For ten international singers, the dream to perform with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is becoming a reality on Saturday and Sunday during the annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In the past, members of the choir usually have had to live within a 100-mile radius to participate in rigorous training. But choir President Michael O. Leavitt said this new pilot program is the start of a change to include members from the global congregation.

“Our goal now is to reach throughout the world to bring peace and healing,” said President Leavitt in a church release. “More than half the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lives outside the United States. This is a means by which we not only reflect that membership, but it’s also a way in which we can bring a sense of belonging to people who live all over the world.”

He called music the “universal language,” in a video shared by the church.

The new singers have been training remotely leading up to the upcoming weekend — all the way from Brazil, Ghana, Taiwan, the Philippines, Mexico and Malaysia.

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of the church, who visited with the singers, told the Church News that it’s “an important step forward.”

“People all over the world are going to be proud that the Tabernacle Choir is not just a choir for Utah and Salt Lake City, but it’s a choir representing the whole world,” said President Oaks.

The participants arrived in Salt Lake City March 18 and will be in the city until at least after general conference, reported Church News.

Introducing the international singers singing with the Tabernacle Choir

All descriptions come from interviews released by the church in a press release. Hear their voices and introductions in a video posted on The Tabernacle Choir’s Twitter page.

  • Alvaro Jorge Martins of Natal, Brazil. He’s a baritone and practicing attorney who graduated from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School.
  • Rodrigo Domaredzky of Curitiba, Brazil. He’s a baritone, architect and stake music specialist for his local congregation.
  • Thalita De Carvalho of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She sings soprano, has an undergraduate degree in choral conducting and is a stake choir conductor for multiple congregations.
  • Tubo-Oreriba Joseph Elisha of Accra, Ghana. He sings tenor, is an accomplished organist and teacher, and works as a marketing manager.
  • Jonathan How of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He sings tenor, has a bachelor’s degree in music and teaches drums.
  • Denisse Elorza Avalos of Tijuana, Mexico. She is a soprano, mother, and holds an undergraduate degree in architecture while pursuing a vocal performance degree with an emphasis in opera.
  • Georgina Montemayor Wong of Monterrey, Mexico. She sings second soprano, is a mother and local stake music director. She has a bachelor's degree in education and languages.
  • Ronald Baa of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. He sings tenor and is a university instructor.
  • Sundae Mae Indino of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. She sings first soprano and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies through Brigham Young University Pathways.
  • PeiShang Chung (Kylie Zhong) of Taipei, Taiwan. She sings first alto, received a degree in music performance education, and works as a music teacher.

In addition to their singing voices, the participants have been given added missionary responsibilities and are called as ambassadors of the church “to share their goodwill and faith through music,” per the release.

“When they told me … that I’m going to be like a missionary for the choir, I (felt) so humble because I always wanted to serve a mission,” said Avalos. “Now it’s like two dreams in one — be part of the choir and serve like a missionary.”

A previous version of the article said six international singers were selected, rather than 10.

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