Music & the Spoken Word is the longest-running uninterrupted network broadcast in the world. On air for the last 87 years, the half-hour weekly broadcast, featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and inspirational messages, has become part of American culture.
“People of all faiths or no faith, and people from all walks of life and backgrounds, watch and listen to the broadcast as it becomes like a trusted friend that has been there for them year in and year out for decades,” said BYU professor Lloyd Newell, announcer of the broadcast. The role of announcer is a church calling.
Newell said the inspirational program presents universal messages of hope, peace and comfort and are non-denominational. Music & the Spoken Word is designed “to spread goodwill to people around the world,” he said.
Newell, who has been the announcer of the program for the past 25 years, said he often gets letters from people around the world thanking him for the weekly broadcast and its influence in their lives.
“Some tell me it’s their weekly worship service, others tell me it’s the bright spot of their week, still others tell me that it lifts their spirits and helps them deal with their trials and difficulties,” Newell said.
Nicolas Montanez, a BYU student athlete from Tuscon, Arizona, is not LDS, but he went to Temple Square last Sunday morning to watch Music & the Spoken Word live. He said he heard how beautiful the broadcast was from his teammates and decided to go see for himself.
“I was very impressed,” Montanez said. “It was powerful to see such a unity in the choir. It was beautiful.”
On the Sunday Montanez visited, the broadcast was about words of appreciation and expression of gratitude.
Montanez said the message was relevant to his own personal life and fit with everything going on in the world today.
Music & the Spoken Word adheres to its origins, but tries to remain relevant in today’s society as well.
“Each week we try to be true to our history and heritage, and yet we try to keep it fresh and vibrant as we move into a new and rapidly changing century,” Newell said.
Newell said the Orchestra at Temple Square was added 15 years ago and regularly performs with the choir. The broadcast has also added more visuals, narratives, arrangements and songs over the years.
BYU student Brenna Wilkinson is from Utah and has been a member of the LDS Church her whole life, but she remembers the last time she went to the live broadcast on Temple Square.
“I was impressed by the choir preparation,” she said. “They had a broad repertoire of songs and really tried to make it an event for everyone to attend.”
She said people of all ages and places were present there. Wilkinson said she even remembers going with her dad and some family friends, who had brought a friend from Iran.
As Wilkinson and her family exited the Tabernacle, she said sister missionaries from all around the world, speaking different languages, were welcoming people and inviting them to ask questions.
Music & the Spoken Word broadcasts to more countries and regions of the world than ever before. The broadcast airs every Sunday morning at 9:30 MST and previous episodes are available online for listening and viewing.
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