Reader voices: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and me

By K. Clark Mitchell

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Feb. 23 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

We were in a tough spot! The announcer had left the room for a few minutes leaving us to fret about the question. When he returned he could see the worried look on our faces and said, "Well, let me listen to you two guys." He then placed Elder Richards and I in the glass broadcast booth in front of the microphone with the text of a Spoken Word sermon in our hands and auditioned us both on the spot.

The rest is history. After our audition, to my great surprise, he turned to me and said, "Your voice sounds good and you'll do just fine."

During those last three months, I found myself nervously facing the microphone and struggling to do justice to the wonderful and inspirational talks of our great Elder Richard L. Evans and loving every single minute of it. I was able to closely connect and identify with Elder Evans as a result of reading his talks over and over before the broadcast to try to get them right.

We came very close to missing a broadcast only one time. On the Sabbath day, we usually attended meetings in the lovely little North Vancouver Branch. We attended church, had dinner with members and then left to catch a bus either across the Lion's Gate bridge or to a ferry dock.

This day we missed the bus and it was raining hard. We always carried our umbrella canes and were not getting too wet, but we were getting later by the minute and in danger of being late to broadcast.

Relief came in the form of a stranger driving by who noticed we were in trouble with the next bus 30 minutes away and us in the rain. He made a U-turn and came back and asked if he could help. Gratefully we told him that we had an urgent appointment in downtown Vancouver. He then proceeded to drive us across the Burrard Inlet and into downtown and let us off exactly in front of CKMO with a little time to spare.

Those were experiences never to be forgotten as I had the privilege of weekly hearing the sacred opening hymn, "Gently Raise the Sacred Strain for the Sabbath's Come Again," and our beautiful "God Be with You 'til We Meet Again," while I (quite unbelievably as I think back on it today) heard myself saying those wonderful and traditional words: "Again we leave you within the shadows of the Everlasting Hills. May peace be with you this day and always ….

Yes, I have had a short and sweet relationship with our most wonderful Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I will always treasure it and never forget it.

Elder Richards and I gave our very last "Music and the Spoken Word, originating from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah" on the 7th of December (Pearl Harbor Day) 1952.

K. Clark Mitchell lives in Salt Lake City.

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