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Dubbed "America's Choir" by President Ronald Reagan, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrates 75 years of continuous weekly radio broadcasts in July 2004, the longest such run in broadcast history. Evolving from its humble beginnings in the barren Salt Lake Valley in 1847 as a choir singing to sagebrush to its spectacular performances at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the Choir is now courted by the most sophisticated concert halls in cities across the globe. They have sung at the inauguration of five U.S. presidents, twice received the prestigious Freedom Foundation Award for promoting patriotism and pride in America, were awarded the prestigious National Medal of Arts, and have been inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Please join Walter Cronkite for an amazing look at an American institution and a national treasure.
Documentary narrated by Walter Cronkite. Soundtrack from Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Published: May 2004
Soundtrack Released: June 2004
Film Released: July 2004
Length DVD: 150 min, Video: 60 min
About the Authors
Lee Groberg has produced and directed a number of documentary films over the past twenty-five years, including American Gunmaker, Treasure House, Trail of Hope, American Prophet, Sacred Stone, America’s Choir, Sweetwater Rescue, Fires of Faith, and First Freedom, all produced for public television. Narrators for his films have included Gregory Peck, Hal Holbrook, Fess Parker, Walter Cronkite, Geoffrey Palmer, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Ed Ames.
First Freedom is one of the more rewarding film projects he has worked on. This companion book reflects many of the images from the film and includes comments from the academic scholars featured in the film.
Regarding his work on the film, Lee remarked, “It has been my pleasure to work on a story that has spiritual implications in all of our lives. These founding fathers did not share a single faith, but I feel that they were directed by a divine force that helped them establish a country where all could worship in freedom—or even feel free to not worship at all. That is the beauty of our guaranteed right of religious liberty.
“I thank my wife, Jeanine, for her unflagging support and devotion as together, we tackle these very meaningful film and book projects.”
Heidi S. Swinton is an award-winning author and screenwriter whose works include the PBS documentaries American Prophet; Sacred Stone; Sweetwater Rescue; Trail of Hope; and America’s Choir. She has served on the Relief Society general board and as a member of Church writing committees. She is the author of President Thomas S. Monson’s biography, To the Rescue. She served with her husband, Jeffrey C. Swinton, as he presided over the England London South Mission (2006–2009); they are the parents of five sons, four living, and have four daughters-in-law and six grandchildren.
The 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir represent men and women from many different backgrounds and professions and range in age from 25 to 60. They reflect a medley of unique lives and experiences and are brought together by their love for singing and their faith. Their incomparable voices are the common chord that unites to form the choral group known all over the world as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir originated in the mid-19th century in Salt Lake City. As the Latter-day Saints moved west, Church President Brigham Young included musicians among members of the advance parties. Consequently, a small choir first sang for a conference of the Church in the Salt Lake Valley on August 22, 1847, just 29 days after the first group arrived. The origins of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may be found in the desire and commitment of early converts to include appropriate music in both sacred and secular events.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has appeared at 13 world’s fairs and expositions, performed at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents, and sung for numerous worldwide telecasts and special events. Five of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s recordings have achieved “gold record” and two have achieved “platinum record” status. The most popular was the Grammy-Award-winning 1959 release of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
So Much Material, So Little Time
by Sam - reviewed on July 14, 2004
The program itself plays like a series of footnotes with altogether too brief segments focusing on the founding of the choir, the tabernacle, the 'Music and the Spoken Word' broadcast, tours, and awards. It includes historical still shots mixed with modern footage and occasional reenactments in period clothing. , The bonus features on the DVD are extended versions of the segments from the program with much more detail, and the complete songs filmed for the performance inserts mixed in 5.1 surround. It's almost as if the producers are saying 'Okay, PBS gave us 60 minutes, here's what we really wanted to show you.' I would have liked the option to simply watch the complete program with the 'bonus' full length segments replacing the ones in the program. , Nonetheless, this is a nice summary of the amazing story of the voice the world most associates with the Church. It cannot replace the experience of seeing the choir live in the Tabernacle. But hey...What could.
by Gary - reviewed on December 17, 2008
America's Choir was the first CD of the Choir I ever bought. I had an old Christmas one... but rarely listened to it...once I got my hands on this one, however, I couldn't get enough! Come Let us Anew is my favorite, but the awesomeness of the Choir is demonstrated in every song.
The music, the voices of the Mormon Tabernachle Choir remains the one American tradition constant in todays changing times.
by Ron - reviewed on October 30, 2007
I first heard the Mormon Tabernachle Choir when I was a young Methodist farm boy in upstate, N.Y. Over the passing years, I by chance, would catch a performance on a tv show. Finally, it dawned on me, that if I liked the music by the rich voices of this magnificent choir, then why don't I purchase some of their CD's!? I have and this latest addition, 'America's Choir' will remain in my cd player for several weeks. It is a remarkable collection of songs. There are but a few American traditions remaining in our gracious country today. The Mormon Tabernachle Choir is one of them. , Ron Bliss, Concord, N.C.
by Travis - reviewed on November 05, 2008
Amazing book which commemorates the best choir on earth!
Music (16 tracks )
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