I remember Craig Jessup from the Rheinpfalz International Choir in Germany,
where his outstanding leadership trained a no-audition community choir of
military family members to sing Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Requiem" good enough for
German TV. It was a highlight of my 3 years in Europe. Thank you, Dr Jessup
for your time and effort.
Wednesday August 13, 2008Brother Jessop, as I have always enjoyed
music, it was a priviledge to hear and see you conduct the LDS Tabernacle Choir.
For whatever reason you had to resign as the choir leader, I'm absolutely
positive our Lord and Saviour had a hand in it. May our Lord and Father in
heavan, bless you and your loving family.
Craig brought a new level to the Choir and we wish you well in your new
assignment. We love you and wish you and your family well in all you do.
I realize there is not much evidence to go on here, since those who know aren't
talking. But one thing that should be pointed out is what the president of the
Choir, Mac Christensen, said about Jessop's departure. He could have said
nothing, kept quiet and let the "official" statement be the last word. But he
has been effusive in his praise of Jessop. He went on record, immediately
following the resignation, and spoke at length about how he feels personally
toward Jessop and what Jessop's contributions have been. All very positive. We
can read through the lines a bit here, I think, and assume that at least between
Christensen and Jessop, there was a great deal of admiration and respect. Just
something we should take into consideration amid all the guessing.
All of the above comments would be hard to add to. I hope that Craig Jessup can
see, and feel, how much his tireless and skillful efforts have been appreciated
by so many. Whatever your future path may be, Craig, may it be filled with the
same happiness that you have brought to so many people.
Thanks for the fun.
Thank You Brother Jessop for all you have done. Jeanie, NV I agree with you 100%
Why do some of you feel the need to see bad or conspiracy in Brother Jessop's
resignation? He has given his reason, family and more importantly, guidance
from Heavenly Father. People, remember: Nothing is more important than our
families.Craig Jessop's years of service to the Church by directing the
Tabernacle Choir have been great! We have all benefited for his inspiration and
talent. For those years of service we say "Thank you and God Bless your future
plans and you!" The Lord will make his wishes for the next Director known
and remember this is His choir. We are just the recipients of his loving
That's easy for you to say, but how do you know no one at the DMN has done any
investigative reporting? Asking questions is one thing, getting verifiable,
publishable answers is another. Believe it or not, not all newspapers are
willing to publish rumors. Would you prefer a story every day saying "we asked
so-and-so what happened and he said no comment?" Or "this person who wouldn't
give us his name told us such-and-such?"
Hasn't anyone raised an eyebrow as to why the Deseret Morning News hasn't done
any investigative reporting as to WHY he actually left?
Sang under Craig...Mr. Jessop...at Granite High School and took voice lessons
from him. Some of my fondest memories! We've maintained some contact over the
years. He will lift people and touch their lives wherever he goes with his
musical skills and kindness. I'm looking forward to see his next undertaking!
Craig . . . I am shocked to hear about this! You are such a fine, gentle,
caring, musical soul . . . Elaine and I count you among our finest, most
cherished and most admired friends. Best to you and your family!
I have the highest regard for Craig and his endless musical talents.I have had
the privlege of being the soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir twice under
his paton , and have seen his great abilities to inspire, lift, and see the
vision of each performance. He will be deeply missed. I wish nothing but the
very best for such a fine man. We are all the better to have had the opportunity
to work under such a talent. Warmest regard, Nancy Peery Marriott
You will be missed. I had the brief, but amazing, opportunity to sing under the
guest direction of Craig Jessop once when I use to sing with the Mormon Youth
Chorus (I think it was for General Conference). He was truly amazing. Having
also sung under Mack Wilberg in BYU Men's Chorus, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is
in VERY GOOD hands! God bless "Craig" and "Mack"...they bring the spirit into
meetings via music like no one else has!!
I remember Craig from his being Sky View Class Prez. He was remarkable then and
has continued on since! Best of wishes to him and his family ... and thanks for
alllll you have done for so many, Craig !!!
