Changes in Temple Square Music Groups
March 1999

“Changes in Temple Square Music Groups,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 80

Changes in Temple Square Music Groups

Changes and appointments have been announced that affect Church-sponsored musical groups based at Temple Square in Salt Lake City: the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony.

Beginning in summer 1999, a new choir, the Temple Square Chorale, will take the place of the Mormon Youth Chorus. This new chorus will be a training choir for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. At the same time, the Mormon Youth Symphony will be renamed the Orchestra at Temple Square and will accept qualified musicians without regard to age. Prior to the changes, the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony will perform its traditional Easter concert on 16–17 April and a culminating concert on 21–22 May. Robert C. Bowden, musical director of the chorus and symphony for more than 25 years, is retiring.

Also this summer, the minimum age to audition for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be lowered from 30 to 25. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Temple Square Chorale, and the Orchestra at Temple Square will be united under one Church-service president, Wendell Smoot, who is assisted by a full-time administrator. Jerold D. Ottley continues as musical director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with Craig Jessop serving as associate director.

The First Presidency has named two new associate directors of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Mack Wilberg, professor of music at Brigham Young University, and Barlow Bradford, director of orchestras at the University of Utah, will join the choir on 1 May 1999 upon completion of their current academic responsibilities. In addition to their Mormon Tabernacle Choir roles, Brother Wilberg will be responsible for the Temple Square Chorale and Brother Bradford will be responsible for the Orchestra at Temple Square.

Of the new appointments, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “With the rapid growth of the Church and the planned completion of the new assembly building in the year 2000, it becomes more important than ever before to provide the very best musical talent and leadership to meet the demands of the coming century.”