The Tabernacle Choir Becomes a Beacon During Pandemic Hiatus

February 2021

men and women singing in a choir

The Tabernacle Choir, made up of more than 350 volunteers from all walks of life, transcends cultural and generational boundaries while bringing people together around the world through stirring music. But what happens when they cannot carry out their anticipated schedule of live performances? Despite being unable to do live performances this year, the Choir has found itself in a position to continue to be a source of hope through other methods for the many who desire to listen.

Continuing to Connect

“Though we’re not able to sing, we have still been very busy moving the work of the Choir along,” says Tabernacle Choir president Ronald B. Jarrett. People around the world have shown the Choir a tremendous outpouring of love and support through digital resources like The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square YouTube channel. The Choir also has added new releases of favorite performances to keep providing more music to listeners. “I think, and the online numbers prove, people are actually listening more since we haven’t been able to meet together,” continues Jarrett. The videos and resources that have always been available are now filling a greater need for spiritual music at a time when the world is seeking it out the most.

The Choir optimistically looks to the future when performing live will begin again. “We’re hopeful that a vaccine is in place so that we can still go on our tour in 2021,” says Jarrett.

Finding a New Voice

Live performances of the Choir’s weekly broadcast, Music & the Spoken Word, also have been replaced with recordings of past performances. Lloyd Newell, host of the broadcast, felt prompted to create new messages to go with the recordings in an effort to be more topical and direct and to acknowledge the circumstances the world has been facing this year. “We’re learning that with all the damage a virus can do, it need not damage our spirit. In fact, the opposite is happening,” says Newell. “We’ve become more aware of the needs of people around us, along with the things we can do to help.”

Newell writes his messages with the intent of making the Choir’s programming part of current conversations and providing a place of hope and joy that uplifts viewers during such unique times.

“This broadcast has been around for over 90 years. We’ve been through a lot with world wars, the [Great] Depression, social upheaval, civil rights. The times are new and the world is filled with conflict right now, but we’ve been doing this broadcast for 92 years, and we’ll keep doing it. The world, more than ever, needs hope, light, goodness, and a sense of carrying on. People need their spirits lifted; I know I do,” says Newell.

A Note from Ron Jarrett, President, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

portrait of a man

The pandemic has certainly brought an abrupt halt to our music-making these past several months. We are watching with great anticipation for news that will tell us we can safely return to music and song. Like so many others, our members are home, enjoying quality time with their families. With that said, we wish to say thank you for your donations and continual support of The Tabernacle Choir as we prepare for the day when we can resume our performances. Your donations have become even more important as this pandemic has opened many doors to us and we are being watched and listened to in many more places around the world than ever before. We have a much greater presence in Europe, India, and the Philippines. Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America also are listening to Music & the Spoken Word with greater frequency. Thank you for listening and faithfully supporting The Tabernacle Choir.

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