“Orchestra Celebrates 10 Years on Temple Square,” Ensign, Oct. 2009, 78–79
The nationally recognized Orchestra at Temple Square, officially organized on October 16, 1999, marked its 10th anniversary year in late March with two spring concerts.
The orchestra, originally envisioned by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), comprises more than 100 musicians of diverse ages and backgrounds. Church leaders created the orchestra to enhance the musical organizations within the Church.
Mac Christensen, president of the Tabernacle Choir, said: “I call it President Hinckley’s orchestra. He had the vision; he brought it together; he knew what it could be. … I think it is the finest volunteer orchestra in the world.”
While some orchestra members make their living with music outside of the orchestra, other volunteers are employed as university faculty, engineers, dentists, attorneys, physicians, and in many other professions. There are also “lots of moms,” explained Kathy Anderson, violist, who plays in the orchestra with her cardiologist husband, Jeff.
The orchestra performs frequently in both concerts and recordings with the Tabernacle Choir, including during the weekly television and radio broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word. It also accompanies the Temple Square Chorale and performs on its own as a concert orchestra.
On November 12, 2003, the orchestra and the Tabernacle Choir received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The orchestra and choir were also nominated for Grammy Awards in 2008.