On Saturday September 22, 2018 the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square made a road trip to Logan, Utah to perform in the newly remodeled Daines Concert Hall at Utah State University.
There are two main connections for this mini tour. Dr. Craig Jessop, the Dean of the School of Music at USU was the beloved former director of the Tabernacle Choir. And, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a major donor for the remodel project.
Mr. Mo drove up with me so that he could attend the concert. He is such a wonderful support to me, and a dedicated fan of the Choir (he has watched the broadcast every week, and attended every concert for the past 10 years since I joined). He was especially excited for this event because we were performing our 2018 Classic Coast Tour program, which he never tired hearing. In fact, in his words, it “just gets better every time.”
The Choir & Orchestra provided two performances this day; afternoon, and evening. This meant everyone needed to arrive by 9:00 am for a full rehearsal and sound check. Buses transported everyone from temple square, however those who lived North of SLC were given an option to drive separately. Mr. Mo and I departed our house at 7:30 am for our 1.5 hour drive north to Cache Valley.
Choir members participated in the sound check, then walked across campus to eat lunch, then walked back to the concert hall to dress and perform, then walked back across campus for a lovely dinner, then walk back across campus to perform the evening concert.
During our walking back and forth we enjoyed the beautiful flowers and a fascinating installment by the internationally renowned environmental artist Patrick Dougherty – made entirely of willow branches. You can view more of his whimsical and elaborate creations – check them out here. And you can even watch a LIVE camera that streams the art structure here.
“We had to wait years. We had to get on his calendar a while ago because he books years in advance,” – Laura Gelfand, Art History Professor and Overseer of the Dougherty project. – The Utah Statesman
Our meals were very lovely. It was nice to get to stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful Fall sunshine and much cleaner air. Smoke from wildfires had been clogging up our skies and kicking up our allergies like crazy in Davis and Utah counties.
Gone With The Wind
Meanwhile, as I was rehearsing, eating lunch and performing the matinee concert, Mr. Mo was taking a gorgeous hike called Wind Cave Trail in nearby Logan Canyon. This is a moderate difficulty 5 mile round trip hike. Here are some gorgeous shots he took that made me jealous!
Singing At The Daines
The Daines Performance Hall has a lovely resonance and it was a delight to perform in. Both of our concerts were very well received!
This day began for me with a 6:00 am wake up call. We arrived home at about midnight. Other members of the Choir and Orchestra live even farther away, and had much later bedtimes. We all got right back up again just a few short hours later to drive back to the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City for our weekly Sunday morning broadcast of Music & The Spoken Word.
This is how we roll. Our director Brother Mack Wilberg is fond of saying that these kind of experiences are our “heavy lifting” projects.
Some people only hear the choir sing while watching the bi-yearly General Conference of the Church. Many other people in the world only know us from our weekly broadcasts of Music & The Spoken Word. But, few know all of the other extra things we donate our time for.
I don’t think there is a member of our organization who wouldn’t consider all of this a great blessing in our lives. I certainly do! However, this is not an easy calling. It can be grueling, demanding and exhausting. Many members make much greater sacrifices than I do – some commute as far away as 100 miles each way – to rehearse and perform – and they do this a minimum of twice per week & often much more. It is a privilege to associate with all of these humble, talented musicians. They are dear friends who have become my second family for the past ten years.
What a blessing it was to sing in Logan, Utah! It is a joy to fill the world – wherever we go – with music, good will, and peace.
This is one of my favorite songs from our program.