Music and the Spoken Word

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Salt Lake Tabernacle Mormon
On July 15, 1929, the first broadcast of "Music & the Spoken Word" was played over the radio. The announcer began with the now famous words, “From the crossroads of the West, we welcome you to a program of inspirational music and spoken word.” That first broadcast started a tradition that has lasted 75 years and is going stronger than ever.

Music & the Spoken Word is the longest running continuous network broadcast and is played on more than 2,000 radio and television stations. Even from it’s beginning, the program was a success. A radio network president in New York commented on the first broadcast, “Your wonderful Tabernacle program is making great impression in New York. Have heard from leading ministers. All impressed by program. Eagerly awaiting your next.” The program was off to a brilliant start.

Starting in June of 1930, the voice of the program was Richard L. Evans, who also served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and many were drawn to his soothing voice. For 41 years Richard L. Evans announced the songs and spoke the inspiring words of the broadcast. It was Evans who wrote the program's closing words which have remained unchanged:

Again we leave you from within the shadows of the everlasting hills. May peace be with you this day and always.

Many people even claimed Evans as their spiritual leader. President Harold B. Lee said of him, “Richard L. Evans didn’t just belong to this Church; he belonged to the world, and they claimed him as such.” Following Richard Evans sudden death in November 1971, Spencer Kinard became the voice of program. Following him in 1990, Lloyd D. Newell became the broadcaster and continued in that role for 34 years, until he announced his retirement effective June 16, 2024, to begin service in the Church as a mission leader. The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints named Derrick Porter as the new executive producer, principal writer, and presenter of the Spoken Word.[1]

The program received national recognition for its 25th year of broadcasting. Life magazine commemorated the heritage of the program:

Those who know this program ... need no arguments for listening to it. Millions have heard them, and more millions we hope, will hear them in years to come. It is a national institution to be proud of.

And millions have heard this program and enjoyed the familiarity and peace that it brings each Sunday. Music and the Spoken Word has received other awards and recognition. It has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and other media; it was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and recently in 2003 received an award from the International Radio and Television Society.

Music & the Spoken Word was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2010.[2]

The program is produced by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. More than 50 crew members are needed to ensure that the quality of the production is maintained. The Tabernacle Choir is made up of 360 people between the ages of 25 and 60. All of the members of the choir sing and offer their time without compensation. Most are still working in their various occupations and join the choir out of a love of music and the choir’s message.

Music & the Spoken Word has traditionally been broadcast from the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, but due to renovations, it broadcast for a time from the Conference Center, just north of the Tabernacle. Visitor's can attend Music & the Spoken Word live for free on Sundays at 9:30 am.

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, and many events shut down or were paused, the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s events and rehearsals were shut down. “Music & the Spoken Word” continued to air from the repertoire of previous broadcasts and were selected by choir director Mack Wilberg. Later, Lloyd Newell began recording new segments for the Spoken Word portion of the broadcast.
  • In October 2021, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that Music & the Spoken Word will be broadcast each Sunday evening on London Live, the capital's TV station. London Live broadcasts to the London area with a monthly viewership of more than 3,000,000.
  • For the first time in its 100-year history, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s flagship broadcast, “Music and the Spoken Word,” premiered in Spanish on July 30, 2023. The weekly Spanish broadcast, available on the Church's Spanish YouTube channel, is one of the Choir’s new pilot programs to increase its influence and worldwide visibility.[3] Four Spanish-speaking narrators have been selected for the new "Música & Palabras de Inspiracion" pilot program, which will feature a rotation of the four narrators: Alex Melecio, Ana Yslas, Pepe Valle, and Garna Mejia. A Portuguese broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word” is coming soon. Choir president Michael O. Leavitt said: “This is a pilot. We are confident it is going to be well received. When we are able to prove it successful in Spanish and Portuguese, we will go to other languages because our goal is to have ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ heard throughout the world.”[4]

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