The legions tuning in to general conference this weekend won’t hear performances from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Instead, they will listen to The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
Leaders of the world-renowned choir announced the new name Friday morning — saying the change was made “to better align” with its sponsoring organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
An August statement by President Russell M. Nelson prompted the decision:
“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will.”
Choir president Ron Jarrett told the Church News he anticipated a name change following President Nelson’s statement last summer.
“We are at the forefront of the Church as far as brand recognition, so I knew that we would have the opportunity to change our name,” he said. “It is an opportunity to follow the prophet. It is an opportunity to move the choir forward. It is an opportunity to be where we should be.”
Located prominently on Temple Square, the Tabernacle has been home to the choir since 1867. The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square offers a historical nod to the symbiotic connection between the musical organization and the iconic structure.
“It’s a natural fit,” said Jarrett. “'Tabernacle,' because this is our home. 'Temple Square,' because that is where we perform. It’s where we are based and where we serve the Church.”
Renowned for its acoustics, the Tabernacle was built long before amplifiers and electronics. But it remains a superior forum for musical performances. The building is still used as a recording studio for the choir today.
Jarrett said the name change also allows for consistency between the choir and its sister organizations, The Orchestra at Temple Square and The Bells at Temple Square.
“It puts us all together in the same big family. People will be able to recognize that they are all coming from the same source.”
While the name of the choir has changed, its mission and message remain the same, said Jarrett. And yes, the weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast will continue as it has since 1929.
“We will continue to provide the same programming and wonderful music.”
Music director Mack Wilberg said he expects the program’s loyal, global audience to keep growing. “Among the many reasons ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ continues to be relevant worldwide is it conveys hope, joy, and comfort through inspirational music and messages.”
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square will also continue to play a prominent role in general conference. Choir members, said Jarrett, work to better their own lives so they can be “the conduit” of the music during conference.
“It is important for us to be prepared both musically and spiritually for this event. General conference is the highlight of our year. It is a blessing and an opportunity.”