I'm with Salt Lake Observer. If you notice, the original "poster" of the John
Williams' "news" identified himself as "Peter Priesthood". Take that as your
source, and you can figure out this was a farce. Oh, yes, and "may the farce be
Thank you Craig for sharing your talents, courage, gentleness, wit, wisdom,
sensitivity, spirituality, leadership and love. Best not leave out sense of
rhythm. The choir will miss "dancing" with you. Whatever it is that has taken
you from us, God be with you.
"What?", don't you recognize snark when you see it? The John Williams/Storm
Trooper item was just someone being "clever."
in the Quorum of the Twelve....
I've been so blessed by the music of the choir. But I am not alone, Millions
have been blessed by Brother Jessop's musicianship and love. Thank you from the
bottom of my heart!
I've always been impressed with the cooperation between Bro. Jessop and Bro.
Wilberg. Their collaboration has brought the choir to new levels, a goal that
was set by Pres. Hinckley. I remember hearing Bro. Jessop speak in a fireside
here at USU. He truly is a wonderful man, and I can imagine he's anticipating
"retirement" so he can spend more time with his good family. Just as a wonderful
director emerged after Bro. Ottley departed, another will come and lead the
Choir onward. Best wishes in the future Bro. Jessop.
"I understand that the director John Williams was recently baptized in
California and has been in contract negotiations with the general authorities
about filling the new position. I can't wait to hear 'March of the
Storm Troopers' during his conference dbut on April 6th!"Can anyone
Thanks, Brother Jessup - and thanks to your family for supporting you as you
have given your all for our spiritual enllightenment through God's language -
music. Music is eternal and will continue to inspire.
I understand that the director John Williams was recently baptized in California
and has been in contract negotiations with the general authorities about filling
the new position. I can't wait to hear 'March of the Storm
Troopers' during his conference dbut on April 6th!
I want to express my gratitude for the last nine years being under the baton of
one of the most sensitive, talented, fun and genuine individuals I have ever
known. I too am stunned and have shed many tears, but I want Craig to know how
much love I have for him and will cherish the time spent under the direction of
this amazing man. He will be a tremendous asset to those lucky and blessed
enough to work with him. I just wish it could still be me. God Bless you and
Ta Ta Craig,Who could follow your crazy swooping motions anyway. Make
Mack the director, he is the greatest since Rutter at arranging, and directing.
When did they add an L to the word Christ. Watch and hear. I am glad to see
Thanks you, Brother Jessop, for your years of dedicated service! They will not
be forgotten, nor will you. Best of everything to you and your family in the
I have always said that someday a good book would be written about Craig.
Millville's famous son. He is the son of great pioneer stock, of hard working
and honest and humble people. He worked hard to get to where he is. He has
made anyone who has known him or his parents proud.
As a member of the Orchestra at temple square, all i have to say was that he
inspires and is truly a spiritual man who wants to reach the hearts of those
that have ear to hear. Thankyou, God bless, we love you....
My grandson had just been operated on for a brain tumor (he was three), he also
suffered a stroke during the operation. He does not have any options, his one
wish was always to be able to lead the Choir and meet you. That wish was
granted and since then he still goes to see you on thursdays. All he ever wants
to do is to say hi to you. Thank you for making Gabriel's wish come true. Good
Seek ye first the best things. In Music that would be the Mormon Choir. It is
the only link to Mormonism and the Gospel that they ever experience. No matter
what they may think of Mormons the Choir Music is always complamented. When Mitt
Romney rescued the Debocle that was going to be the Winter Games. I Church being
under agrement to the Liberal Media not to Prosolite. The Choir was able to get
the message accross. They have always done well. I used to watch each Conference
to see how many Black Members where in the Choir. When I read up on what it took
to get in the Choir, I stopped doing that. The Choir is just an amazing group of
people. Known the World Over and the only Religious or Classical Music that some
people hear. When they perform with Secular Performers they reach far more
people. The people they perform with are always inspired to give their best
performance. So even the Has Bens and Decades Old Groups sound refreashed and
Great. I have never sen a poo performance by the Choir. My Ohana wishes the
Director the very best. Mahalo.
