NEW YORK "I felt as though I was carried on a cloud of sound," said one of America's most respected broadcasters, Charles Osgood, of sharing the stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in New York's Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center July 2.
The occasion was a concert launching the choir's 75th anniversary of continuous broadcasting. The concert was one of 11 on a tour by the choir and a 25-member ensemble from the Orchestra at Temple Square. (Please see pages 6 and 7.)
Mr. Osgood presented a narration during a segment on the legacy of broadcasting. As he spoke, the choir hummed "Pledge of Allegiance," music which he had composed.
"The choir's humming lifts you up," he told the Church News backstage after rehearsal.
"I've been a great fan of the Tabernacle Choir; it's one of the world's great choirs. It's very inspirational."
He said the choir "sings from the heart." He mentioned a piano competition at which no first prize was awarded. "One of the judges said that [the contestants] played wonderfullywith their fingers."
But, the judge told him, "You don't play with your fingers; you play with your heart."
Regarding the opportunity to appear with the Tabernacle Choir, Mr. Osgood said, "I would have gone to Salt Lake City to do this."
The concert in Avery Fisher Hall launched a yearlong commemoration of the 75th year of continuous broadcasting by the choir. Mr. Osgood noted that he has been with CBS network for 36 years, more than half the time "Music and the Spoken Word" has been on the air.
Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Seventy and president of the North America Northeast Area presented a plaque to Mr. Osgood for CBS Radio Network and its owner, Westwood One, for making possible this anniversary.
President Gordon B. Hinckley had been scheduled to participate on the concert program; however, he was unable to attend because of a change in his schedule. Elder Condie read remarks President Hinckley had prepared.
"This old world boasts many excellent choirs, but I think none is quite as good as this, the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir," wrote President Hinckley.
Further, he noted, "The genius of the choir lies in the fact that its members are all volunteers who sing with a spirit of consecration. "They include the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,' the doctor, the lawyer, the merchant, the educator, the housewife. They come from all walks of life, all joined together in a common faith and in a great spirit of love one for another, for humanity, for their Church, and for God. They are men and women of faith whose love reaches out to all mankind."
Of the 75th anniversary milestone, President Hinckley wrote, "What a remarkable achievement. The great entertainers of radio and television have come and gone through the years, while every Sabbath morning 'Music and the Spoken Word' is carried across the nation and the world by some 2,000 stations."
The Lincoln Center concert was by invitation only. In the near-capacity audience were some 2,200 political, civic, business, religious and community leaders, educators, celebrities and other dignitaries. Among them were New York Gov. George Pataki and actress Cicely Tyson.
At a luncheon the day of the concert New York State Sen. David A. Paterson presented two proclamations, one honoring the good works of the Church and the other in celebration of the choir's 75th anniversary.