Choir Notes

85 Years
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4378

We live in an age of rapid change, when longevity and consistency are rare. And so it seems appropriate, once or twice in a decade, to pause and reflect on the long legacy of our weekly broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word. 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been broadcasting since the early days of radio. It was in the middle of a hot summer in 1929 when the first broadcast of what became known as Music and the Spoken Word went on the air from the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square. It is now the longest continuous network radio program in the world, broadcasting each week from Salt Lake City, the Crossroads of the West.

A longtime adviser to the Choir reflected on this longevity with these words: “Through the years of the terrible depression, during the long season of the second world war and the wars which have followed, in times of peace and prosperity, [the Choir’s] music has brought inspiration, increased faith, given courage, and comforted all who have heard it."1

Over its long history, the broadcast expanded to television, then cable, and then the Internet. Listeners and viewers have gone from crystal radio sets to 5.1 surround sound, from black-and-white to high-definition TV, from radio vacuum tubes to YouTube. Now the broadcast can be found online and on demand, in cars and on smartphones, on computer screens and flat screens. It’s a very different world from the days of a single microphone dangling from the ceiling of the Tabernacle. And who knows what future innovations will carry the broadcast to the hearts of its listeners around the world over the coming years?

But one thing is certain as we begin our 85th year—the Choir and Orchestra will do their best to bring beautiful music and an inspirational message to grateful listeners. As long as there is a need for hope and beauty and goodness in the world, the Choir will continue to sing. As long as there is a longing for peace and joy in the heart, we will raise our voices in praises to God.

1 Gordon B. Hinckley, “Remarks at the Tabernacle Choir’s 75th Anniversary Concert,” Church News, July 17, 2004, http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/46388/Pres-Hinckley-Remarks-at-the-Tabernacle-Choirs-75th-anniversary-concert.html.

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