Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square returns to Wales and Scotland

by Sister Bodine

Tabernacle Choir

For more than a century, music from The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has uplifted listeners globally.  As part of the Choir’s upcoming Heritage Tour, the 360-voice volunteer choir and 65 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square will perform in Wales and Scotland for the first time since 1955.  Originally planned for 2020, the tour was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rescheduled tour will take place from June 17th to July 8th and will also include performances in four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The name of the tour reflects the history of the Choir, which was founded upon the musical talents of early converts to the Church from the British Isles, homeland to five of six early conductors of the Choir.

“We stand on the shoulders of these musical pioneers who created a legacy that has influenced the entire world for good,” said Choir President Ron Jarrett.  “What an honour it will be to share the joy and peace the music of the Choir brings in some of the very places where it all began.”

John Parry, first conductor of the Choir, led 85 fellow Welsh converts in singing for the 1849 general conference of the Church in Salt Lake City.  Afterward, Brigham Young asked Parry to formalise a choir for future conferences.  From 1849 to 1854 John led the choir which would later be known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“It is an honour to have The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform in Wales and Scotland,” said Area Seventy Elder Alan T Phillips.  “As Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom and Ireland, we feel a unique bond to the Choir and appreciation for the inspired music they share throughout the world.”

Other early conductors from the British Isles, and their tenures, are James Smithies, England 1856-1862; Charles John Thomas, England 1862-65; Robert Sands, Ireland 1865-1869; and George Careless, England 1869-1880.

George Careless began his musical career in London in 1862 after completing formal studies at the Royal Academy of Music located in the capital.

In 1865, Brigham Young approached Careless and said, “Brother George, I have a mission for you.  I want you to be Chief Musician of the Church.  I want you to take The Tabernacle Choir and the Theatre Orchestra and lay a foundation for good music.”

He subsequently became the centre of musical activity in the Church in his role as conductor.

The first Heritage Tour concert in the United Kingdom will be in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 2nd at Usher Hall.  Tickets for the performance are available and can be purchased on the Usher Hall webpage at

“It is exciting to have the Choir and Orchestra perform in Scotland,” said Evelyn Liston, Heritage Tour Media Liaison for Scotland.  “Their reputation precedes them, and the concert will be memorable for all who attend.”

In Wales, concerts will be held on July 5th in Cardiff, by invitation only, at St. David’s Hall, and on July 6th in Newport, for the general public, at the International Convention Centre Wales.  Ticket information for the concert in Newport can be found at

“Music is foundational to our culture in Wales,” said Simon Gibson CBE DL, Heritage Tour VIP Chair for Wales.  “The musical messages of hope and joy from the Choir and Orchestra will resonate with the Welsh people, from all backgrounds and faiths. With their origins in Wales and the Welsh language, we look forward to welcoming the Choir home.”