President Thomas S.
Monson joined Mormon Tabernacle Choir members, staff and friends Sunday,
April 26, 2009, to say thanks and farewell to one the largest single groups of
choir members to retire at one time. Twenty-three choir members — seven men and
16 women — said goodbye to their fellow singers Sunday because they have reached
the age or years of service that choir policy dictates they must retire from
active membership in what President Ronald Reagan called \"America's Choir.\"Tabernacle Choir members, all of whom are volunteers but join the choir by
invitation following an extensive audition and training period, can serve only
between the ages of 25 and 60 and for no more than 20 years. At age 60, or 20
years of service, they must retire, always a bittersweet moment for those who
have given so much of their own time and expense to sing with the choir through
rehearsals, broadcasts, concerts, recordings and tours.
Sunday's group of 23 retirees (actually 24, but one, Lou Ann Crisler, left
earlier in the year to accompany her husband in England) represents 393 years of
service to the choir. Half, 12 of the group, served the maximum of 20-plus years
under the batons of Jerold Ottley, Craig Jessop and today's musical director
Mack Wilberg. Three of the retirees have served for fewer than 10 years, with
the others going back 10 to 20 years each. The average for the group is 16
years.Read the full story on ldschurchnews.com.