Well done thou good and faithful servant. God bless you and your family.
When I began as a charter member of the Orchestra at Temple Square, Craig was
one of those who inspired me and encouraged me. After a brief hiatus on active
duty with the Army, he saw me playing again and came up to embrace me, welcoming
me back. Those of you who know how hard he worked on the podium will realize
this was not a "dry" experience. ;-) I was astonished and joyful. He was like
a father to me. Craig, be well, and God bless.
Everytime I saw Craig leading the Choir, I was looking at a friend. Good Luck
I'm just a regular person that was impressed by the tremendous love and kindness
demonstrated by Craig Jessop as he served and lifted others. On behalf of the
regular people, we just want to tell you that we love you Craig and that we are
praying for you.
thank you Brother Jessop for your years of service to the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints. Conferences will not be the same without you conducting
our choir. May you enjoy retirement with your beautiful wife and children.
Too bad Lawrence Welk died. He could have added dancing to more fully utilize
the capability of the orchestra.
This was not unexpected to the Lord. The problem for the Bretheren and Mac is to
find the person that was prepared to step in.Jessop was there when
we needed him. Someone else is too.
I just want add my thanks to Bro Jessop for his service to the Choir. I agree
that he directed the choir with much fervor. I loved watching him direct the
choir, and I enjoyed listening to Music & the Spoken Word, and the specials they
did with some celebreties. I still remember when he gave an award to a sister
who was the oldest former choir member. He is a great director who
is full of energy, and now he will use his talents elsewhere. Good luck to him
and his family wherever they go now.
Leigh Harline is my mother's uncle. He is not well known but he received 11
Oscar nominations in his lifetime aa a composer of film scores. His most
recognized piece is the Oscar winning song from the Disney classic Pinocchio;
"When You Wish Upon a Star" which became the theme song for the entire Disney
organization. The two surviving daughters of Leigh Harline, who are not members
of the church, met Craig Jessop when they were in town from California after a
choir broadcast. He told them: "when you are in town again, give me a few weeks
notice and we (the choir in broadcast) will sing your father's song". Well, my
mother set that up, there were a hundred Harlines in the Conference Center that
Sunday morning. The Choir was perfection. The Spoken Word focused on the lessons
that can be drawn from that childhood story Pinocchio. It had a moving impact on
the daughters of Leigh Harline who will never see the Church the same way again.
Only Craig Jessop would have thought to do such a meaningful tribute to the two
non-LDS daughters of the man who also donated the score for "Man's Search for
I don't understand the background of this choir director change situation,
however, after 10 years if would be logical to see a change, since it would be a
real grinder and a strain on family life. Best of luck Craig, we have enjoyed
immensely your leadership of the choir and the wonderful music it has provided.
I agree with "Greater things..." Just wait a little longer and you will witness
how the Lord's hand is in all things...(think about it!)
Thank you Bro. Jessop for the great work you have done. Best wishes to you and
My first thought was he has received a calling that will conflict with directing
the choir. There are still a few Mission Presidents that are yet to be
determined, the Curitiba Brazil Temple will be dedicated in June and needs a
President, or perhaps as a Seventy. Also there is a vacancy in the 12
Come on people, he was really good at what he did and does, and good luck to him
for sure, but he can be replaced as can all of us....wish him the best and lets
get on with the next concert. Who can't be replaced? I know I certainly can and
everyone that I know. Missed? yes..but not the end of the choir and it's great
music. If you think otherwise, I have some special land for sale.(near some
Craig Jessop in my opinion has reached great heights with the Tabernacle Choir
under his direction. I've loved watching him direct..he does it with such
fervor. May the Lord's choicest blessings be with you and your family. You
have served the Lord well.
