The Mormon Tabernacle Choir tours every other year, however it has been nearly 17 years since the well-known group performed in the Kansas City area. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 5, for the Choir’s performance at the Sprint Center scheduled for June 25, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.
The last time the Choir was in Kansas City was 1992, but at one time the famous group performed in Richmond. It may be difficult to believe that a performing group such as the Tabernacle Choir appeared in concert here.
Though there weren’t as many in the group then as there are now, they performed on stage at the now historic Farris Theatre in 1911. At that time, the Farris Theatre was just 11 years old and was known as the Dougherty Auditorium.
The Choir was on tour and was asked to perform at the Farris Theatre as part of the dedication of a monument to honor Oliver Cowdery at his burial site in Richmond. The monument is located at the Pioneer Cemetery on North Thornton in Richmond.
A copy of the photograph taken at that time was presented to the Church at the LDS Independence Visitors Center on March 24 during a special traveling exhibit featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
“History is what it is,” said Ray County Commissioner Allen Dale. “There’s a strong Mormon history in Ray County – good, bad, or indifferent. We’re excited the Choir is coming close enough to go.”
Rev. John Johnson is excited. “What a joy to learn that the Choir will be presenting a concert close enough for me to attend. I have enjoyed their music for as long as I can remember. I always have several of their cassettes in the car, and after all of these years, I know the words well enough to sing along with them; although considering my range of pitch, it’s probably a good thing I’m singing in the privacy of my car! For those of us who especially appreciate traditional church music, as well as the great choral classics, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir not only crosses denominational lines, it transcends time itself in preserving the truly great music of history.”
Thomas Carlyle said, “Music is well said to be the speech of angels.” The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sends a heavenly message whenever and wherever they perform as their music reaches to the very depths of the soul.
Made up of 360 volunteer singers ages 25-60, the exceptionally talented musicians have appeared at 13 World’s Fairs and Expositions, sang for 10 presidents beginning with President William Howard Taft, and performed for numerous worldwide events.
The Choir was dubbed, “America’s Choir” in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan when they performed at his inauguration.
In 2003, they were awarded the country’s highest honor for artistic excellence when President George W. Bush presented the Choir with the National Medal of Arts. Touring the United States and Canada extensively, the Choir has also performed in 28 countries receiving numerous national and international recognitions.
The 2009 tour takes the Choir to other mid-western cities including Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Mo., Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha, Neb., and Norman, Okla. The concert program will include music from the vast repertoire of hymns, spirituals, folk songs, classics and choral masterworks the Choir has built its reputation on. The concert will also feature a number of patriotic songs.
Sixty-five members of the Orchestra on Temple Square, also an all-volunteer group, will accompany the Choir on tour.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of the oldest and largest choirs in the world, founded in 1847. There has always been a choir at the Church’s headquarters from the early days of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, to Nauvoo, Ill., to the current headquarters in Salt Lake City, Ut. In fact, when Brigham Young sent advance parties as the Saints moved west, musicians were always included to provide music to uplift those on the trail. A small group of choir members with the first group of Saints performed just 29 days after the Saints reached the Salt Lake valley.
Ticket prices range from $26 to $61. Due to the popularity of the Choir, seats will fill up quickly. Contact the Sprint Center at 816-949-7000 or www.sprintcenter.com; or www.ticketmaster.com to purchase your tickets. Known for the quality of its music and the high standards of the members, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra on Temple Square Concert will reach out and touch your spirit. If, as Ludwig van Beethoven said, “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life,” then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is certainly a worthy liaison.
Photo: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed at the Farris Theatre in 1911, as pictured here. The world famous Choir will be performing at the Sprint Center in Kansas City next summer. Tickets will go on sale this Friday. (Submitted Photo)