News Story

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Launches 2009 Summer Tour

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square began their summer tour Thursday with a performance in Cincinnati, Ohio. (A regularly updated list of news coverage from the tour can be found here)

Given the choir’s latest chart-topping CD release, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and most recent inclusion in National Geographic’s “USA101” as one of America’s top icons, the choir’s musical message of hope, strength and joy seems timelier than ever.

“I think people, especially in these times, resonate with the songs and hymns sung by the choir,” says Mack Wilberg, music director. “There is something for everyone, from the classics to Broadway, from music of the world to American folk hymns and spirituals.”

The choir will perform such crowd favorites as “Amazing Grace,” “Danny Boy,” and of course its Grammy Award-winning rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Also on the program is the rousing Nigerian carol “Betelehemu,” which, according to the choir’s announcer, Lloyd Newell, “won’t be like anything you’ve heard from this choir.” It combines singing, clapping, shouting, and swaying, while accompanied by stirring percussion music.

Also included on the repertoire are a number of African-American spirituals, some featuring choir member Alex Boyé as soloist, including “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” and “Rock-a-My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”

Since its first tour outside of Utah in 1893, the choir has toured extensively across the United States and abroad. It has performed throughout Europe and in music capitols from Israel and Russia to Japan and Australia. Its travels have also included performances at the inaugurations of six U.S. presidents.

The all-volunteer, 360-voice choir, accompanied frequently by the similarly all-volunteer orchestra, can be heard weekly as part of the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. This 30-minute program is the world’s longest continuously running network broadcast, now in its 80th year. It currently airs on over 2,000 radio, TV, cable and satellite stations worldwide.

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