News Release

Two Counselors Will Serve with New Tabernacle Choir President

Two counselors have been called to serve with the recently announced president of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Michael O. Leavitt. At a devotional held in the Tabernacle on Thursday evening, L. Whitney Clayton was sustained as first counselor and Gary B. Porter as second counselor in the new choir presidency.

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Elder Clayton is an emeritus General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Brother Porter is a senior vice president at Deseret Management Corporation. Together with Leavitt, the new leaders will manage the administrative components of The Tabernacle Choir organization, including the supervision of more than 700 volunteers.

Leavitt, a former Utah governor and White House cabinet member, was named president of the choir on August 6. He will serve with his wife Jacalyn and lead the presidency, similar to the organizational structure used in Church missions worldwide. Leavitt replaces Ron Jarrett who has served as president of the choir since 2012.

The devotional, held in the Tabernacle and via livestream, was open to all choir organization members. Remarks were given by outgoing choir president Ron Jarrett and his wife, Lucie; the two new counselors; President and Sister Leavitt; and the choir’s adviser, Bishop Gérald Caussé, who presided at the meeting.  

“This is the moment in the choir’s history to launch a focused and magnified commitment to expand the supply and the accessibility of sacred music around the world,” said President Leavitt.

“We are so grateful that it's a presidency because with the counselors, it makes a strong unit,” added Sister Leavitt.

“This is a great choir. It’s the best in the world, and we're happy to be a part of it. We'll do everything we can to help this choir become the global choir it's envisioned to be,” expressed President Clayton.

“We were humbled but thrilled because of the great admiration we have for the choir, for the organists, for the directors. As we reflected back on all the times we listened to the choir, they just have such deep resonance and spirituality that it's just been moving for us,” said President Porter.

“We need to resume performance. For nearly a year and a half, COVID-19 and its variants have interrupted our progress. Well, the time has come for us to reboot our work,” stressed President Leavitt.

President Leavitt announced that the choir will meet virtually on Thursday, September 9, for orientation, followed by a practice on September 21. “It is our aspiration that we once again can fill the Conference Center with live music as we begin to prepare for the choir to sing at general conference.”

He continued, “Live performances of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ … will commence in due course. And we are, of course, leaning forward as we anticipate our Heritage Tour in 2022.”

In interviews following the announcement of his calling, President Leavitt said, “The objective needs to be to give a global church a global choir, and to provide a means by which the world can begin to feel the value of sacred music in a way that will give them peace and joy.”


L. Whitney Clayton was granted General Authority emeritus status at the October 2020 general conference. He served as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2001 to 2020. During that time, he was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and Senior President of the Quorums of Seventy. His assignments gave him responsibility supervising, or serving in Area Presidencies, for the Church in Mexico, Middle East/Africa North, South America South and others. Elder Clayton earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Utah and a law degree at the University of the Pacific. Prior to his call as a General Authority Seventy, he was an attorney in California, from 1978 to 2001.

Gary B. Porter is currently a senior vice president at Deseret Management Corporation where his responsibilities include human resources, community relations, executive director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation, and president and CEO of Temple Square Hospitality Corporation. Recently Porter was also named the chairman of the board of governors of the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest business association. He previously served in the Welfare/Self-Reliance Services department and was appointed as secretary to the Presiding Bishopric and served as managing director of the Presiding Bishopric Administrative Services department of the Church.

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