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Want to join the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square? Here’s how to audition

‘Even though the choir isn’t rehearsing, we always have to be worrying about our next generation of choir singers,’ Scott Barrick, the choir’s general manager, recently told the Deseret News

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. The choir is looking for singers to join its 360-member ensemble — an audition process that begins June 1.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus pandemic has halted the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s usual activities. But that doesn’t mean the choir can’t plan for the future.

“Even though the choir isn’t rehearsing, we always have to be worrying about our next generation of choir singers,” Scott Barrick, the choir’s general manager, recently told the Deseret News.

The choir is looking for singers to join its 360-member ensemble, the organization announced Tuesday in a news release. The audition process, which Barrick described as “rigorous,” begins with an online application that will be posted on June 1 — 30 days earlier than previous years.

The audition process stretches over nine months and includes four phases, according to the release.

Phase 1: Interested vocalists must complete the online application and submit a digital voice recording by Aug. 15. (A recommendation from a Latter-day Saint ecclesiastical leader will now be requested electronically, following a process used for other church applications.)

Phase 2: Applicants will complete a musical skills assessment that “measures musical ability and aptitude,” according to the release. Those with “acceptable test scores” advance to the in-person audition.

Phase 3: Applicants will then audition in-person before music directors Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, and have an interview with the choir’s president, Ron Jarrett.

Phase 4: The final phase begins in January 2021. Applicants will participate in 16 weeks of choir school, which includes training in music theory, sight singing and rehearsal techniques. The applicants will also take part in the Temple Square Chorale — a training ensemble that rehearses weekly.

After the 16 weeks, applicants who pass the choir school exam and complete a Temple Square Chorale performance may become members of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

The Tabernacle Choir typically rehearses twice each week and performs a weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast on Sunday.

Last week, the choir released a five-track EP that was recorded between September and November 2019.

“We did not spend a lot of time rehearsing this music. Some of it really wasn’t almost ready until we were scheduled to record it. But this is the way that we do everything,” Mack Wilberg, the choir’s music director, previously told the Deseret News. “This is why we are always saying that we have to have musicians who can produce at a very, very fast pace and also at a very high level.”

“What enables our choral musicians to be able to do that is in part because of the rigorous audition process that we go through,” Barrick added.

The in-person auditions take place in the late fall. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has kept choir members from performing together, Barrick believes the in-person auditions will take place.

“They only involve like four or five people, so I think regardless of what happens, we’ll be able to schedule those in-person auditions,” he told the Deseret News.

Applicants must be between the ages of 25 and 55 as of April 30, 2021, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the release. Potential choir members must also currently live within 100 miles of the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

For additional information, visit thetabernaclechoir.org.