Michael O. Leavitt, president of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, addressed a virtual audience of members of the Choir organization Thursday night as he announced four new high-level objectives that will set a bold and historic direction for the famed Choir and Orchestra.
Leavitt and his counselors, L. Whitney Clayton and Gary B. Porter, have been in place for six months. During that time, they have followed counsel given when they were called by Church President Russell M. Nelson that they should prayerfully look for innovative and transformative ways for the Choir to meet the mission of the Church in the future.
Leavitt said when they returned recently to the First Presidency to ask for approval of their key objectives and plans, “President Nelson and his counselors expressed their enthusiastic approval of what we will discuss with you tonight.”
The first of the four new key objectives for the organization is to expand the Choir’s digital audience. Currently, the Choir organization reports its social media activity in hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The Choir now aspires to measure this reach in the tens of millions by seeking new and more diverse audiences worldwide and moving from CDs and DVDs to streaming on social media and evolving with technology. A group of experts is being assembled within and outside of Church headquarters to address how this can be accomplished.
The second key objective is to magnify the Choir’s missionary role. President Clayton said, “It is often easier to start a gospel conversation by making a gift of sacred music to a friend or stranger than it is to ask direct questions about their faith. We also believe there are ways the Choir and Orchestra can give a boost to the missions of the Church as they perform around the world.”
The third key objective for the Choir is to reflect the Church’s worldwide mission. President Leavitt said, “An important part of this objective is for the Choir to reflect the nature of the Church’s global membership. This has been a conversation for many years and earnest efforts have been made to incorporate members whose heritage reflects the worldwide church. The First Presidency has authorized the Choir presidency to explore new alternatives that will help us accomplish this objective.”
The last key objective of the Choir is to increase worldwide visibility. The mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the earth, and, in support of that mission, The Tabernacle Choir periodically conducts tours. President Leavitt said, “It is our objective to become even more visible worldwide. We plan to be seen in more countries where the Choir’s physical presence will make a difference by lifting missionary work, inspiring member devotion, and building important friendships for the Church.”
President Leavitt also announced that the 2022 Heritage Tour to the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom by the Choir and Orchestra, originally scheduled for 2020 and postponed in 2021, has been canceled. Leavitt said, “The recent omicron surge has not permitted the extensive monthslong preparation needed for the Choir to be able to accomplish the diplomatic and missionary purposes of the tour. Even though by summer conditions may have changed to make travel feasible, circumstances simply don’t allow us to prepare adequately.” Further details about the tour cancellation, including information on ticket refunds, will be posted when available at tabchoir.org/tour.
In addition to the Choir’s new objectives, President Porter announced that the Choir will make major investments in information technology, innovations to expand wardrobe production capacity, and ways to increase and elevate the use of the Choir School.
At the end of Thursday night’s meeting, President Leavitt stressed to members of the Choir organization that they had only received a framework for the future and there would be more details and specifics over the next three months. He encouraged members to think of these changes as gradual, occurring over multiple years, but with astonishing results.
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