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The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square celebrates 90 years of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’

Posted at 1:33 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 15:33:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is celebrating 90 years of being a part of Music and the Spoken Word, one of the longest-running broadcasts of its kind in history.

A special pre-recorded program, Music for a Summer Evening: Celebrating 90 Years of Broadcasting, will air on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

This commemorative concert will be available worldwide on the following broadcast and internet channels: the Choir's YouTube channel; the Choir's Facebook page;; the Latter-day Saint Channel and by using the Alexa Choir skill.

The program began back in the 1920s as a radio broadcast with just one microphone and has evolved in its 90 years since. The choir has been a constant through it all.

In recent months the choir has been playing what they call ‘encore presentations,” highlights and reruns you could say. However, the number of viewers and listeners have been higher than ever as people tune in for beautiful music, but also a sense of calm, community and hope.

Mack Wilberg has been the choir’s music director for the past twelve years and had to think hard to find the proper superlative to describe the milestone.

“I think I’ll use the word ‘astonishing,’” Wilberg said. “Not ‘amazing’ - too common. But ‘astonishing’ is the word I’d use.”

Wilberg said he was looking forward to seeing some of their celebrities from the past several years return to express their thoughts on what this milestone means to them. They’ll be showing some of those “best of” concerts in Saturday's special.

Heidi Swinton, biographer for the choir, said the choir has had concerts through tough times in the past and that continues today.

“The choir has been there for people when the country and the world have faced very difficult circumstances,” she said.