For the first time in history, the Tabernacle Choir will tour Moscow and Leningrad and nine cities in Europe in June 1991, the First Presidency announced June 3.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the presidency, announced the tour to Choir members before their weekly Sunday morning CBS Radio Network broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word."Planning for the tour has been underway for more than two years, President Hinckley said, as he praised Tabernacle Choir members, directors, organists and leaders for their talent and devotion that have brought them international recognition.
The 13-concert tour will open in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 10, and conclude with three concerts in the Soviet Union, President Hinckley said. Negotiations for the Choir to perform in the USSR were conducted on behalf of the Soviet government by Ambassador Yuri V. Dubinin, who until recently was the Soviet Ambassador to the United States, and visited Salt Lake City in April. (See May 5 Church News.)
The Choir will perform June 24-25, 1991, in the Kremlin in Moscow, and on June 27 in Leningrad. The schedule also includes concerts in Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, and Poland.
Dr. Jerold Ottley, music director of the Tabernacle Choir, will conduct the Choir during the concert tour, assisted by Dr. Donald Ripplinger, associate director. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Dr. Robert Cundick and Dr. John Longhurst, choir organists. Spencer Kinard, who delivers the Spoken Word on the Choir's weekly broadcasts, will also accompany the Choir.
Since 1955, the 320-voice choir has made more than 25 major concert tours, including 12 that took the distinguished group outside the United States.
The 1991 tour will provide the Choir with its first opportunity to sing in person for audiences in the USSR, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria.
In its Grand Europeon Tour in 1955, the Tabernacle Choir performed in Berlin and Zurich, among other major cities on the Continent and in the United Kingdom. Subsequent European tours were made in 1973 and 1982.
Previous international concert tours have taken the Tabernacle Choir to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherslands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales.
The Choir has gained renown through radio, television and satellite broadcasts, recording, motion pictures and numerous concerts tours, and is an international institution loved by millions around the world. The Tabernacle Choir is now nearing completion of 61 years of weekly broadcasts of "Music and the Spoken Word," making it the longest continuous network radio program in history.
Five of the Choir's recordings have achieved the status of "gold record," the most popular of which has been the "Battle Hymm of the Republic," which also won Grammy Award.