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- Creators: Arizona State University
Dr. Jerold D. Ottley's twenty-five years leading the Mormon Tabernacle Choir resulted in many distinguished awards and recognitions for the ensemble. Included among these are two Platinum and three Gold records from the Recording Industry Association of America, an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and two Freedom Foundation Awards for service to the country. He conducted the Choir at two presidential inaugurations, Ronald Reagan's in 1981 and George H. W. Bush's in 1989, as well as performances at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Gala. He presided over eleven international tours to twenty-six countries and crisscrossed the United States for engagements in nearly every region of the country. Despite the awards, commendations, and increased recognition of the Choir, Ottley's greatest contributions were largely internal to the organization. Jerold Ottley is a skilled music educator, administrator, and emissary. Application of these proficiencies while at the helm of the Choir, led to what are, arguably, his three largest contributions: 1) as educator, he instituted in-service training for choir members, raising the level of their individual musicianship, thereby improving the technical level of the entire Choir; 2) as administrator, Ottley created policies and procedures that resulted in a more disciplined, refined ensemble; and 3) as emissary, he raised the ensemble's reputation among the general public and with music professionals. For the general public, he significantly broadened the Choir's repertoire and traveled frequently thereby reaching a wider audience. He secured greater respect among music professionals by inviting many of them to work directly with the Choir. The results were unparalleled. Ottley's twenty-five year tenure with the Choir is reflected in broader audiences, increased professional acceptance, added organizational discipline, and unprecedented musical proficiency. It is a notable legacy for a man who reportedly never felt comfortable as director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
How the West Was Won: The Impact of Railroad Tourism on the Development of Pipe Organ Recitals at the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Organ culture of the late nineteenth century played an important role in the development of cities on the American Western Frontier. By 1869, the transcontinental railroad connected cities across the United States, enabling coast-to-coast travel and spawning a new tourist industry. Rail travelers stopping in Utah frequently visited the Tabernacle and were impressed by the organ, requesting to hear it played. The Salt Lake Tabernacle free daily organ recital program was initiated to meet that demand. This came at a critical time in the growth of the city as it sought to develop a positive image of itself. These organ recitals became a highlight of travelers’ journeys across the United States, shaping the image of Utah as a place of culture and refinement. Although free daily organ recital programs sprang up across the country during the early twentieth century, very few persisted for more than a decade. Today, the only two remaining continuous free daily organ recital series are given on the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ and on the Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia. Location, promotion, purpose, and programming were key factors vital to the early and continued success of the program. At a time when attendance is in decline for organ recitals, and indeed for all classical art music, the elements of this uniquely successful program may suggest new approaches for sharing organ music.