Voices Heard Around the World: Tabernacle Choir Launches YouTube Channel
By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer
If you’ve looked around on YouTube in the past for videos of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, none of them was official and the quality typically has been poor. But an announcement given October 30 in the Conference Center changed all of that. The choir launched an official channel on YouTube in high-definition quality. The web address is YouTube.com/MormonTabChoir.
The first words about the announcement were given on a prerecorded video message by the choir’s adviser, President Thomas S. Monson: “I love the music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. As you know, the choir always reserves for me a front-row seat at all of the concerts. As the adviser to the choir, I have the opportunity to work with these talented musicians on all of their musical endeavors, including the reason we are gathered here today. I am pleased to announce the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is entering the world of social media with its own YouTube channel. The incredible music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is now at your fingertips.”
Choir president Ron Jarrett said, “I’m so excited about this! We now have the opportunity all over the world at any time to make an amazing impact in people’s lives. We hope this will have a great appeal to the younger generation.”
The choir’s music director, Mack Wilberg, told the Church News, “I am pleased with the quality of the videos on YouTube. That is very important to me. Being on YouTube means we need to be even better. We hope this opens doors for more people to enjoy the wonderful message of the choir.”
In addition to musical performances, the site will feature music videos and episodes of Music and the Spoken Word. Currently there are 30 different offerings, but more will follow. The announcement event included the debut of a music video, “I Want Jesus to Walk Me,” featuring the choir in Salt Lake City and soloist Alex Boyé on location in Ghana at the Cape Coast Castle, which was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The emotionally moving video is available now on the new channel.
“I was blown away at the quality of the videos,” said local resident Susan Leavitt, who attended the announcement. “I was surprised that they were not already on YouTube,” she said.
Dennis and Kaye Wilson from Riverton, Utah, thought the event was “fantastic” and were excited about the future of the choir.
Jacqueline Wooley said she was in tears: “I can hardly wait to tell my friends in Australia,” she said. “They will be so excited,” she said.
A host of media celebrities congratulated the choir’s leaders on their decision to enter into the world of social media. Jane Clayson Johnson said she was happy so many more people would be able to listen to the choir now. Marie Osmond congratulated the choir. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell joked about October 30 being a great day because it was the launch of his new album as well as the launch of the choir’s new channel. Actor Edward Herrmann sent his love and well wishes to members of the choir and said he felt it was a wonderful thing to have the choir on YouTube. Donny Osmond simply said, “Welcome to YouTube.” Soloist Alex Boyé expressed his excitement about the choir now being in a position to gather more hits on YouTube than artist Justin Bieber. Actor Michael York wished the choir continued success in all of their endeavors. Singer Dallyn Bayles said the choir definitely needed to get its music out to the world and YouTube would be a great help. Soloist Nathan Gunn told of his excitement performing with the choir and its new reach to a wider audience. Violinist Lindsey Stirling looked forward to future collaboration and welcomed the choir to the YouTube world. The Piano Guys expressed their enthusiasm by telling everyone they were big Mack Wilberg fans. “Mack Wilberg rocks!” said pianist Jon Schmidt. Soloist Katherine Jenkins said she was sending lots of love and would support the channel by watching. Broadcaster and this year’s Christmas concert narrator, Tom Brokaw, said he couldn’t remember a Christmas without the influence of the choir and called it a national treasure.
The Church continues to branch out into new media platforms. The Deseret News reported in its October 28 national edition about the Church’s new reality television program on BYUtv about missionaries in Southern California called The District. The recent addition of a YouTube channel for the choir is a natural fit to bring audio and video to fans around the world, especially the younger generation.