The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square entertained and delighted audiences during their tour to the Upper Midwest June 12-21. However, their mission was something far beyond notes, chords, voices and instruments – although these were certainly modes for carrying out their quest.
Their mission, according to Elder Craig A. Cardon of the Seventy, was beyond excellence in choral and orchestral performances. Elder Cardon and his wife, Sister Deborah Cardon, traveled with the choir and orchestra on the tour.
“The choir and orchestra have a mission that comes from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve,” Elder Cardon said. “It is a mission to convey the love of the Savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ, to communicate through a language of the soul this beautiful message for all of God's children, to let them feel that love and experience it.
“This gospel will fill the earth in this dispensation. This choir and orchestra are playing a central and significant role in opening hearts and minds with the love of this medium of music that God has given us to feel and sense. They are able to communicate beautifully and in a way no one else can communicate. Their message was received by many people on this tour. They shared the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son. That message has been communicated through the gift of His Spirit.
Elder and Sister Cardon not only attended all six concerts on the tour, they also sang with the choir. During the tour the choir and orchestra had sound checks at each concert venue. Shortly after the choir arrived in Madison, Elder and Sister Cardon were invited to sing with the choir during that sound check.
Standing on a concert stage singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir isn’t the typical place to find a General Authority and his wife.
Elder Cardon said, “Standing in the midst of those wonderful people with that wonderful talent and singing with them helped us feel what they were feeling also. During the tour, we received the benefit of their performance and we felt that. When we stood among them we felt, in a small measure, what they feel as they perform and the love with which they do this.
“When the tour began we were thrilled to just be with the choir and experience what they were experiencing. As we began to go to various venues and performances we began to see the reactions personally. We saw things the choir and orchestra could not see from the stage as we sat in the audience. One of the things that was most impressive to me was seeing multigenerational families seated together enjoying the experience -- a grandfather, a father and a grandson or a grandmother, mother and granddaughter. It was a rich experience to see what they were seeing and to feel what they were feeling.”
Elder Cardon said he didn’t think things could get any better than just being with the choir and attending the concerts. But actually singing with the choir “was the frosting on the cake,” he said.
“A lot has been said about them being volunteers,” he said. “We hear about them being away from their families and the devotion they give to us every week with their practices. I thought of all that and how expertly they perform. It was an honor and a privilege to stand and sing with them.”
During the tour, the choir and orchestra performed six concerts: Columbus, Ohio, on June 12; Indianapolis, Ind., on June 14; Ravinia Music Festival (near Chicago), Ill., on June 15; Milwaukee, Wis., on June 17; Madison, Wis., on June 18; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., on June 20.
En route form Milwaukee to Minneapolis on June 19, the choir sang at a ceremony in Black River Falls, Wis., in honor Latter-day Saints who served in the “logging mission” to cut and mill timber to help build up Nauvoo, Ill., in the early 1840s. The choir, orchestra and guests had lunch at the Highground Veterans Memorial Park at Neillsville, Wis., and watched a brief program about the LDS logging mission to central Wisconsin.