The Glorious Sound of Music
Singing has been an important part of the Mormon religion ever since Brigham Young led his followers west in wagon trains, making sure that musicians were along to keep the pioneers’ morale high and their eyes on God.
The first Mormon choir sang in what is now Salt Lake City soon after Young and his ragged following arrived in 1847. Twenty years later, the now famous domed Mormon Tabernacle was inaugurated on the very same spot.
The acoustically perfect 6,500-seat structure is regularly filled with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and with visitors, many of whom have become familiar with the 360-member choir and its 11,623-pipe organ through recordings or its weekly radio show.
The peripatetic choir fills theaters and opera houses around the globe, and while they sound nothing less than professional, they’re in fact a strictly volunteer organization, made up of professors, insurance agents, secretaries, and homemakers. Every Sunday morning choir performance is emotional and rafter raising, but the annual Christmas concert pulls out all stops with a well-known guest singer, a full orchestra, and that infectious holiday spirit.
The Tabernacle is located in the heart of the city in Temple Square, as revered by Mormons as the Vatican is by Catholics. Anchoring this 35-acre compound is the granite, six-spired Salt Lake I Temple, symbol of a movement that entered the i 20th century as the most persecuted creed in America, and begins the 21st as one of its most robust, with close to 12 million members, half of them outside the United States. Unfortunately, the temple is open only to church members.