Billboard Magazine’s latest year-in-review charts for 2012 named the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as the No. 1 Traditional Classical Albums Artist.
Overall, the Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square charted on five of the year-end lists. The albums on Billboard’s list include “GLORY! Music of Rejoicing,” “This Is the Christ” and “Glad Christmas Tidings,” featuring David Archuleta.
Kristin Gerdy, a law professor at BYU, is a second alto in the choir. She has been a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for two years and participated in recording the 2012 albums. Gerdy said the choir usually practices on Thursday evenings for two and a half hours. They also practice for about an hour on Sunday mornings before the choir’s weekly broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.”
While speaking of the talent involved in the Choir, Gerdy mentioned a recent Thursday practice that was cancelled due to inclement weather. This only allowed the choir an hour of practice before the Sunday morning broadcast.
“The broadcast was incredible,” Gerdy stated. “Nobody watching it would have ever guessed that there was an hour’s worth of rehearsal for that entire broadcast. A lot of it is the talent of the people, but a lot of it comes from the blessings of what we’re doing in being musical missionaries.”
Kathryn Collier has played the violin with the Orchestra at Temple Square for almost 13 years. Collier also mentioned the blessing of sharing the gospel through music.
“It’s made very clear that we are musical missionaries, but it’s the gospel that we’re spreading, and music is the medium through which we are spreading it. We are first and foremost missionaries of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When you can take your talent and use it to bear your testimony, there’s no better way to share the gospel.”
Collier speculated that the spirit in the music is what helped the albums top Billboard’s charts in 2012.
“I think the reason they do so well is that they fulfill a need–a spiritual need–that people don’t always get through their choices of albums,” she said. I think they speak to the soul and to the spirit whereas a lot of the music that we hear is pretty much surface.”
Gerdy agreed with Collier on the reason she believed the albums were so successful and attributes much credit to the director and associate director, Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy.
“I think they were all very popular and ended up where they did on Billboard because they reach different audiences and they fill needs that people have and want from music,” Gerdy said. “I think these three albums, the programming and even just the sequence of the pieces shows the genius that Mack and Ryan have. They are musical geniuses.”
Sherry Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book, praised the Choir for the Billboard honors.
“This designation is much deserved and reflects the masterful music that the Choir and Orchestra both produce, both in concert and recordings,” she said in a news release. “It’s well known that Mack Wilberg is a musical genius and this just further validates it.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir recently released a new recording, “Teach Me To Walk in the Light & other Children’s Favorites.” It is now available in stores and on iTunes.