Note: Originally published as “What it’s like to play the organ for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir” on July 8, 2015, by Kelsey Schwab Adams, For the Deseret News.
Note: The choir is now called “The Tabernacle Choir.”
“I can’t even say how many times I have said a silent prayer as I walked out to perform and after the recital somebody came up to me in tears and said, ‘That was my father or my mother’s favorite hymn who passed away last year. How did you know?’ To me it’s a sign that Heavenly Father loves us and cares about his children.”
SALT LAKE CITY — Playing the 11,623-pipe organ that accompanies the Mormon Tabernacle Choir — often before a live audience of thousands of people — is an experience that organists describe as “exultant,” “incredible,” “celestial,” “sublime” and “awesome.”
Thirteen people have had the occupation of full-time organist. Currently, Richard Elliott, Clay Christiansen and Andrew Unsworth hold the position, with Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts as part-time professional organists.
It’s a select group. And on May 9 in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, a tribute concert was held to honor one of their own: Tabernacle organist emeritus Robert Cundick on the 50th anniversary of his appointment.
Featured photo: Richard Elliott is one of the organists who performed at the Robert Cundick Tribute Concert at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News