So, I had this crazy dream that The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang BYU’s big rival fight song – The University of Utah’s “UTAH MAN” – on National Television. I know, crazy, right? Oh wait … that wasn’t a dream!
Did that really just happen? Yes, indeed it did! Time to pinch this die-hard Ute fan again.
On Saturday, undefeated University of Utah went head to head with undefeated U Cal in the exciting PAC-12 Football contest. Utah was chosen for the site of ESPN’s College GameDay show broadcast. As it all went down, the national network approached the Choir last Wednesday asking if they’d be willing to sing the Ute Fight Song “Utah Man” for the big show opener.
And the Choir leadership said “Yes,” as described in this interview:
“As much as it pained this BYU grad to have to orchestrate it, we could see that it was a very good thing for our community and for ESPN and for the choir. The irony of it was that there are more BYU alumni in the loft than University of Utah. The University of Utah people were very, very pleased, and the BYU people were good sports.”
– Scott Barrick, General Manager, Mormon Tabernacle Choir
On Thursday morning an urgent email went out to Choir members asking us to arrive early for rehearsal that evening to dress in concert attire for a special recording. Thursday night rehearsals are open to the public, so it must have been fun for those attending to get the bonus of seeing and hearing us in full wardrobe with lighting and camera crew.
Here is the final result that aired LIVE on ESPN at 7:00 am Saturday, October 10th, 2015 (and yes indeed, I’m singing loud and proud in one of the camera shots).
If you want to hear the full version of the song, there are a couple of amateur audience captures posted here or here.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has honored my alma mater. A 1978 LP called “Hail To The Victors“ featured recordings of College Fight Songs with Jerold Ottley conducting the Choir and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Songs from Vassar, Yale, Harvard, Iowa State University and many more [including “Utah Man”]! Selections were made available as MP3 in 1996 here.
The UU / UCal game on Saturday was a bit of a nail-biter (and with the late start-time I didn’t get to bed until 1 am – yikes!), but Utah pulled off the win and is now the only undefeated team in the PAC-12, at 5-0. They’ve moved up to ranking #4 in the polls today. GO UTES!!
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir isn’t just about “religious”. It has a very vast repertoire from Classical to Country, Folk, Jazz, Patriotic & Broadway. It even sings with pop idols and gets the audience on their feet dancing. And let’s not forget Christmas with the Muppets!! [shameless plug – pre-order now available here ;D ]. There’s been a lot of fun impromptu things lately, and out-of-the-box surprises over the years. But for me, I’d just have to say this recent event singing UTAH MAN ranks on my personal top five.
Just had to share, and bask one more time in the moment. – MoSop
How cool is that!!! I’ll bet when you joined the MoTab Choir, you never thought you’d be on ESPN. God can do anything he wants. Don’t you know he was enjoying the plug for the MoTab Choir.
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Very cool! And Go Utes!
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