The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2011 summer tour could be called "The Centennial Tour." It was 100 years ago that predecessors of today's singers embarked on a multi-city tour to venues in the eastern United States.
During the 5,500-mile tour of 1911, the choir performed 50 concerts, including Ogden, Utah; Cheyenne, Wyo., Omaha, Neb.; Chicago, Ill.; Detroit, Mich; New York City, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; Toledo, Ohio; Richmond Va.; Indianapolis, Ind; St. Louis, Mo.; Topeka, Kans; Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo. The 200 singers on the tour were gone a little more than a month; they left Salt Lake City on Oct. 23 and returned on Nov. 26.
Following is this year's concert tour schedule for the choir and Orchestra at Temple Square:
June 20, Norfolk, Va., Scope Arena
June 22, Vienna, Va., Wolf Trap
June 23, Philadelphia, Pa., Mann Center
June 25, Chautauqua, N.Y. (two performances)
June 27, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Roy Thomson Hall (two performances)
This year's tour will be the third time in eight years that that choir has performed at Chautauqua; earlier performances were in 2003 and 2007. This will be the sixth time the choir has performed in Toronto; previous concerts were in 1958, 1969, 1984, 1992 and 2007.
Generally, the choir goes on tour every other year, usually for 10-14 days. While this year's tour is for a shorter duration — a few hours over one week — it will be demanding. For example, the choir and orchestra members are to leave on a flight from Salt Lake City in the pre-dawn hours on June 20 and perform a concert that evening in Norfolk. To perform at Chautauqua, the musicians will leave their hotel in Buffalo, N.Y., at 9 a.m. and perform a concert at 2 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m. and return to their hotel around midnight. After performing a matinee and evening concert in Toronto, they will go to the airport and fly directly to Salt Lake City. Except for the flights from and to Salt Lake City, travel will be by bus.
Mack Wilberg, musical director, said the willingness of the singers and orchestra members to perform on such a rigorous schedule is "a testament to the dedication and intent and purpose when everyone goes on tour. Choir members are set apart as missionaries. Missionaries don't wilt when they get tired; they go knock on one more door before they go home."
When members of the choir and orchestra get tired they will, as during past tours, "sing one more song."
More information about the choir's tour and the purchase of tickets may be found on mormontabernaclechoir.org.