Several years ago, I brought Charles Decker (town historian for Afton, New York
--South Bainbridge when Joseph Smith was there) to SLC. He had a marvelous time
here, meeting various Church Authorities even President Hinckley, but the
highlight of it all was when Bro. Jessup invited him to sing with the choir
during one of the Thursday night rehersals! Today in Afton, Charles proudly
displays to visitors a picture display of himself singing with the choir. First
losing President Hinckley and now Craig Jessop, This has been a tough month.
God bless you Craig Jessop--You've been incredible! Christopher Jones-Newport
Never fear people, Craig has even greater things in store for him. What some
people interpret as a loss is often just a welcome transition to a greater
opportunity. Just wait a while and all of us will see this principle manifest
as far as Dr. Jessop is concerned. Also, the very same inspiration in play that
called Craig to his position will be manifest with his successor!
Thank you brother Jessop, we watch you every Sunday with Music and the spoken
word. How spiritual and uplifting we feel from the Choir and your
service.Heather Thompson North Shields, England
The Choir invites him as a guest soloist - very few baritones can equal his
voice - and too few have heard it since his college days.
I was stunned by the abruptness of this announcement.Why would he have to
suddenly resign? Wouldn't he have at least stayed on through the Choir's
upcoming Easter concert and General Conference (or was the decision not really
his)?Good luck and best wishes to you Craig. You are without question the
face and the soul of the Choir and will be missed.
A native of Millville, Utah, Jessop has been a lifelong member of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which the choir is affiliated. He was a
student of Robert Shaw and received his B. A. from Utah State University, M. A.
from Brigham Young University and Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stanford
University.He has been the director of the National High School
Choir Festival for the four years of its existence. The event, held at New
York's Carnegie Hall, auditions schools from around the country to inspire and
enable young singers in learning great works of music and performing with
renowned musicians from around the world.Craig Jessop retired as a
Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Air Force where, among other
assignments, he conducted the USAF Singing Sergeants for seven years. He has
also spent seven years as a baritone with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers and
performed in the choirs of Helmuth Rilling and John Rutter.
Craig Jessop's departure will be a great loss. Of all of his accomplishments as
director, I think his talent for presenting music that is "listenable" and
"approachable" will be remembered as his most important contribution. Under his
direction the choir's music drew in listeners of all faiths who simply
appreciate beautiful music. The choir has reached new heights of musicianship
under his baton, and has earned the love of the world. I hope that his
successor will have the same sensitivity for appealing to the masses rather than
a narrow niche of classical music devotees. Craig--all the best to you; you'll
be greatly missed.
Why? I just can't believe this! I have often worried about the future of the
choir and orchestra in a post-Jessop era. I hope it is as bright as was the past
few years. I am so dissappointed! Good luck Craig. But why?
If the DesNews does a followup article about this fine musician, I hope that his
very impressive background and experience will be delineated. More than a few
people will be surprised.
I totally agree with Peter Danzig. Craig Jessop has been an inspiration to me
and fellow South Africans since he was first appointed Associate Director. Thank
you for the most memorable three years of singing in person with the choir under
your baton. May you be abundantly blessed for the work done and for whatever
be greatly missed and the best of luck to him and his family. I do hope though
that the term "Interim" is just a formality in support of Wilberg...
Craig Jessop was the heart and soul of what made the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and
Orchestra at Temple Square beautiful. His gracious and compassionate heart was
housed in a person who made every individual he encountered feel valued and
loved. He was a true leader who motivated those under his baton to greater
heights not through fear as is so often the case, but because they loved him. He
is one the finest conductors I have ever worked under, able to inspire not only
through his skills, knowledge, and encouragement but also by his quiet example
of faith, dedication and love. Wherever he goes, people will be blessed.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to be in several choirs under his
direction. He is a wonderful person, and I wish him much luck for whatever his
endeavors may be for the rest of his life.
I went to junior high at Providence and South Cache with Craig, and high school
with Craig at Sky View. Not being LDS, I haven't followed the Tabernacle Choir,
but I can tell you this. Craig has always been a great person from the time he
was a kid. I can't remember anyone ever having a bad word to say about him. A
wonderful musical talent, and an exceptional, very good person.
