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LDS Church unveils new programs for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Mexico tour

By Genelle Pugmire - | Nov 18, 2022

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform during the First Presidency Christmas devotional on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.

The sound and soul of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has been known throughout the world and through the numerous music awards it has received.

Through a new mission statement and pilot program, the world will become an even greater part of that group and mission, according to information released Friday.

In a meeting with the entire choir membership this week, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared his vision for the choir.

“The church will continue to grow. It will fill the world. It will continue to bless more and more nations, tongues and people,” Nelson said. “The Lord is hastening his work in the promised global gathering of Israel. You can be sure that the Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra and Bells at Temple Square will be a pivotal part of that era.”

To meet the choir’s expanded global mission, the Choir Presidency unveiled a new mission statement adding three important words, “throughout the world,” to the existing statement. The expanded mission statement now reads: “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs music that inspires people throughout the world to draw closer to the divine and feel God’s love for His children.”

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

Former Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, was named as president of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square as well as all the other musical entities attached to it.

The choir was started Aug. 22, 1847, just one month after pioneers entered Salt Lake Valley. Music has always been an important part of preaching the gospel and worshipping God.

Singers must be members of the church with current temple recommends between the ages of 25 and 55. Current guidelines also say they had to live within 100 miles of Temple Square.

The Choir Presidency further outlined three pilot projects aimed at fulfilling this more global approach. They include expanding access to the weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast throughout the world, increasing the mission impact of choir travel throughout the world, and reflecting the worldwide membership of the church in choir performances, according to the church announcement.

The first efforts to expand “Music and the Spoken Word” will include foreign-language versions of the weekly broadcast in Spanish and Portuguese, with native speakers giving the spoken word and graphics and visuals customized to these geographies. These pilot broadcasts will begin sometime next year.

The choir’s travel assignments will be shorter and more frequent, the church said. Historically, the choir has traveled every two years. Travel will occur at least annually but for a shorter duration, according to the announcement, and the choir will experiment with larger events, joint performances and greater coordination with other church entities.

Courtesy Intellectual Properties

The 360-voice Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square celebrates 90 years in broadcasting "Music & the Spoken Word."

The choir will test this new travel pilot with an assignment to Mexico City from June 13-19, 2023.

Mexico is the home to 1.5 million members of the church with 13 working temples and 10 under construction. The church also has 284 family history centers throughout Mexico.

Lastly, to better reflect the global membership of the worldwide church, plans are being made for qualified Latter-day Saint singers from Mexico, Central America, South America, West Africa, the Philippines and Asia to audition for opportunities to sing with the choir during general conference in April 2023.

Choir President Michael O. Leavitt explained that this is a pilot aimed at building a deeper sense of kinship and attachment with the church and the choir among members and nonmembers of the church in these countries.

“It is possible this will be a one-time event. Or perhaps it will be something we will do periodically,” he said. “The most likely outcome, however, is that through this pilot project we will gradually see new options and possibilities that will help the choir better represent the worldwide church.”

Leavitt said the choir will move forward in faith, one step at a time, as it takes steps to “inspire people throughout the world to draw closer to the divine and feel God’s love for His children.”

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