The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a 360 member, all-volunteer choir. The choir is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church). However, the choir is completely self-funded, traveling and producing albums to support the organization. The choir's current music director is Mack Wilberg.
Called "America's Choir" by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is made up of 360 men and women, all members of the LDS Church ("Mormons") in good standing. Although many choir members live within close proximity of the famous Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, some members commute long distances for practice and the Choir's weekly radio broadcast. Choir members are not paid for their participation, travel expenses or performances. There are many husband-wife combinations and some families have participated in the choir for generations.
The choir was founded in August 1847, one month after the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. Since July 15, 1929, the choir has performed a weekly radio broadcast called Music and the Spoken Word, which is the longest-running continuous network broadcast in the world. The show has been televised since the early 1960s and is now broadcast worldwide through some 1,500 radio, television, and cable stations.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's sound is often said to be world-famous, and instantly recognizable. When recording, the choir is usually accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square or the Tabernacle's famous pipe organ. With the completion of the Conference Center, a larger auditorium directly adjacent to Temple Square, the choir now has two halls available for performance.
The minimum age for participation in the choir has recently been reduced from 30 to 25. Choir members are currently limited to twenty years of participation, or until the member reaches the age of 60, allowing new members to join the choir on a regular basis. New choir members participate in The Temple Square Chorale training choir, a combination music theory/performance school.
This tour involved performing at a benefit concert for the Reasearch Center for the Study of Abandoned Children headquartered in Sao Paulo. The Choir also performed for several large audiences in São Paulo.
It has also participated in several significant events, including:
In 1960 the Choir won the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus at that year's awards ceremony with a recording of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" that replaced the line "let us die to make men free" with "let us live to make men free."
In 2006 the choir was honored as a Laureate of the Mother Teresa Award.
In late 2007 Spirit of the Season by the Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square, and featuring Norwegian-born soprano Sissel, was nominated for two Grammy Awards: "Best Classical Crossover Album" and "Best Engineered Album, Classical."
Since the foundation of the choirs own record label, it has produced many recordings including: