In today's Mormonism in Pictures, we go behind the scenes of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2013 tour, which concludes tonight in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The choir has performed concerts in Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison over the past nine days, joined by guest choir members and conductors.
The tour's first stop was Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on 12 June 2013. Choir music director Mack Wilberg has explained that hearing the choir sing live is “a totally different experience" from listening to the choir on television, radio and CD recordings. "It’s what you might call a ‘wall of sound,’” Wilberg said.
A sound engineer monitors as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings in Columbus. The 310 singers were joined by 62 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square. Their repertoire includes classics, hymns, spirituals and American favorites.
Music and the Spoken Word announcer Lloyd Newell wears an Indiana Pacers jersey presented to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis audience members applaud after a number by the choir in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Choir music director Mack Wilberg leads a rehearsal before the choir's performance at the Ravinia Festival outside of Chicago on 15 June. As the rehearsal concluded, Wilberg told choir members to "savor this place. Savor the moment."
The choir invited Navy nurse and Bronze Star Medal recipient Lieutenant Commander James P. Gennari to guest conduct the Ravinia Festival performance in honor of servicemen and servicewomen worldwide. Gennari put his life in danger when he held the hand of a young Marine while an unexploded grenade was removed from his leg at a hospital in Afghanistan in January 2012.
A view from the choir seats as Lt. Cmdr. James Gennari guest conducts the choir's rendition of "This Land Is Your Land." Earlier in the day, Gennari remarked of his and other military members' service: "We serve because you need us to. None of us do it alone, and the 'Big Guy' was there too."
The Orchestra at Temple Square, a companion organization to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was established in 1999. The orchestra is made up of many professional musicians who, like the choir members, perform without pay. The orchestra maintains its own concert schedule and also accompanies the Temple Square Chorale.
Members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square look out on the audience at the Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 17 June.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir organist Richard Elliott finishes with a flourish, playing at the choir's concert in the Milwaukee Theater. Elliott has been a full-time Tabernacle organist since 1991 and the principal organist for the choir since 2007. “It’s my goal to make the organ dance,” he says. When Elliott plays his original solo arrangement of “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” he plays most of the song with his feet: the rapid melody with his right foot and the bass line with his left.
The guest conductor in Milwaukee was Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. He was installed as archbishop of Milwaukee in 2010.
The choir and orchestra rehearse in the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Choir member Alex Boye gives an energetic solo performance with the choir and orchestra in Madison.
The choir and orchestra at the beginning of their concert in Madison's Overture Center.
As choir music director, Mack Wilberg manages all musical and creative aspects of the choir and orchestra, including selecting repertoire for concerts, recordings and tours and providing the creative direction for the weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. “I work very hard to stimulate and keep people’s attention," he says. "Music ought to be an enjoyable journey for the listener."
Trunks of dresses travel along with the choir on tour.
The choir sings at Trail of Honor Park in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, near the mills where Latter-day Saints harvested over one and a half million board feet of lumber and then floated it down the Black River to Nauvoo, Illinois, a city central to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A commemorative historical marker paid for and donated by the members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was erected here. “The sacrifices of these logging pioneers are not well known, even among Church members,” says choir president Ron Jarrett. “We wanted to honor these unsung heroes.”