The Sunday “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast text is now available in 16 languages, according to the The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s website.
In 2020, the “Music & the Spoken Word” messages were being translated and distributed in languages — English, Spanish, Portuguese and French — and the English broadcasts were being streamed on the choir’s YouTube channel. By the end of 2020, the choir began streaming on the country Facebook pages of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is its sponsoring organization. The streams include language subtitles for the spoken introduction and concluding sign-off, the song titles and the “Spoken Word” message.
In April 2021, eight more languages were added: Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Romanian, Hungarian, German and Italian. Plus the opening and concluding sign-off were added in an English version with a British accent that has been added for new broadcasts aired on British television and radio.
The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is a half-hour program that includes music from the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and a non-denomination inspirational message on Sundays at 9:30 a.m., Mountain Time.
“It is miraculous how the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up opportunities for The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square since its outbreak. People everywhere are seeking anything that provides a measure of light in these darkened times. It is therefore little wonder that our audiences have responded so favorably to ‘Music & the Spoken Word’ since its introduction in these new countries and languages,” said Brian Cordray, the Europe Area Publishing Services manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The choir through the pandemic
The choir paused rehearsals and performances in March 2020, and in-person rehearsals resumed on Sept. 21, 2021. During that time, the weekly “Music & the Spoken Word” continued to air from the repertoire of previous broadcasts and were selected by director Mack Wilberg. In late 2020, announcer Lloyd Newell began recording new “Spoken Word” messages that were inserted into the broadcasts.
As in-person rehearsals resumed, choir officials implemented a layered strategy, including vaccinations, testing at every rehearsal and event, self-reporting, and ventilation.
The choir sang during the Church’s general conference in early October and the choir resumed live “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcasts on Oct. 24. The choir and orchestra performed live at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional. The choir, orchestra and bells, along with guest artists, recorded a Celtic-theme Christmas performance.
General conference, the devotional and the Christmas performance had limited in-person attendance.
Live performances and rehearsals were once again paused in January 2022 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Editor's note: The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square resumed in-person rehearsals on Thursday, March 3, and the "Music & the Spoken Word" was broadcast live on Sunday, March 6.