The Basics of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is made up of 360 voices (all members of the church) ranging in ages from 25 to 60. The choir regularly rehearses and performs where it resides in the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. The choir, marked as one of the oldest and largest choirs in the world, has performed for a handful of presidents, recorded and sold millions of albums, broadcasts a 30 minute program over 2,000 radio and TV stations, and regularly tours across the United States and the world.
The Choir's History:
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was founded in 1847, about a month after the first group of church members moved west to Salt Lake City, though earlier church locations had choirs too. Since it's inception, the choir's first national tour was in 1893, where it performed at the Chicago World's Fair. Later, it toured in Europe, Central America, Brazil, Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, Central Europe, Eastern Asia, the former Soviet Union, and Israel. The choir has also performed for Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (who nicknamed the choir "America's Choir"), George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
Music and the Spoken Word:
Music and the Spoken Work is a 30-minute broadcast of music and words of inspiration. What began on July 15, 1929, as a small production where the organ, choir, and announcer shared a single microphone, is now America's longest running nationwide network broadcast. The opening line first said at its first broadcast, "From the crossroads of the West, we welcome you to a program of inspirational music and spoken word," has opened every single broadcast to this day. Today, Music and the Spoken Work can be heard on over 2,000 radio, television, and cable network stations.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Recordings:
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has recorded 130 records, of which several have won awards. In 1959, the choir received a Grammy Award for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." in 1987, for its production of "Christmas Sampler," a musical special with Shirley Verrett, the choir won an Emmy Award. Two of the choir's albums have gone "platinum" and five have gone "gold."
The Choir's Organ:
With over 11,000 pipes, the organ's giant size and distinctive sound has become a vital component to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The church's first organ was delivered via boat from Australia in the 1800's! When the new church was built in Salt Lake City in 1867, a new organ was built to fit the space. Since then, the organ has been remodeled and renovated five times. Once consisting of 2,000 pipes, it now boasts an impressive 11,623 working pipes (of those, 132 are original).