The choir’s performances on 10-11 February 2012 in the U.S. Airways Center marked the first time the 360-voice group sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has presented a concert in Arizona in more than 40 years.
“We are thrilled to have the most prestigious choir in the world come to Arizona to celebrate our centennial with their legions of fans in our state,” said Karen Churchard, director of the Arizona Centennial Commission.
The choir and orchestra are excited to be a part of the centennial celebration, said Mormon Tabernacle Choir music director Mack Wilberg. “It’s a great privilege and a highlight for us to perform for audiences in live concerts – and especially so for Arizona’s centennial celebration.”
Audiences got a surprise during each night's performance when former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor and Most Reverend Eduardo A. Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, took the stage as guest conductors.
Three members of the choir grew up in Arizona. “It's indescribable to put into words what I am feeling being a part of this celebration. I am pinching myself. It is surreal!” exclaimed Clark Edwards.
“Coming with 360 of my best friends to sing in this concert is a thank you to Arizona,” said Jan Petersen. “The 20 years I spent in Arizona was the foundation for who I am.”
Cliff Bentley said it is a great privilege to be a part of this celebration. “This experience fills me with real pleasure and a sense of coming home.”
The general manager for the choir, Scott Barrick, told the Arizona Republic that preparing for the event was like “moving a little army,” with the choir’s performers, music, instruments, portable organ, wardrobe and sound equipment. Barrick described the choir’s program as a mix of hymns, classical music and show tunes.
“We say it's everything from Bach to Broadway,” he said. “We always start with hymns, then a classical music section to show we have the musical chops to do whatever it takes, classical included.”
Read the Arizona Republic’s full story.