Richard P. Condie
Richard P. Condie was the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for seventeen years, from 1957 to 1974. He was 75 years old when he retired. He had previously served as assistant conductor of the choir from 1937.
Condie was born in Springville, Utah, on July 5, 1898. He earned a degree from Brigham Young University in 1923 and graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1928. A skilled tenor, he won a scholarship to study voice in France in 1925 at the Fontainebleau School of Music. He later toured with a traveling Italian opera company and made his debut in the role of Pinkerton, in Madama Butterfly. He was offered a role in a Broadway play but turned it down to return to Utah.
He taught at the McCune School of Music, BYU, Utah State University, and the University of Utah.
Under his direction and in collaboration with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Tabernacle Choir performed “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and won a GRAMMY for the song. “Growing up hearing the voices of Italian immigrants singing older romantic songs, Condie wanted the Choir to have a warm, emotional quality and tone. He would often tell the Choir, ‘Don’t try and imitate anybody. Feel the music, speak through it.’” “After Condie retired, his assistant conductor, Dr. Jay E. Welch, wrote an article in the Choir’s newspaper, The Tab, which detailed the achievements of all the previous conductors. At the conclusion of his article, he marveled, ‘And Richard Condie taught him how to sing.’”
Condie received an honorary doctor’s degree from BYU in 1963 and another from Utah State University in 1969. He and his wife Blanche Mendenhall had five children. After her death he married Manda Booth. He died on December 22, 1985.