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Tabernacle Choir performs first concert of European tour

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Performing a program of hymns, anthems and other musical selections, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir gave its first concert on its European tour Sunday in Royal Albert Hall.

More than 7,000 people filled the seats of the world-renowned hall, where tickets usually sell for about $100. Admission to the concert, which was broadcast live in the United States, was free.The highlight of the concert was the choir's performance of "Jerusalem," a poem by William Blake. Normal British reserve was put on hold Sunday as audience members stood, cheered and applauded at the end of the concert.

The Royal Albert Hall, built by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, has also hosted music performers such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Eric Clapton.

The concert - the middle of which comprised the choir's weekly "Music and the Spoken Word" program - was taped by the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) for rebroadcast on national television. The BBC plans to air the hour-long special featuring the choir Sept. 13. The BBC special will include interviews with choir members, as well as the entire concert program. Sir Harry Se-combe, a beloved Welsh tenor and popular television personality with a huge following throughout the British Isles, will provide commentary for the BBC special.

The "Music and the Spoken Word" program will air two more times during the choir's tour: Sunday, June 21, from Geneva, Switzerland, and Sunday, June 28, from Barcelona, Spain.

On Monday, the choir headed for Brussels, Belgium, where it was scheduled to perform in the ambassador's home. But a glitch in travel plans came as a strike of the London Underground Railway clogged traffic during morning rush hour, which resulted in three of the 11 buses transporting choir members to the train depot to become delayed in London's streets.

This is the choir's 17th international tour. The 20-day tour features 16 events in seven countries.