News Story

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Enjoying Successful Tour

After the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in front of the largest audience Chicago’s Ravinia has ever had for a classical concert, one concertgoer was overheard to say, “We should lie down in front of the buses so they can’t leave!”

Chicago is one of seven North American cities the choir is performing in as part of their summer tour. The concerts feature a great variety of works, including selections from choral classics, patriotic music, and famed songs from Broadway and Hollywood as heard on the choir’s latest release, Showtime!

At the tour’s opening concert in Toronto, one of the audience members at the Roy Thomson Hall commented: “I have seen precision before; I have seen excellence before — all of which I saw this evening. To describe the experience I had you would have needed to be here. It was the feeling I felt that was different.”

Hana Gartner, co-host of Prime Time TV News for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), was a special guest conductor in Toronto, leading the choir in the popular song “This Land Is Your Land.” The choir surprised the Canadian audience by adding the verse, “From Bonavista
to Vancouver Island, from the Arctic Circle, to the Great Lake waters.”

After she met with the choir at a morning sound check, she went to work as usual and her colleagues wondered why she was “beaming.” She told them she had been in front of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “The energy that came from these people in the choir was so extraordinary and powerful. They filled me with joy today, all day.”

Gartner was not the only one to have a turn with the baton or to lead a song with altered lyrics. In Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, was the guest conductor during the choir’s encore number, “This Land Is Your Land.” For the Chicago audience the choir sang, “From the Wrigley diamond to the great Sears Tower, from the Hancock building to Lake Michigan waters.”

“The highlight for me was hearing who the guest conductor would be,” Beth Hunt from Park Ridge, Illinois, said. “I would have loved to see the look on Cardinal George’s face when they called his name.”

For Gale Kappe, Chicago Magazine events coordinator, the Chicago concert fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams. Kappe received an invitation to sing with the choir during their sound check. Describing the experience she said, “The only time I’ve felt such emotion is at the birth of my two children.”

Craig Jessop, the choir’s music director, commented on the success of the 2007 tour thus far. “It’s humbling to see the affection that the American public has for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, especially since the vast majority of our audiences are not of our faith. The response has been tremendous.”

The choir performed in Chautauqua, New York, and Cleveland earlier this week and has three final concerts this weekend in Cincinnati and in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee.

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