Today’s “Countdown to Conference” message comes from the late LDS prophet Gordon B. Hinckley [1910-2008], during the April 1996 General Conference of the church.
During his concluding remarks, President Hinckley shared a specific message regarding the sacred mission and purpose of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
“I wish to say a particular word about this Tabernacle Choir, who have sung to us today. I came across a letter written by Wilford W. Woodruff (1807-1898) and his counselors, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, under date of 11 February 1895, 101 years ago. It was addressed to the choir at that time. It reads:
“We desire to see this choir not only maintain the high reputation it has earned at home and abroad, but become the highest exponent of the ‘Divine Art’ in all the land; and the worthy head, example and leader of all other choirs and musical bodies in the Church, inspiring musicians and poets with purest sentiment and song and harmony, until its light shall shine forth to the world undimmed, and nations shall be charmed by its music.”
The letter goes on:
“This choir is and should be a great auxiliary to the cause of Zion. By means of its perfection in the glorious realm of song, it may unstop the ears of thousands now deaf to the truth, soften their stony hearts, and inspire precious souls with a love for that which is divine. Thus removing prejudice, dispelling ignorance and shedding forth the precious light of heaven to tens of thousands who have been, and are still, misled concerning us.”
– Wilford W. Woodruff, 11 February 1895
(in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1965–75], 3:267–68).
Such has been the responsibility resting upon this choir for more than a century. Personnel changes have occurred through the years, but the quality of performance has only improved. This choir is one of the great treasures of the Church. I think it is one of the great treasures of America. I regard it as the outstanding choir in all the world. May it continue its great mission of providing lofty and inspiring music at home and abroad. I thank, in behalf of the entire Church, the officers, directors, organists, and members of this dedicated body of talented and gifted musicians who give so generously of their time.”
- President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Remember Thy Church O Lord,” April 1996