Latter-day Saint Life

How the Tabernacle Choir’s Arrangement of “Brightly Beams” Helped One Man See Past Theological Differences


On this week’s episode of All In, host Morgan Jones speaks with Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, directors of the Tabernacle Choir, in the basement of the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle. Discussing their personal love for music, guest artists, and missionary opportunities among other things, the episode provides uniquely personal insight into the men behind (or rather, in front of) the Choir.

In anticipation of the Choir’s latest release, Let Us All Press On, we asked the directors of the Choir about the missionary opportunities they have experienced as a result of their involvement with the Choir. Being a part of the Choir is no small commitment. For starters, upon acceptance into the Choir, members receive an official letter calling them to serve as musical missionaries for the Church. They rehearse up to five hours per week and perform weekly in the Choir’s weekly broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word, the world’s longest-running continuous network broadcast having been on air for 90 years. During this episode of All In, Ryan Murphy shared one missionary experience that carried special significance for him.

Listen to the entire episode in the player below or by clicking here.

MJ: Are there any particular missionary opportunities that you’ve had over the years as you’ve traveled around the world with the Choir that stand out in your mind?

RM: Well the great thing about the Choir is that missionary opportunities are happening all the time, every time they sing. And I would say that most of the missionary work the Choir does we don’t know about it, we don’t find out about it. And sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. But every time they sing I feel like people’s hearts are being touched.

I had an experience with an arrangement that I wrote of “Brightly Beams [Our Father’s Mercy],” which is on this new CD. And I received a letter from a man that was a member of the Assemblies of God church, and [he] said, “I liked this song, but your new arrangement of it has just made me love it.” And he said, “Because of this arrangement, I can see past theological differences and I see Christ in you and in the Choir, and thank you for writing it.” So that was very touching to me. I think many times the Choir is touching hearts and lives. And again, sometimes we know about it and sometimes we don’t.

MW: I think everything that we do, literally everything we do, and this is part of our mission, is in some way a missionary effort.

Listen to the entire episode here.

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