COVID-19 continues to disrupt the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in 2022.
The Tabernacle Choir planned to welcome 75 guests to its weekly broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” on January 23 in Salt Lake City.
The famous St. Olaf’s Choir at St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota was scheduled to join the voices with the Tabernacle Choir that day. This was the second performance by the St. Olaf choir on a national tour.
Saint Olaf was selling tickets for his first performance on January 22 at First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City.
All of those plans have been scuttled for now due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Utah, according to a press release from St. Olaf:
In partnership with First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City and Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square, Utah’s upcoming St. Olaf’s Choir appearance has been canceled due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the state. This includes the Concert at First Presbyterian Church on January 22 and a guest appearance with the temple choir during the Music and Spoken Word Show on Sunday, January 23. We hope to reschedule both events for later this spring. Buyers of First Presbyterian concert tickets can request a refund or keep their tickets, which will still be valid for the rescheduled concert. St. Olaf continues to monitor COVID-19 across the country, and is working with our local venues to evaluate our plans for the 2022 tours.
The temple choir has been back in action over the past several months.
It resumed live broadcasting of Music and the Spoken Word on October 24, 2021, more than 19 months after the choir was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadcasts from the convention center are not open to the general public.
It also recorded a special Christmas show in December to air next year. But the Tabernacle Choir aired a borrowed performance of “Music and the Spoken Word” on Sunday due to COVID-19, according to the choir’s website.
Both choirs have taken measures to return to activity during the pandemic.
The immunized St. Olaf’s choir had already planned to wear masks throughout their performance at First Presbyterian, and audience members were required to wear masks.
All members of the temple choir and orchestra must also be immunized in Temple Square in order to perform. They also undergo COVID-19 tests before every practice and performance.
The St. Olaf choir itself is considered the first a cappella choir in the United States, and has been described by critics as the gold standard and among the nation’s best choirs. The choir is made up of full-time undergraduates at St. Olaf’s College, a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Northfield, Minnesota.
Choir conductor, Anton Armstrong, is an institution in the thirty-second year of teaching and leading the choir. He is the fourth conductor in the choir’s 110-year history.
“Hearing St. Olaf’s choir in concert is more than just a musical experience,” Armstrong said. “Our singers, who perform 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 concert-goers telling us that they were not only impressed by the sound and unification of St. Olaf’s choir, but Also seriously what comes through the voices of our young singers. Our singers touch the hearts and souls of our listeners, and our audience is 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 their PBS TV show “Christmas in Norway with St. Olaf’s Choir”.
The Utah Shows were expected to launch the St. Olaf Choir’s national tour in 15 cities and 12 states.
The choir has prepared a variety of sacred and secular works for the tour, including pieces from live and traditional composers such as Mac Wahlberg of the Tabernacle Choir, Adolphus Hellstork, Felix Mendelssohn, JS Bach and founder of the St. Olaf choir, Milius Christiansen.