If there is one thing we love more than anything, it is hearing stirring music performed well. And The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a long and cherished history of providing the world with some of the most harmonious vocal music ever heard.
We just found this video of the Brigham Young University’s men’s ensemble, Vocal Point, performing a classic hymn. Listen and watch as they offer a new interpretation of “Nearer My God To Thee,” that is certain to lift your spirits.
This performance got us to thinking about all the memorable vocal music the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has shared with us through the years. Since many of did not know a whole lot about this amazing group, we thought we’d see what we could find out and share it with you.
The Choir was founded in 1847 just a month after Mormon pioneers entered Salt Lake Valley, near the modern metropolis of Salt Lake City Utah. During their first 20 years, they were very small and undisciplined, but in 1869 George Careless was appointed director of the choir, and soon it grew to over three hundred members.
On September 1, 1910, the Choir recorded their first record, a live performance of “Let the Mountains shout for Joy,” and since July 15, 1929, the choir has performed a weekly radio broadcast called “Music and the Spoken Word”, which is one of the longest-running continuous radio network broadcasts in the world.
Since that first recording over a hundred years ago, the Choir has made over 160 audio recordings and a number of films and videos.
They have had eight number one recordings on the Billboard classical charts, and have won numerous awards including a Grammy award, two Peabodies and two George Washington awards from the Freedom Foundation, and three Emmy awards. Their 1959 recording of Handel’s “Messiah” was included in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2004. They have also earned five gold and two platinum records for sales of their albums.
In 2003, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir formed its own record label.
Many well known singers from virtually every genre have joined them onstage over the years, from the Boston Pops and the Royal Philharmonic of London, to Gladys Knight, James Taylor, Sting, and The Cars’ Ric Ocasek.
The all-volunteer choir has performed in 28 countries and at 13 world’s fairs over the years. Their annual Christmas shows draw more than eighty thousand people to the four performances, and are broadcast globally on major networks. On their very first tour in 1893, they performed in 16 US cities, Israel, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and many European cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, London, Glasgow, Rotterdam, Zurich and Brussels. And that was before air travel had even been invented.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir continues to delight audiences on a global level today. Their weekly televised concerts are broadcast by over fifteen hundred television stations around the world.
Have you ever seen them perform live? What is your favorite piece of music in their repertoire? Please share your thoughts with us here.