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For first time in 2 years, Tabernacle Choir performs for the general public with ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ Pioneer Day concert


Friday night’s Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square concert marked a long-anticipated reunion for the talented musicians and their legions of fans.

For the first time since March of 2020, the choir and orchestra performed in front of the general public for a choir/orchestra event. (The choir has participated live in recent general conferences and other events for limited audiences.)

The thousands who attended Friday’s event — timed to coincide with the upcoming Pioneer Day celebration in Utah — were thrilled to once again be sharing an evening of  music and message with the storied choir and orchestra.

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Scott Bernhisel holds his wife Rosalie before The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra perform “Love Thy Neighbor: A Special Tabernacle Choir Event” at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

“I enjoyed the evening so much; the best music in the world,” said Roslyn Geertsen of Cedar Hills, Utah.

Her husband, Jay Geertsen, added “there were so many songs tonight that spoke to my heart. So uplifting and positive.”

Titled “Love Thy Neighbor,” the concert included music and narration issuing a call for all to follow Christ’s example and care for one another, especially during the turbulent times of the day.

An anchoring mission of the choir and orchestra is to inspire and lift others — and Friday’s concert fulfilled that sacred charge.

Musical highlights Friday included tributes to the Latter-day Saint pioneers, along with songs that harmonized with the evening’s theme: “Love thy neighbor” (Matthew 22:39).

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The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra perform “Love Thy Neighbor: A Special Tabernacle Choir Event” at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

Selections included the hopeful “Fill the World with Love” from “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “Love One Another,” “Where Love Is,” “This Little Light of Mine” and “Hold On” from “The Secret Garden.”

And no Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day concert is complete without a performance of “Come, Come Ye Saints.”

Friday’s concert also included several performances from featured soloist, baritone Shea Owens — including “There But for You Go I” from “Brigadoon.”

Owens, now the director of opera at Brigham Young University, was recently a member of the ensemble at Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland. He also recently sang his first performances of the title role of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with BYU’s choirs at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. He also returned this season to Utah Opera as Samuel in “The Pirates of Penzance.”

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Shea Owens, the director of opera at Brigham Young University, sings during “Love Thy Neighbor: A Special Tabernacle Choir Event” at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

The concert, which was conducted by choir music director Mack Wilberg and associate music director Ryan Murphy, also featured stories and narrations anchored to the evening’s theme, “Love Thy Neighbor” —  including the Savior’s account of the Good Samaritan.

Friday’s event included a new, interactive feature. Audience members were invited to scan a QR code that opened a link to a new music video demonstrating the joy found in loving one’s neighbor.” The audience was then given a few minutes during the concert to share the link with friends and on social media. 

“We both posted the video on our Facebook pages,” said Jay Geertsen.

Consider Friday’s new video a Pioneer Day gift from the choir and orchestra.

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will return to the Conference Center on Saturday, July 16, to again perform “Love Thy Neighbor: A Special Tabernacle Choir Event.”

The event will also be streamed on Saturday, July 16, at 8 p.m. Mountain Time on the choir’s YouTube channel, on the choir’s website and the Church’s Live Broadcast page. It will be aired  on BYUtv on Sunday, July 24, at 3:30 p.m. Mountain Time and will also be available on BYUtv.org, the BYUtv app and the KSL TV app. 

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Crowd members use their phones after scanning a QR code to watch and share a video during the performance of “Love Thy Neighbor: A Special Tabernacle Choir Event” at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

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Crowd members watch the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra perform “Love Thy Neighbor: A Special Tabernacle Choir Event” at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

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