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The Mormon Tabernacle ChoirA Biography$
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Michael Hicks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039089

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039089.001.0001

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Buildings and Professors

Buildings and Professors

(p.19) Chapter 2 Buildings and Professors
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Michael Hicks

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the beginnings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It first considers the construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle on April 6, 1852, before turning to the schoolhouse that Brigham Young built to provide vocal lessons for as many as 200 children at a time under the direction of David Calder, who championed a modified form of John Curwen's Tonic sol-fa method. Graduates of the Tonic sol-fa classes sang in concerts in the Salt Lake Theater, the dedication of which featured an anthem, “God Bless Brigham Young,” or “The Saints' National Anthem”; this suggested that the Mormons now saw their society as self-contained, a new “nation” outside the nation they had left. The music to this new anthem was composed by Charles John Thomas, the newly appointed director of the theater orchestra and, on Sundays, of the Tabernacle Choir. The chapter also considers the acoustics of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Tabernacle organ, and the appointment of Thomas Griggs as the new Choir conductor on August 19, 1880.

Keywords:   music, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Brigham Young, David Calder, Tonic sol-fa method, Salt Lake Theater, Mormons, Charles John Thomas, Thomas Griggs

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