. This National Medal of Arts was given to Mac Christensen, president of the choir, representing the choir by President George W. Bush.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir - "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

The choir has performed with celebrities and won many awards.

With over 130 released musical compilations or recordings, two have achieved "platinum record" status, and five "gold record" status. They have also received a Grammy Award for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in 1959. An Emmy Award is also on their list of achievements for a musical special they performed with Shirley Verrett, called "Christmas Sampler." Their list of guest performers includes such celebrities as Walter Cronkite, Angela Lansbury, Bryn Terfel, Peter Graves, Audra McDonald, and Frederica von Stade.

Walter Cronkite Conducting the Tabernacle Choir

Walter Cronkite conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.
Walter Cronkite conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

World traveling choir calls Salt Lake City home.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of the oldest and largest choirs in the world. It is made up of 360 volunteer singers ranging in age from 25 years old to 60. They call Salt Lake City, Utah their home, but are really at home performing all over the world. They have traveled and performed in such places as Russia, Europe, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Canada. They have traveled and sang all through the United States and have even performed in Boston with the famous Boston Pops Orchestra.

Lloyd D. Newell

Lloyd D. Newell mixes word with music.

"Music and the Spoken Word" is the name of the radio program that is the weekly broadcast offered by Bonneville Communications, where performances by the choir can be heard. Lloyd D. Newell offers commentary in harmony with the message of the choir that always begins, "From the crossroads of the West, we welcome you to a program of inspirational music and spoken word." It has become the longest-running continuous network broadcast in the world.

Hallelujah Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The Mormon Tabernacle

Brigham Young designed the Tabernacle to be acoustically sound.

The Tabernacle Choir was formed in August 1847, as a result of Church President Brigham Young's influence on adding music and culture to the Salt Lake Valley. It first sang for a conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1847. They began practicing in an old adobe building and moved to the Mormon Tabernacle just west of the Salt Lake Temple, as soon as the construction was finished in 1867.

The Tabernacle is an unusually shaped building designed by Brigham Young that is so acoustically sensitive that a pin dropped at the front of the hall can be heard 170 feet away, or to the back. The Tabernacle also houses the famous 11,623 pipe Tabernacle organ. Even today the choir rehearses weekly in this venue, being open to the public on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

The Mormon Tabernacle

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir in The Mormon Tabernacle

The pipe organ is in the background.
The pipe organ is in the background.

A very intense audition is required to become a member of the choir.

The requirements for joining the choir are quite rigid. Before a member joins the Choir, they must undergo a three phase audition, which takes approximately six months. They must be active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and live within 100 miles of Temple Square located in Salt Lake City, Utah. They must meet the age requirement of between 25 and 55 years of age, the choir tenure is 20 years or until age 60. This selection process has produced one of the finest choir results in the world.

A recent change in choir directors has taken place.

It has been recently reported that renowned choir director Craig Jessop, after nearly a decade of leading The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, has turned in his resignation.

"I now find myself at a major crossroads of life," Craig Jessop said in a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I intend to keep active in the musical world including teaching - the career that . . . originally began my musical journey. RaNae and I and our family are looking forward to spending more time together with our children and grandsons."

Mack Wilberg will act as interim director building on the foundation that has been laid.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir worth listening to anywhere.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is distinguished and worthy of consideration as one of the best musical performance groups ever.

If you find out that the choir is touring in your area, don't miss an opportunity to hear them live. It will be an experience you will never forget, I promise.

Andrea Bocelli and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Majesty and Beauty that can be felt.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Performance in the Salt Lake Conference Center.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Performance in the Salt Lake Conference Center.

One Voice: On the road with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir


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