How the Historic Events of Last April’s General Conference Inspired a New CD from the Tabernacle Choir
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News associate editor
- The new CD, “Let Us All Press On: Hymns of Praise and Inspiration,” is available beginning March 8.
To say history was made at the April 2018 general conference seems an understatement. Highlights from that sunny spring weekend (March 31 to April 1) that forever changed the Church included:
- An Asian American and a South American were called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, both firsts.
- Priesthood quorums were restructured, meeting the needs of congregations wherever they might be in the world.
- Home and visiting teaching were retired, replaced by a “ministering” model to meet the unique needs of each member in each congregation.
- Seven new temples were announced—including first-ever temples in India, Nicaragua, and Russia.
- And, perhaps most significantly, Latter-day Saints across the globe rose to their feet and sustained President Russell M. Nelson as the Church’s 17th President.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square concluded that remarkable conference by singing a venerable yet timely hymn, “Let Us All Press On.”
Seated at the Conference Center that Sunday afternoon was Tabernacle Choir president Ron Jarrett. Like members everywhere, he marveled at the events of that revelation-defined weekend while listening to the words of that hymn’s collective call to action.
“There was such an energy at conference,” said Jarrett. “I knew that we just had to have a new CD with ‘Let Us All Press On’ and some other great hymns that will allow people to be inspired to really push forward and let the music of the choir fill their lives with that kind of drive and spirit.”
The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square CD he envisioned—aptly entitled Let Us All Press On: Hymns of Praise and Inspiration—is ready for release on March 8. The recording features 14 hymns—including the eponymous track and several other beloved selections such as “Press Forward, Saints,” “Rejoice, the Lord Is King!” and “Have I Done Any Good?”
Also offered is “Our Prayer to Thee,” a hymn with text written by President Nelson that was sung by the Tabernacle Choir during the October 2018 general conference. The CD recording features a full accompaniment with the Orchestra at Temple Square.
Choosing 14 hymns from a massive inventory of potential selections proved daunting, said choir and orchestra music director Mack Wilberg. But the selection criteria was guided by the energizing events happening today in the Church.
“We tried to select hymns that were joyous,” he said. Even the more meditative selections “still have a feeling of solace and comfort.”
Wilberg is certain the music found on the new CD will remain relevant for future generations of listeners.
President Nelson accepted Jarrett’s invitation to attend the Saturday afternoon recording session of “Our Prayer to Thee.” The choir and orchestra did not know they would be having a special visitor in the recording audience.
“It was a great surprise when he walked in at just the right time when we were going to begin the recording of his hymn,” said Jarrett. “It sent an electrical shot of adrenaline through the orchestra and the choir. Everyone perked up and was so excited after working so hard.”
President Nelson remained in the Tabernacle for the entire recording session of his hymn before sharing a few appreciative words with the orchestra and choir.
“What a great experience that was,” said Jarrett.
The entire CD was recorded at the Tabernacle “loft” utilizing the latest recording equipment and expertise. Wilberg said quilts were draped across the benches on the main level to dampen any outside noise.
The release of Let Us All Press On: Hymns of Praise and Inspiration marks another chapter from an already busy season for the choir and orchestra. Beyond their traditional performing schedule, they performed in seven different cities in California; Washington; and Vancouver, Canada, during the 2018 Classic Coast Tour. The choir and orchestra also shared the Conference Center stage with actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth last December during the organization’s annual Christmas concert.
Let Us All Press On: Hymns of Praise and Inspiration is available, via pre-order, at deseretbook.com, and arrives in stores on March 8. Additional information can be found on the Tabernacle Choir website.