7 facts about the LDS Conference Center to celebrate 15 years

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General conference is just around the corner, which means people will be flooding Temple Square as they attend sessions in the Conference Center.

In 2000, the Conference Center was finished just in time for the April sessions of conference. To honor its 15 years of operation, here are some fun facts about the Conference Center.

1. Conference Center fire

On April 16, 2012 a small fire broke out in the Conference Center. According to a church press release, the fire was put out by two sprinklers. Luckily neither the water nor the fire caused too much damage.

2. After-conference cleanup volunteers

According to the Church’s Public Affairs office, after full house events (general conference, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, etc.) the Conference Center is cleaned by 80 volunteers from nearby stakes. The Conference Center has a custodial crew of about 45 people that clean the center every night.

3. The Conference Center offers tours

Missionaries wait outside the Salt Lake Tabernacle for visitors. (Lauren Buchanan)
Missionaries wait outside the Salt Lake Tabernacle for visitors. (Lauren Buchanan)

Missionaries walk around Temple Square. (Lauren Buchanan)

From 2002 to 2014 more than 4 million people toured the Conference Center. The Conference Center itself is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last tour starting at 8 p.m. Groups can schedule tours by calling 801-240-4931.

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4. Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert

The annual Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert first started in 2000, the year the Conference Center was finished. The first guests to perform with the choir were singer Gladys Knight and actress Roma Downey. Other performers include Angela Lansbury (2001), Walter Cronkite (2002), Frederica von Stade and Bryn Terfel (2003), Audra McDonald and Peter Graves (2004), Renee Fleming and Claire Bloom (2005), Sissel (2006), The King’s Singers (2007), Brian Stokes Mitchell and Edward Herrmann (2008), Natalie Cole and David McCullough (2009), David Archuleta and Michael York, (2010), Nathan Gunn and Jane Seymour (2011), Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw (2012), Deborah Voigt and John Rhys-Davies (2013) and Santino Fontana and The Sesame Street Muppets (2014).

The show is so popular that tickets aren’t for sale but are requested. From those who request tickets, recipients are selected.

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5. Santino Fontana at the Conference Center

Of all the guests who have performed at the Conference Center, Santino Fontana has performed at the most events. Fontana was one of the guests for the 2014 Christmas concert, but he also performed at the 2014 Pioneer Day Concert and sang during a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert, “From the Treasury of American Song,” in February 2015.

Not only does he hold the record for most guest performances in the Conference Center with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, we’re pretty sure he also holds the  record for most performances within 12 months.

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6. The organ pipes

It may not look like it at first glance, but the pipe organ in the Conference Center has 7,708 pipes. Many of the smaller pipes aren’t even visible to the audience. In comparison, the pipe organ in the Salt Lake Tabernacle has 11,623 pipes.

7. Translation Booths

The Conference Center houses nearly 60 booths used for the translation of general conference addresses into other languages. According to LDS.org approximately 800 people work during the sessions to translate the conference messages, with two people in the booths and others outside the booths evaluating the quality of the translations. The messages are translated into a total of 92 languages.

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