Musical luminaries and others such Katherine Jenkins, Nathan Gunn, Donny Osmond, Marie Osmond, Tom Brokaw, Michael York, Lindsey Stirling, Edward Herrmann, the Piano Guys and even the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson, welcomed the Choir to YouTube with congratulatory videos at the event held in the Conference Center Theater in downtown Salt Lake City.
“This is an historic achievement for the Choir,” said Choir president Ron Jarrett. “Our YouTube channel is one part of a larger digital initiative that will allow us to reach a truly global audience, from South America and Africa to Asia and Europe and beyond. People can now enjoy the Choir on their terms and easily share our music with their friends and family.”
As YouTube is particularly popular with a younger demographic, the announcement of the new channel was made to an audience filled with high school and college choral students, who also had the opportunity for a private Q&A with associate music director Ryan Murphy following the event.
This new channel will feature a variety of content, including music videos, such as the one unveiled at the news conference featuring soloist Alex Boyé singing the African American spiritual, “I Want Jesus to Walk Me” with the Choir. His portion of the video was filmed on-site in Ghana at the Cape Coast Castle, which was used historically in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Currently, there are 30 music videos on the YouTube channel with more to come in the future. The channel also features playlists and popular past performances such as the Pioneer Concert with Katherine Jenkins.
But most importantly, the Choir’s seminal program, Music and the Spoken Word, is now accessible to a worldwide audience via the YouTube channel. Music and the Spoken Word is the longest continuing broadcast in the world, first airing on July 15, 1929 in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, and now fans from around the world can view new episodes following their weekly broadcast, as well as watch again favorites from previous weeks whenever they like.
The medium has changed, but the ability of the Choir’s music to give others joy and peace has not. “I’ve always strived for the Choir’s music to be an emotional journey for the listener,” said music director Mack Wilberg. “From now on, the Choir will have the ability to travel to the listener through the Internet, spreading our music and message like never before.”
In keeping with the Choir’s new digital initiative, today’s event was live-tweeted and streamed on the Choir’s official Facebook page. Afterward, members of the Choir participated in a Google+ hangout, answering questions about their experiences singing with such a renowned organization.
The Choir is composed of 360 volunteer singers ages 25-60 who are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They practice and perform weekly and are accompanied frequently by the Orchestra at Temple Square.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is one of the oldest and largest choirs in the world and has performed before U.S. presidents, sold millions of records, won scores of awards and enthralled audiences in dozens of countries.
The Choir’s recordings have earned two platinum and five gold albums. The Choir has also recorded with some of the world’s great orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Since 2003, the Choir has had its own recording label, Mormon Tabernacle Choir®, which has released over 25 CDs, many of which have topped the classical music charts in Billboard® magazine. Its latest release is Once Upon a Christmas featuring Jane Seymour and Nathan Gunn, with music recorded live during the Choir’s 2011 Christmas concerts on Temple Square.
The new YouTube channel will join the Choir’s other social media profiles, which include a Facebook page with nearly 250,000 fans and a Twitter account with 10,000 followers. As with other social media channels, fans can subscribe to the Choir’s YouTube channel to receive regular updates when new content is added to the channel.