Many people have heard the music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but now thousands of fans in the Eastern United States and Canada will be able to hear the world-famous choir in person. The Salt Lake City-based group is taking its show on the road for a week-long tour that starts Monday, 20 June 2011.
The choir will perform seven concerts in seven days, in Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Chautauqua, New York and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The choir’s administrative manager, Barry Anderson, says people in the area are looking forward to seeing the renowned choir in person.
“I’ve never quite felt the excitement from people like on this tour,” he said. “I drove the entire route eight weeks ago and it was wonderful to feel the excitement.”
Only a few tickets are still available for the concerts, which will feature a crowd-pleasing program full of variety, including classics from Dvorak and Rossini, folk hymns, popular songs from movies and Broadway, and even a Nigerian carol. The 360-voice choir will be accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square. All of the singers and musicians are volunteers who donate their talents and even use their vacation time from work to travel with the choir.
Alto Karen Hornberger said the tour will be fun, but it is also a lot of hard work.
“It’s not vacation when we go on tour. Our schedule is really tight. The purpose of it isn’t for sightseeing and to fulfill our own personal agendas,” she said. “We’re performers and we need to remember that and make sure that we’re preserving our energy and getting ready for a concert and not just enjoying ourselves.”
Hearing the choir and orchestra in person is a unique experience, according to tuba player Jeffery Scott.
“When you are there live listening to the Tabernacle Choir and the orchestra, you can feel the energy that you can’t feel over the radio,” Scott said. “You can hear beautiful music and you can feel good when you listen to it, of course, but you can’t feel that energy and that excitement unless you are there listening to the choir in person.”
A member of the Newsroom staff will be accompanying the choir on the tour and will provide regular updates on the website, as well as through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter (#motabtour). Go behind the scenes at every concert and hear from audience members about the experience of hearing the choir in person. The stories will examine the logistics behind taking 580 people on tour and the support personnel who make it happen. You will also meet some of the choir and orchestra members and find out why they volunteer their time to participate. There are also a few surprises on the itinerary, so make sure to check back often for updates.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir usually goes on tour every other year. In 2009, the choir performed in Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; Norman, Oklahoma and Denver, Colorado.
The 2011 tour will require 3 chartered planes, 11 buses, 4 semi trucks full of luggage, and 4 semi trucks that carry equipment, risers, the organ and wardrobe. The choir’s staff has been working for over two years to get ready.
“I don’t think we have ever been prepared like we are now for this tour,” Choir president Mac Christensen said. “It will be magnificent. Hearts will be touched.”
Since its first tour outside of Utah in 1893, the choir has toured extensively across the United States and abroad. It has performed throughout Europe and in music capitols from Israel and Russia to Japan and Australia. Its travels have also included performances at the inaugurations of six U.S. presidents.
The choir can be heard weekly as part of the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. This 30-minute program is the world’s longest continuously running network broadcast, now in its 80th year. It currently airs on over 2,000 radio, TV, cable and satellite stations worldwide.