News Release

Former Utah Governor Is New Tabernacle Choir President

Mike Leavitt hopes to pair his leadership skills with the choir’s world-renowned music

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has named former Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt as the new president of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. Leavitt will be joined by his wife, Jacalyn, in fulfilling this new role. Leavitt replaces Ron Jarrett, who has served as president of the choir since August 2012. Bishop Gérald Caussé, the advisor to the choir, made the announcement to the choir via a video call on Friday, August 6, 2021. 

Reacting to the call Leavitt received to become the new choir president, Leavitt said, “The pleasant surprise has been replaced by gratitude and great optimism. This will be a lovely experience for Jackie and me.” 

Leavitt was elected to three terms as governor of Utah, where he was lauded for his leadership during a period that saw both economic prosperity and hardship. During Leavitt’s 11 years as governor, Utah was named America’s best-managed state six times by independent public policy analysts. 

From 2003 to 2009, Leavitt served twice in the cabinet of President George W. Bush. He was the 10th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (2003–2005) and the 20th secretary of Health and Human Services (2005–2009). Among other endeavors since concluding his public service, Leavitt organized Leavitt Partners, a business that advises clients in the health care sector. 

Jackie Leavitt is a former teacher and served as the first lady of Utah, where she advocated for families and children. She is also an accomplished musician. 

As president of the choir, Leavitt hopes to couple his leadership experience with the choir’s renowned music, which he says has always been a personal conduit for his spiritual connection with God. That connection is something he wants a worldwide audience to experience. 

“Using digital tools now available, the choir can reach new and bigger global audiences,” Leavitt said. “It can be an emissary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an advocate for people on every continent who seek feelings of peace and joy.” 

In an organizational change, Leavitt will lead a presidency in his new position. His two counselors will be announced later. Together, they will manage operations, employees, and marketing and oversee the administrative components of the choir, including the supervision of over 700 volunteers in the choir organization. Leavitt says he is committed to making their selfless service a positive experience. 

“Mike Leavitt will build on the legacy of the choir organization with his exceptional executive experience. We are looking forward to his leadership and a future of continued success,” Bishop Caussé said. 

He added, “We thank Ronald Jarrett for his dedicated service and his vision [of] expanding the choir’s influence to a worldwide audience through social media and other innovations.” 

Jarrett was appointed president of the choir on August 1, 2012. He previously served as a singing member of the choir from 1999 to 2008 and followed that service with an appointment as assistant to then-choir president Mac Christensen between 2008 and 2011. 

“Serving as the president of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is one of the choicest calls in the entire Church,” Jarrett said. “I am thankful for my opportunity to serve and will miss my association with the extraordinary men and women in the choir organization. Please know I will be watching and singing along with them from my living room each Sunday morning.”

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