So, Our call time was 7:20 in the morning. That’s when we had to be there ready to sing. I’m not exactly a morning person so this was a little hard. To soften the blow, I decided to stay at my Grandma’s condo up in Salt Lake. It’s right across the street from the LDS Conference Center, so virtually no travel time! Still had to get up wicked early. So, after early wake up, short breakfast, beautification, I was ready to go.
Getting there we rehearsed for a bit in this room with a way low ceiling. Warming up such difficult repertoire early in the morning is super hard. But the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square gave us cookies! They’re awesome. After our warm up and individual rehearsal we went up to join the choir in the loft.
They put us in the center section and sat and listened to the Tabernacle Choir rehearse. Dr. Wilberg is meticulous when he rehearses. We’re used to the same finickiness from Dr. Staheli, but it just seemed a little odd coming from Dr. Wilberg for some reason, I’m not sure why. Anyway, he had some brilliant things to say (“Men, put it in the top shelf”). He knows exactly what he wants and knows exactly how to get it. We then rehearsed some of our pieces together and our solo pieces. We sang “There is a Balm in Gilead,” and “Whither Goest Thou Pilgrim, Stranger.” The latter of which is actually rather difficult for us because, we’re used to singing it with Concert Choir and their huge sound. Alas, there’s only 40 of us. We did well though.
Next came our taped run through of the entire program. For some reason, singing for TV is ten times more stressful than it normally is. I mean, we’ve sung in front of cameras before, but Live TV is even more intense. After that came a break, and then the main event, the 9:30 downbeat. It was pretty exciting I must say. What a great challenge and wonderful opportunity.
I was surprised to find that rehearsal was so short. The responsibility is really on every single singer. If you’re not there, you’re not there, and ain’t nobody gonna pick up the slack after you. I was also surprised to find that there weren’t more briefings and policies about what you can and cannot do during a broadcast, or what to do in case something happens. I was also surprised to find myself really really tired at the end. Probably more tired then even our huge two hour concert (more on that later). I dunno.
Anyway, singing with the Tabernacle Choir on Music and the Spoken Word was a thrill. I highly recommend it to anyone out there. It’s really quite exciting to sing with 300 really great musicians who are volunteering their time just like you.
P.S. Some guys from the Tab choir starting making fun of our ladies’ outfit with their blue sparkles. The ladies basically retorted, “You’re one to talk, you’re wearing a burgondy blazer!” And the pot calls the kettle black. Hilarious.