Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to...."Music & The Spoken Word"

The following information comes from the Mormon Tabernacle Newseletter dated July 17, 2009. Happy 80th!!!!!!

80th Anniversary of Music and the Spoken Word

It was on a Tuesday about midday on July 15, 1929 when the first radio broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir took place. The originating station, KZN, predecessor of today’s KSL, went off the air temporarily so that its only microphone could be carried across town and suspended high in the Tabernacle to pick up the sound of the Choir.

Ted Kimball, the first announcer for the program, stood atop a ladder the entire 30 minutes to announce the numbers on the program. The program was aired to 30 stations around the country and was well-received. That was 80 years ago and Music and the Spoken Word has been aired every week since, becoming the longest continuous network radio broadcast in the world.

Several celebrations mark the 80th anniversary. On Wednesday, July 15—the exact day 80 years ago of the first broadcast—the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed a concert at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah. Dubbed the “8th stop” of their recently concluded Central States Tour, the concert was also a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Ogden Rodeo Days.

On Friday, July 17, the annual Pioneer Day Commemoration Concert held in honor of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in 1847 will honor the pioneering broadcasting efforts of the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. The Choir and Orchestra will perform music from their recent tour program plus other songs interspersed with video and narration about the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast over the years.

Finally, on Sunday, July 19—the actual conclusion of the 80th year of broadcasting—a special ceremony will be held following the landmark broadcast featuring remarks by Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Bruce T. Reese, CEO of Bonneville International, distributor of the broadcast; Choir President Mac Christensen and Music Director Mack Wilberg. The anniversary will conclude as it does each week with the Choir singing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”

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