The new president of the already famous Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square unveiled the framework of living plans to radically expand the choir’s global impact during a virtual meeting with the choir on Thursday evening.
President Mike Leavitt announced four new goals to:
- Reach more countries on future international tours.
- Significantly grow the digital audience of the choir.
- Diversify its composition.
- Play a greater role in the missionary efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
At the same time, he announced that the choir had canceled its planned tour of Europe. The tour of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Wales and Scotland was scheduled for 2020, but was first postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then again to 2022 .
“Omicron’s recent push did not allow for the months-long preparation necessary for the choir to be able to accomplish the diplomatic and missionary objectives of the tour,” he said. “While summer conditions may have changed to make the trip possible, the circumstances simply do not allow us to prepare adequately.”
Leavitt, a former governor of Utah who also served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said when he was called as the choir’s new chairman last August by President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church leader asked him and his advisers to find ways to innovate and transform the choir to meet the mission of the church.
“President Nelson and his advisers have expressed their enthusiastic approval of what we will be discussing with you this evening,” Leavitt told the choir.
Leavitt said the four new goals announced Thursday are a framework and more details will be provided over the next three months. He said the goals would be achieved over several years.
Here are the four goals:
Expand the choir’s digital audience
The Tabernacle Choir’s social media audience now numbers in the hundreds of thousands. For example, the choir’s Twitter account has 116,600 subscribers. His Facebook page has 571,000 followers.
Leavitt said the Temple Square Choir and Orchestra will now aspire to reach tens of millions of people on these and other platforms.
Leavitt said the choir will start by moving away from CDs and DVDs and embracing social media streaming, as it does on the choir’s YouTube channel, which has 625,000 subscribers.
The choir is assembling a team of experts inside and outside church headquarters to launch its social media efforts.
It also plans to invest heavily in information technology, said Gary Porter, one of Leavitt’s advisers to the choir’s presidency.
Leavitt became the choir’s new president in August and added Elder L. Whitney Clayton and Porter as advisors.
Maximize the missionary role of the choir
“It is often easier to start a conversation about the gospel by gifting sacred music to a friend or stranger than asking direct questions about their faith,” Elder Clayton said. “We also believe that there are ways in which the choir and orchestra can give a boost to church missions as they perform around the world.”
Diversify to reflect the global church
“An important part of that goal is for the choir to reflect the nature of the church’s global membership,” Leavitt said. “This has been a topic of conversation for many years and serious efforts have been made to include members whose heritage reflects the global church. The First Presidency has authorized the choir presidency to explore new alternatives that will help us accomplish this goal. »
Increase the global visibility of the choir
Leavitt said the choir wanted to tour more countries to make the choir more visible internationally.
“We plan to be seen in more countries where the physical presence of the choir will make a difference in uplifting missionary work, inspiring devotion in members and forming important friendships for the church,” he said. declared.
Porter said the choir would also make a major investment to expand its wardrobe production capacity and look for ways to increase and elevate usage of the choir school.
Omicron cancels choir rehearsals and performances again
The initial COVID-19 outbreak prevented the choir from rehearsing together or performing the weekly live television and radio broadcasts of “Music and the Spoken Word” for 555 days.
The choir resumed rehearsals in September and live broadcasts of “La musique et la parole” in October.
However, the choir halted rehearsals again last month when the Omicron outbreak worsened. It resumed airing encore shows of its weekly show on January 9.
The choir now tentatively plans to resume its regular weekly rehearsal schedule on March 3 with a live broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” on March 6, choir spokeswoman Kim Farah told Deseret News.
The Tabernacle Choir usually tours frequently. The choir has made 10 tours since 2000, mainly in the United States and Canada. In 2016 the choir performed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The choir’s last tour dates back to 2018, when it visited California, British Columbia and Washington State.
The choir originally booked the following venues for the 2020 tour which was postponed and eventually canceled on Thursday:
- Konserthuset Stockholm in Stockholm.
- Finlandia Hall in Helsinki.
- DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Denmark.
- Oslo, Norway.
- St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Wales.
- International Convention Center Wales in Cardiff, Wales.
- Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Further details on tour cancellation, including ticket refund information, will be posted as they become available at tabchoir.org/tour.
The choir’s roots date back to 1847. It was named the Mormon Tabernacle Choir when the Tabernacle was completed in 1867 and first toured in 1893. Its name was changed to The Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square in 2018.