The Tabernacle Choir's concert program during its tour to the southern United States was as a musical feast: There was something appealing to everyone. The program, in essence, "spoke to the people."
The program was bookended with hymns, three at the beginning and three at the end. Opening the program was "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," from Straslund Gesangbuch and arranged by Mack Wilberg, Tabernacle Choir associate director. Hand bells rung by several members of the choir added to the joyful, exuberant start of the concert. The other two hymns at the beginning of the program were "The King of Love My Shepherd Is," from an Irish folk melody arranged by Brother Wilberg; and "All Creatures of Our God and King," a German hymn tune arranged by Barlow Bradford, Tabernacle Choir associate director.
Next on the program were four choral masterworks: "We Hasten to Thee," from Cantata 78, "Jesu, der du mine Seele," by J.S. Bach; "Hallelujah Chorus," from The Mount of Olives, by Ludwig Van Beethoven; "Glory to God in the Highest," by Sergei Rachmanioff; and "Glory," by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff.
American sacred choruses featured "O Mangnum Mysterium" (O Great Mystery), by Morten Lauridsen; and "How Beautiful upon the Mountains," from The Redeemer, by Robert Cundick, former Tabernacle organist.
In a segment titled "Songs of the Land," the following were featured: "America the Beautiful," by Samuel A. Ward, arranged by Brother Wilberg; "This Land Is Your Land," by Woody Guthrie and arranged by Percy Faith and Michael Davis; "Down in the Valley," a Kentucky folk tune arranged by George Mead; "The Battle of Jericho," a spiritual arranged by Moses Hogan (who directed the choir in performing this selection in New Orleans); "Climb Every Mountain," by Richard Rodgers and arranged by Arthur Harris; and "Cindy," an American folk tune arranged by Brother Wilberg.
Concluding the concert program were three hymns: "Amazing Grace," a folk hymn arranged by Brother Wilberg; "Come, Come, Ye Saints," a Latter-day Saint hymn, lyrics by William Clayton and arranged by J. Spencer Cornwall, a former director of the Tabernacle Choir, and "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," an American folk hymn, arranged by Brother Wilberg. This concluding hymn also featured hand bells rung by members of the choir.
At every performance, audiences wanted to hear more. Their requests were granted with the men of the choir singing "Bring Him Home," from Les Miserables, with English translation by Herbert Kretzmer from Alain Boublil's French. The music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg; the arrangement was by Brother Bradford.
A rousing and fitting end to the concert was what has become the choir's trademark, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," with lyrics by Julia Ward Howe and arranged by Peter J. Wilhousky.