News Story

Choir Director Resigns, Interim Director Named

Craig Jessop, renowned music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, has resigned from his assignment after over a decade of outstanding service with the choir. 

Jessop made the announcement to choir members after their rehearsal tonight. Associate music director Mack Wilberg will serve as the interim choir director.

“I now find myself at a major crossroads of life.  With long and prayerful consideration I have decided to resign as director of the choir” Jessop said. “I look forward to new challenges and opportunities and I intend to keep active in the musical world including teaching – the career that I originally began my musical journey. RaNae and I and our family are looking forward to spending more time together with our children and grandsons.”

Choir president Mac Christensen, who worked side by side with Jessop for the last seven years, told choir members that Jessop had taken the choir to great heights with each concert, tour and performance.

“Now the choir, with Mack Wilberg as the interim director, will move forward building on the foundation that both Craig and Mack and their predecessors have helped to lay” Christensen said. “Along with the First Presidency we extend our love and appreciation to both Craig and to his family.”

Dr. Jessop was appointed music director and conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in December 1999, after having served as the choir’s associate director since 1995. 

His vision was to bring the music of the choir to everyone. He once said, "My passion has always been music and the power of music—helping other people in lifting their spirits. And whenever we're on tour I see the emotion that the choir can generate from the audience. It's a wonderful experience." 

During his tenure, the choir and orchestra at Temple Square launched a private record label in March 2003 and subsequently releasing over 10 albums, several of which hit #1 on Billboard’s Classical Music chart. 

The choir also received numerous awards under Dr. Jessop’s musical direction including the Special Recognition Award from the International Radio and Television Society Foundation and the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush. In April 2004 the choir and its Music and the Spoken Word broadcast were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame.

The choir and orchestra at Temple Square also received recognition from its peers in February 2005, performing to capacity audiences in the Walt Disney Concert Hall and at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles at the invitation of the American Choral Directors Association.

Perhaps one of the most memorable achievements of the choir during Dr. Jessop’s tenure was its participation at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, performing 20 times including during the opening ceremony.

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