Mormon Tabernacle Choir's importance is in its missionary work

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's importance is not in its repertoire, its chart-topping hits or the proliferation of its televised Christmas concerts, but rather in its purpose as a missionary organization, said Heidi S. Swinton, who chronicled the choir in a 2004 PBS documentary and accompanying book "America's Choir."

"If we step back a pace and see the people who stand at concerts all over the country and world and stamp their feet and cheer, as if they were participating in some incredible rock concert, it's amazing to note that this is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," she said.

Swinton delivered a lecture Friday at the LDS Church History Museum for its "Evenings at the Museum" series.

"Every time the Tabernacle Choir sings 'Come, Come, Ye Saints,' there is a hush and a stillness that comes over the congregation," Swinton said, adding that the choir takes to the world "the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They sing that message with the power of the Spirit in a way that reaches out into the hearts of those that are listening, and it brings them to an understanding that Jesus Christ lives."

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