Bro Jessop your are a wonderful and inspirational leader and I am grateful for
the music. May God bless you and your family and may you continue to enjoy what
Thank you Brother Jessop and Brother Wilberg for bringing in great arrangements
for the church! It is a great thing to have new 'Hymns' and music that uplifts.
Good Luck Brother Jessop and may your health be good and allow you to spend time
with your family and your other interests.
A great loss to the Choir and those who love it. There must be compelling
reasons for Brother Jessop to make what surely was a difficult choice, and I
wish him the very best and every blessing needed for his and his family's
It's sad to see Craig retire. Since their involvement, Criag and Mack Wilberg
have raised the level of professionalism and quality of music and performance by
the Choir and Orchestra. Each CD and concert is better than the last. I know it
will only get better. I wish him well.
I know it's tempting to draw the connection B. Christensen has made; he is not
the only one who will jump to such a conclusion. But knowing of Brother Jessop's
strong support for Church leadership and the spirituality with which he
approached his duties, I am sure he would have been willing to move in any
direction his Church leaders asked. Whatever personal crisis may have
precipitated this decision, I very much doubt it was a conflict with his
Just wanted to thank yoou for all your service to the Choir and to all who enjoy
the music and spoken word
When President Hinckley passed away, people commented on what was his greatest
legacy. Some say temples, some say the PEF, but in my opinion, what he's done to
build up the Choir into a world class organization is his crowning achievement.
And it couldn't have be done without Brother Jessop and Brother Wilberg. The
Choir will sing on, a new director will be named, and the Choir will bring more
good will for the Church than just about anything else, but you will be missed,
Brother Jessop. Your Shepherd will supply your need.
Well Done Craig!!!!!! We couldn't be more prouder of you and what you have done
with the Choir. We have been so privileged to have you part of our community for
the last 13 years. We are happy for you and your family and good luck!
I think Bjarne has no concept of how the church works. Good luck to
you Mr Jessup. May you be blessed for your service.
I have know Craig since our days at Stanford together. He is a remarkable
person in addtional to a a great talent in the music world.His quiet
service 'outside' of music is even more impressive - but most will never no of
his great service in other areas.I wish him and his family the very
Brother Jessup:We wish you the very best and thank you for your
years of service to us, the regular membership of the Church. You brought us to
our knees through the Spirit you brought to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Many
of us do not live in SLC and want you to know of our deepest thanks for all you
have done.Pamela K
A great leader, musician, full of charisma, spiritual and fun. It is no wonder
choir members love him. Good luck, Craig!
I just wanted to add my expression of shock and sadness at the news of Craig
Jessop's resignation. Along with, I'm sure, fans all around the world I have
marvelled at the Choir's new heights of musicality, precision and expression
under his leadership. I know that the Choir is a massive team organisation and
effort, but I would like to record and convey my special, heartfelt thanks to
Craig Jessop. Every possible good wish for the future.
Is it a coincidence that Jessup resigns right after Gordon B. Hinckley's
passing? In retrospect, it was doubtful the new leadership would allow Jessup
the free hand that President Hinckley did. It's a sad day for music and the
If I were the "bretheren" I wouln't tolerate this resignation. I would call him
to the First Quorum of the Seventy and give him the assignment to direct the
choir. The best to you and your family bro. Jessop
Thank you for your great years of service.
Jobs like this take lots of time. He is not getting younger. Perhaps he wants to
spend more time with his family?
Never had the slightest bit of interest in the MoTab. But friends in the choir
business tell me Craig's a good guy. So good luck to you, Craig.
How sad that Brother Jessop is leaving the choir. In my humble opinion, he has
taken the choir to heights that they have never before achieved. There have been times during General Conference when my wife and I have just
looked at each other with tears in our eyes and said, "WOW". Best
wishes to him and his family for the years ahead.