On August 22, 1847, The Tabernacle Choir performed for the first time under a sagebrush-roofed bowery in the Salt Lake Valley. Now, 175 years later, the Choir has come a long way from those humble beginnings and has sung in cities and countries around the world.
But this anniversary isn’t just about what the Choir has accomplished—from Europe to Asia to the Pacific, the Choir has helped bring the Spirit and share the gospel with countless listeners through music. So in honor of its first performance, here’s a brief timeline of other “firsts” of where the Choir has performed live throughout the years. See how many of them you know—and if any of them surprise you.
Note: This list does not include broadcasts, recordings, or awards the Choir has received. Do you know of other significant locations where the Choir has performed not found on this list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1847: The Tabernacle Choir sings for the first time during general conference just 29 days after the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley.
- 1893: The Choir received an invitation to perform at the Columbian Exhibition for the Chicago World’s Fair. This was considered to be the Choir’s first concert tour outside of Utah.
- 1911: For the first time, the Choir performed for a US president. They sang for President William Howard Taft in Madison Square Garden.
- 1934: The First Presidency received a request from Henry Ford, president of the Ford Motor Company, who asked them to consider sending the Choir to Chicago for the Century of Progress Expedition. The Choir accepted the invitation, and a Ford employee later told the Deseret News that the Choir’s performance was “one of the outstanding musical events of the season.”
- 1955: The Choir traveled to Europe for the first time for a seven-week concert tour. The Choir sang in Glasgow, Manchester, London, and Cardiff, United Kingdom; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin and Wiesbaden, Germany; Amsterdam and Scheveningen, The Netherlands; Bern and Zurich, Switzerland; Paris, France.
- 1979: Singing in eastern Asia for the first time, the Choir performed in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyoto, Japan. It also performed in Seoul, Korea.
- 1981: The Choir performed in Brazil during its first South American tour.
- 1982: The Choir visited Norway, Sweden, and Finland for the first time in its 12th international tour.
- 1984: On June 25, the Choir performed for the first time in Ottawa, Canada, the nation’s capital.
- 1987: For the bicentennial celebration of the US Constitution, the Choir performed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Constitution was debated, drafted, and signed in 1787.
- 1988: For the first time, the Choir sang in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. On that trip, the Choir sang in 17 separate concerts and was invited to participate in activities celebrating the bicentennial of the founding of Australia. It was after this invitation that US president Ronald Reagan sent a telegram to the Choir, calling it “America’s most renowned musical ensemble.”
- 1991: The Choir had its first opportunity to sing for audiences in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. The Choir’s concert in Budapest, Hungary, received eight encores and six curtain calls.
- 1992–93: The Choir toured for the first time in Israel from December 25–January 6. It performed in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.
- 2001: The Choir sang the national anthem at a Utah Jazz game.
- 2002: The Choir performed for the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
- 2003: The Boston Pops and The Tabernacle Choir performed together for the first time on July 4, 2003. Over 600,000 people filled Boston’s Esplanade by the Charles River for the performance.
- 2015: On July 3, 2015, the Choir took the field at Yankee Stadium in New York City, opening the game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. It was believed to be the first time the Choir has sung at a profession baseball game.
- 2015: The Choir’s first performance at the United States Military Academy with the West Point Band was held on July 4, 2015. The West Point Band was established in 1817 and is the Army’s oldest band.
▶ You may also like: ‘A gift to the Master’: 20 years of Tabernacle Choir Christmas magic