The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is a volunteer 360-voice choir for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Choir’s weekly broadcast, which began in 1929, is the world’s longest continuing network broadcast. The Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square has been the home of the Choir since 1867.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square dates back more than 150 years. When Latter-day Saints moved to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, the President of the Church, Brigham Young, requested a choir for a Church conference—29 days after the pioneers arrived. Since that time, the Choir has become an internationally known, highly respected musical phenomenon. Its weekly radio and television broadcast has run continually since 1929.
Members of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square serve by sharing their voices through the power of music. The Choir’s website states that it “is dedicated to the universal language of music that has the power to bring joy, peace, and healing to its listeners. This unique music organization transcends cultural and generational boundaries and brings together people from around the world through stirring music” (“About The Tabernacle Choir,” thetabernaclechoir.org).
Since its formation in 1847, the Choir has performed at World Fairs, inaugurations of United States presidents, and renowned concert halls around the globe including in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Australia. In 1959 the Choir won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” After the song was performed at President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, he declared, “There is no more inspirational moment for any American—and that includes Ronald Reagan—than to hear the … Choir sing ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on’” (“President Reagan Reacts to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Singing ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,’” thetabernaclechoir.org). Reagan nicknamed the group “America’s Choir.”
The Choir’s sound is widely known thanks in part to its home, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, with its unique acoustics and the famous 11,623-pipe organ. The Choir provides weekly performances in its broadcast, Music & the Spoken Word. Visitors can attend Thursday night rehearsals. The Choir performs in various concerts on Temple Square throughout the year, including the famous Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir.
The Orchestra at Temple Square and the Bells on Temple Square are also part of the Choir organization. The Orchestra was established in 1999 as a companion ensemble to the Choir and is made up of 85 musicians at a time from a roster of more than 200 volunteers. The Bells are a hand-bell choir made up of 32 volunteers. Both the Orchestra and the Bells provide instrumental support to the Choir for concerts and broadcasts. Daily organ recitals are also held in the Tabernacle and in other locations around Temple Square.