The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs during the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Friday, Feb. 8, 2002.|
Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs during the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Friday, Feb. 8, 2002.
Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir prepares to sing “America the Beautiful” at the inauguration of Donald Trump, Jan. 20, 2017.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Women hold their hands over their hearts during “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Sunrise Service, presented by the Pioneer Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.
Credit: Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Musical director Mack Wilberg conducts Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Constitution Day Concert in the Salt Lake Tabernacle sponsored by the Utah Chapter, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
Credit: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
In Spokane, Wash., the Tabernacle Choir performs variety of folk and patriotic music.
Credit: Photo by Marene Foulger
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings at the National Convention Patriotic Religious Service for the American Legion convention Aug. 28, 2006, in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
Credit: Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret Morning News
At Pioneer Day Commemoration Concert in the Conference Center, the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform “God Bless America.”
Credit: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Thousands gathered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the Church and LDS Scouting Relationships Conference stand to pay respect to the American flag.
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Patriotic crowd of 600,000 found cheering for Boston Pops and Tabernacle Choir music about America was easy and spontaneous at nation’s premiere Independence Day celebration in Boston, Mass.
Credit: Photo by Gerry Avant
New Tabernacle Choir CD features patriotic music.
The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square presented “9/11, Coming Together” on Sept. 11, 2021.
Credit: Screenshot from YouTube
The Tabernacle Choir performs for the “Today” show at the Tabernacle, Sept. 11, 2002.
Credit: Michael Brandy, Deseret News
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square sings the national anthem during the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Feb. 8, 2002.
Credit: Johanna Workman, Deseret News
Known as “America’s choir,” The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has been recognized and honored by peers and critics, leaders of countries and enthusiastic audiences around the world. Some of its best-known and most-loved songs are patriotic numbers from the United States of America, and the choir has often been invited to sing these songs at events containing reflection, commemoration or celebration.
Below are some of these highlights from the Church News archives.
1. ‘A tragic, solemn and dark day,’ Sept. 11, 2001
“In a day darkened by the ugly face of hatred there is shining through the heavy overcast of fear and anger the solemn and wonderful image of the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, the Exemplar of universal love — and it is to Him that we look in these circumstances,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley during a Sept. 11 memorial service held the evening of the day terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
2. Opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics, Feb. 8, 2002
There were 55,000 attending in person and some 3.5 billion viewers globally who tuned into the Olympics opening ceremonies on Feb. 8, 2002. The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, then known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was part of those ceremonies, where U.S. President George W. Bush opened the Games.
3. Singing with the Boston Pops in Boston, Mass., on July 4, 2003
More than 600,000 people packed Boston’s Esplanade by the Charles River for a concert during the choir’s 2003 summer tour, when it performed at the annual Fourth of July Celebration on the Esplanade — called America’s premier Independence Day celebration.
Keith Lockhart, director of the Boston Pops as well as the Utah Symphony, said in his opening comment, “If the Boston Pops is America’s symphony then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is America’s choir.”
4. Spiritual emphasis in patriotic ceremony, Aug. 27, 2006
From the posting of the American flag, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square performing the national anthem at the beginning to the sounding of taps at the conclusion, the program was just what it was promoted to be — a patriotic ceremony with a spiritual emphasis. The Pledge of Allegiance almost seemed to be a prayer; many struggled to control emotion-choked voices.
5. Special 9/11 memorial performance, Sept. 11, 2011
Mack Wilberg, music director for the choir, said: “As much sorrow and grief as came from 9/11, there have also come positives. In this program, we wanted to show how the indomitable American spirit turned a tragedy into a triumph of coming together and caring and serving. The message of this show is that, as individuals and as a nation, we can find healing and strength in adversity and literally rise above all the negatives.”
6. Pregame singing of the national anthem at Yankee Stadium, July 3, 2015
In front of 18,000 fans, the 320 singers opened the Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays by performing “Cohan’s Big Three,” a medley of show tunes featuring “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” They topped it off with a rendition of the U.S. national anthem, which is traditionally sung at the beginning of ballgames.
Find out the backstory of how they got there and read about the other stops on the tour, including New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Wang Theater
7. Tabernacle Choir joins with band at West Point for Independence Day celebration, July 4, 2015
In addition to “Alma Mater,” a traditional song of the U.S. Military Academy, the choir and the West Point Band, supplemented by the string section from the Orchestra at Temple Square, performed a selection of patriotic songs, including “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “America the Beautiful,” the national anthem and the choir’s signature piece “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
8. Singing at a seventh presidential inauguration, Jan. 20, 2017
“It is an act of state, not of politics,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said of the inauguration ceremony. “Its primary purpose is for the president-elect to take the constitutionally required oath of office, and for the people by witnessing it to bind him to that oath.
“It is a time to reaffirm collectively the enduring principles that have sustained this country for over 200 years, including the peaceful transfer of power, which remains a remarkable event even in this modern world.”
9. Tabernacle Choir special ‘Coming Together’ commemorates 20th anniversary of 9/11
Television journalist Jane Clayson Johnson hosted the program: “Having had a front-row seat as a news commentator, it is an honor for me to be part of this ‘Coming Together’ special commemorating human kindness during the tragedy of 9/11,” she said. “In a way, this special parallels the challenges in today’s world and reminds us that embracing each other with love and respect can help heal the human heart.”
More from the archives
- When the Tabernacle Choir has performed for U.S. presidents, Feb. 15, 2022
- Irving Berlin tribute during RootsTech, March 21, 2013
- Choir television program salutes armed forces, Nov. 11, 2011
- Diamond Jubilee for America’s choir, July 17-18, 2004
- Singers perform at celebration in BYU stadium, July 2, 1994
- As choir sings at Freedom Week program, patriotism rings in the Tabernacle, Feb. 24, 1994
- Choir launches tour in historic Virginia, on 500th anniversary of Columbus’ journey, July 20, 1992
- Choir performs best-loved songs of patriotism, July 1, 1989
- Choir honored for love of God, country, Nov. 20, 1988