Over the years, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has received an abundance of national honors. But recognition for the choir on a global scale has been rare.
That’s why the choir’s music director, Mack Wilberg, was so thrilled when England’s Classical-Music.com, internationally known as BBC Music Magazine, listed the 360-member choir among its “Best 10 Choirs in the World” in late October.
One of the choir’s goals is to share its music with the world, so this shows international progress, Wilberg said.
“It’s a completely unexpected and enormous honor to be named to this prestigious list. I say that for two reasons,” Wilberg said. “The BBC Music Magazine and their accompanying website is one of the most highly regarded periodicals on classical music, certainly in the English-speaking world. So that, in and of itself, is significant. Then also the stellar reputation of the other nine choral ensembles that are listed, including some choirs I’ve been listening to for my entire life. Let’s just say that we are in stellar company.”
These distinguished choirs are not ranked but listed alphabetically. They other nine include:
- Escolania de Montserrat, an all-boys choir in Barcelona, Spain
- Estonia Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonia
- Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, England
- Mississippi Mass Choir
- St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir, England
- The Sixteen, England
- Tallis Scholars, England
- Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, England
- Vox Luminis, Belgium
BBC Music Magazine said of The Tabernacle Choir:
“Choirs come in all shapes and sizes, and at around 360-strong The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is one of the largest. It is also one of the most famous. Formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, it was founded in Salt Lake City in 1847 and has become a cornerstone of U.S. choral tradition, performing at several U.S. presidential inaugurations including those of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.”
Wilberg said the honor speaks “highly of the abilities and talents of our singers, who are volunteers who perform 300-400 pieces a year with not a lot of rehearsal time.”
The international acclaim comes at a time when the choir is not performing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The choir has not met together since March but keeps in contact through a weekly newsletter.
Wilberg is grateful for advances in technology that make it possible for the choir’s music to be distributed worldwide at a time when it’s not possible to gather for performances.
The Tabernacle Choir recently surpassed 500,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel.
“Suffice it to say I think that we’re all missing not only being together but also making music,” said Wilberg, who has been involved with the choir for more than 20 years now. “We know we will be back together again, it’s just a matter of when.”