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Tabernacle Choir leaders announce 4 ‘high-level’ objectives; 2022 Heritage Tour canceled

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square President Mike Leavitt, center, with first counselor Elder L. Whitney Clayton, left, and second counselor Gary B. Porter. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square perform at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs live during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on Dec. 5, 2021. Credit: Screenshot from YouTube

In a virtual gathering Thursday, Feb. 17, with members of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square organization, choir President Mike Leavitt identified four new “high-level objectives” for the famed organization — while also announcing the cancellation of the oft-postponed international 2022 Heritage Tour.

The four objectives, according to a choir release, “will set a bold and historic direction” for the Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square.

Acting on counsel from President Russell M. Nelson, President Leavitt and his counselors — President L. Whitney Clayton and President Gary B. Porter — have spent the past several months prayerfully seeking “innovative and transformative ways” for the choir to meet the “mission of the Church” moving forward.

The choir presidency met recently with the First Presidency to ask for approval of the four objectives. “President Nelson and his counselors expressed their enthusiastic approval of what we will discuss with you tonight,” noted President Leavitt in the release.

Objective 1: Expand the choir’s digital audience

Hundreds of thousands currently subscribe to choir social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter.

The choir now aspires to measure this reach in the tens of millions, by seeking new and more diverse audiences worldwide and moving from CDs and DVDs to streaming on social media and evolving with technology, according to the release. 

A group of experts is being assembled within and outside of Church headquarters to address how this can be accomplished.

Objective 2: Magnify the choir’s missionary role

“It is often easier to start a gospel conversation by making a gift of sacred music to a friend or stranger than it is to ask direct questions about their faith,” said President Clayton. “We also believe there are ways the choir and orchestra can give a boost to the missions of the Church as they perform around the world.”

Objective 3: Ensure that the choir reflects the Church’s worldwide mission

President Leavitt explained that an important element of the third objective is for the choir to reflect the nature of the Church’s global membership, according to the release. 

“This has been a conversation for many years and earnest efforts have been made to incorporate members whose heritage reflects the worldwide Church,” he added. “The First Presidency has authorized the choir presidency to explore new alternatives that will help us accomplish this objective.”

Objective 4: Increase worldwide visibility

The Tabernacle Choir periodically conducts tours in support of the Church’s mission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

“It is our objective to become even more visible worldwide,” said President Leavitt. “We plan to be seen in more countries where the choir’s physical presence will make a difference by lifting missionary work, inspiring member devotion and building important friendships for the Church.” 

2022 Heritage Tour canceled

The choir presidency also announced that the choir and orchestra’s long-anticipated 2022 Heritage Tour to the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom has, unfortunately, been canceled. The recent omicron surge of the COVID-19 virus has not allowed for the extensive preparation demanded of such a sizable endeavor.

The Heritage Tour was originally scheduled for 2020 and was later postponed in 2021.

Further details about the tour cancellation, including information on ticket refunds, will be posted when available at tabchoir.org/tour.

In addition to the choir’s four new objectives, President Porter announced that the choir will make major investments in information technology, innovations to expand wardrobe production capacity and ways to increase and elevate the use of the Choir School.

At the end of Thursday night’s meeting, President Leavitt stressed to members of the choir organization that they had only received a framework for the future and there would be more details and specifics over the next three months, the release noted. 

He encouraged members to think of these changes as gradual — occurring over multiple years, but with astonishing results. 

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