“The Other Strains,” Ensign, Oct. 1991, 53
Why do members of the Church love the Tabernacle Choir so much? Many are the reasons. Surely one is that in this great, wonderful mass of voices symbolic of the Church, we see something of ourselves. When we look and listen, we see no prima donna. Yet the glorious whole is filled with distinct faces and personalities, each joyfully doing his or her part.
Besides the glorious voices of the 313 choir members on tour, there were other sounds to enhance each performance—the sounds created by the highly skilled accompanists who nightly provided a musical backdrop for the choir, and the sounds of gifted individual soloists whose artistry bejeweled an already glittering array of musical talent. Accompanying the choir on piano and on organ, where possible, were Tabernacle organists Robert Cundick and John Longhurst. Brother Longhurst also played an organ solo at selected concerts. New to this tour was an electronic synthesizer that was used to duplicate harp, horn, plucked-string bass, and some percussive sounds. It was played principally by new Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott. JoAnn South Ottley, soprano, and Elizabeth Ballantyne Elliott, pianist, performed as soloists. Percussionist Ron Brough, clarinetist Vance Everett, and flutists Kathy Parker and Debra Gehris accompanied the choir. In addition, twenty-five choir members stepped forward to sing solos, duets, or quartets as part of the choir’s performance.
“What a pleasure it is to be one of the musicians who accompany the choir, one of the organists who serve,” says Robert Cundick, senior Tabernacle organist, who is retiring this fall. “I put my ego in the closet years ago. I don’t miss it at all. It is the effectiveness of a team, of people all cooperating together, that makes great music.”