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Famed choir cancels plans for ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ with Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

See what caused St. Olaf’s Choir to change plans for two Salt Lake City performances later this month

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs its first live broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” since the pandemic began.
After more than 19 months on hiatus because of the pandemic, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs a live broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” on Oct. 24, 2021 at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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COVID-19 continues to disrupt the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in 2022.

The Tabernacle Choir had planned to welcome 75 guests for its weekly broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” on Jan. 23 in Salt Lake City.

The famed St. Olaf Choir of St. Olaf College in Minnesota was to join voices with the Tabernacle Choir that day. It was going to be the St. Olaf Choir’s second performance of a national tour.

St. Olaf had been selling tickets to its first performance on Jan. 22 at Salt Lake City’s First Presbyterian Church.

All of those plans are scotched for now because of the rise of COVID-19 cases in Utah, according to a news release issued by St. Olaf’s:

In partnership with First Presbyterian Church Salt Lake City and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, the upcoming St. Olaf Choir appearances in Utah have been canceled due to the state’s rapid increase of COVID-19 cases. This includes the concert at First Presbyterian Church on January 22 and a guest appearance with the Tabernacle Choir during their Music & the Spoken Word Performance on Sunday, January 23. We hope to reschedule both of these events later this spring. Ticket buyers for the First Presbyterian concert can request a refund, or hold on to their tickets, which will remain valid for a rescheduled concert. St. Olaf continues to monitor COVID-19 across the country, and work with our local venues to assess our plans for 2022 tours.

The Tabernacle Choir has been returning to activity over the past several months.

It resumed live broadcasts of “Music and the Spoken Word” on Oct. 24, 2021, more than 19 months after the choir shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. The broadcasts from the Conference Center have not been opened to the general public.

It also taped a Christmas special in December to air next year. But the Tabernacle Choir aired an encore performance of “Music and The Spoken Word” on Sunday because of COVID-19, according to the choir’s website.

Both choirs have taken measures to return to activity during the pandemic.

The fully vaccinated St. Olaf Choir already had planned to wear masks throughout its performance at First Presbyterian, and audience members were to be required to wear masks.

All members of the Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square also must be vaccinated to perform. They also take COVID-19 tests before each practice and performance.

The St. Olaf Choir bills itself as the premier a cappella choir in the United States and critics have called it the gold standard and among the nation’s best. The choir is made up of full-time undergraduate students at St. Olaf College, a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Northfield, Minnesota.

The choir’s conductor, Anton Armstrong, is an institution in his 32nd year teaching and leading the choir. He is the fourth conductor in the choir’s 110-year history.

Long-time St. Olaf Choir conductor Anton Armstrong was to lead his college singers in a performance with the Tabernacle Choir.
Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, Anton Armstrong, in his 32nd year as the conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, will not lead his college singers on a 15-city tour that was to begin in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Jan. 22-23 and include a performance with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square for the international broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.”
St. Olaf Choir

“Hearing the St. Olaf Choir in concert is more than just a musical experience,” Armstrong has said. “Our singers, performing at the highest artistic level, convey a message of hope. Our music provides a bridge to what can unite us at a time when the world is so divided. We often hear from concertgoers who tell us they are not only struck by the sound and uniformity of the St. Olaf Choir, but also by the earnestness of what comes through the voices of our young singers. Our singers touch the hearts and souls of listeners, and our audiences leave transformed.”

Armstrong has led the group on multiple international tours and is no stranger to television. He and the choir won a 2014 Regional Emmy for the PBS television program “Christmas in Norway with The St. Olaf Choir.”

The Utah performances were expected to launch the St. Olaf Choir’s 15-city, 12-state national tour.

The St. Olaf Choir canceled plans to sing with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square for “Music and the Spoken Word.”
Due to a rise in Utah cases of COVID-19, the St. Olaf Choir has canceled its plans to start a 15-city 2022 tour in Salt Lake City, Utah, where it intended to performance at the First Presbyterian Church on Jan. 22 and at the Conference Center with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square for “Music and the Spoken Word” on Jan. 23. The choirs hope to reschedule.
St. Olaf Choir

The choir had prepared a variety of sacred and secular works for the tour, including pieces by living and traditional composers like Mack Wilberg of the Tabernacle Choir and Adolphus Hailstork, Felix Mendelssohn, J.S. Bach and the St. Olaf Choir’s founder, F. Melius Christiansen.