Mormon choir to tour Reno
December 4, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY – The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will tour Reno and Northern California next summer after security concerns forced church officials to cancel a planned tour abroad.
The 360-voice choir initially was to have traveled to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, decided that would make the musicians too easy a target for anyone with a grudge against the United States.
The tour then was changed to England, Scotland and Wales, with a two-day stopover in Paris. But that itinerary also was deemed too dangerous, forcing the choir to tour California and the Pacific Northwest.
It will perform concerts in Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and Reno, in addition to locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
“No matter where you go, traveling with the choir is still a treat and a blessing,” said tenor Douglas Smith of Salt Lake City.
Church spokesman Dale Bills declined comment on the canceled international tour.
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The church, which has 60,000 Mormon missionaries in more than 150 countries, has an extensive global security network.
The all-volunteer Tabernacle Choir has been touring outside of Utah since going to Chicago in 1893 for the Columbian Exposition.
It has made 11 international trips since its first European tour in 1955, traveling to Canada, Central America, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, the former Soviet Union and Israel.
It also performed at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents – George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Expenses for the tours are paid by revenues from the choir’s recordings, five of which have achieved gold-record status, as well as from concert ticket sales.