Tracy Y. Cannon: Mormon Musician

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Tracy Y. Cannon Mormon Musician

Tracy Young Cannon was a musician who served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in several musical capacities, including organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Cannon was born on July 23, 1879, in Salt Lake City. His parents were George Q. Cannon and Caroline Young Cannon (a daughter of Brigham Young. He was fifteen years old when he joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He spent many years studying piano composition, first with John J. McClellan and later in Michigan, Paris, Berlin, and Chicago. In New York he studied with Pietro Yon, who was the organist of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In 1909, Cannon became assistant organist for the Tabernacle Choir and served in this capacity for twenty-one years. In 1920, he began serving on the General Music Committee for the Church and in 1939 he became second assistant to Melvin J. Ballard, the supervisor of the committee. Cannon was an editor of the 1927 Church hymnal. Several of his hymns are included in the 1985 Church hymnbook, including “Come, Rejoice,” “God of Power, God of Right,” “Praise the Lord with Heart and Voice,” “The Lord Be with Us,” “Come, Let Us Sing an Evening Hymn,” “Jesus, Mighty King in Zion,” and “How Beautiful Thy Temples, Lord.”

In 1930, Cannon served as the organist for the presentation of The Message of the Ages (a pageant commemorating the 100th anniversary of the organization of the Church). That same year he received an honorary Master of Music degree from the Chicago Music College. He wrote The Organist’s Manual.

In 1925, Cannon became director of the McCune School of Music and Art, where he stayed until 1950.

Cannon embarked on a full-time mission to Britain in 1901. In 1917, he was asked to serve as a member of the Deseret Sunday School Union General Board. He served as bishop of the Cannon Ward in Salt Lake City from 1930 to 1936.

Cannon had three wives: Elsie Priscilla Jennings Riter, who passed away in 1907; Letticia Taylor, who passed away in 1935; and Carol Hinckley, who passed away in 1995 (and was a sister of Gordon B. Hinckley. Cannon was the father of seven children. He died on November 6, 1961.