The Choir is known for its stirring patriotic music from "God Bless America" to "America, the Dream Goes On." True to that tradition, in conjunction with BYU Broadcasting, the Choir has prepared "The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Salutes Our Armed Forces," a one hour special featuring Broadway super-star Brian Stokes Mitchell and recording artist Linda Eder which will air on BYUtv and KBYU in November. The program was recorded during a live concert performed by the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square earlier in the year. The Veteran's Day tribute recognizes those who have left their homes to bring peace to troubled areas around the world.
Accompanied by the Orchestra, the Choir also sings "Hymn to the Fallen," "Who Are the Brave," "They, the Builders of a Nation," and "Come, Come Ye Saints." Mitchell performs "What a Wonderful World," and one of his ragtime hits, "Wheels of a Dream." Eder introduces the audience to a selection written at the time of the 9/11 disaster called "If I Had My Way" and also performs a moving version of "I'll Be Seeing You."
In addition to the spectacular music, a series of short video vignettes feature accounts of four who have served in the Armed Forces with two focusing on World War II experiences including, Brian Stokes Mitchell's father, George Mitchell, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen—African-American servicemen who broke the racial barrier and opened the door for airmen to serve side-by-side. The elder Mitchell says during the video, "Always try to do the best job you possibly can. Never any halfway measures. Go right to the top." When introducing his father in the audience, Brian Stokes Mitchell said, "Dad, I love performing here, because this is a room full of friends, and now they are all your friends too."
Other veterans whose service is spotlighted on the special include Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott's father, Richard Louis Elliott Jr., Dale A. Rasmussen, a choir member since 1995, and Jill Shepherd, daughter of choir member Karen Stevens. "What these men and women from several branches of the military represent are ordinary people doing extraordinary things under enormous pressure," explains BYU Broadcasting producer Jim Bell. "Their faith, determination and desire to make a difference when the stakes are high make a compelling story."
The program will be shown on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11 on BYUtv at 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and midnight.