News Release

From K-Pop fan to First Soprano: Sundae Mae’s Journey to the Tabernacle Choir

On some days, 28-year-old Sundae Mae Indino is still finding it hard to believe that she is singing among the internationally acclaimed Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Sundae Mae, who was born and raised in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, knew early on that she loved music. She vividly remembers the time when she sang her first song at three years old. At age five, her parents encouraged her to learn to play more musical instruments including the piano, soprano recorder, and the guitar.

But like millions of Filipinos, Sundae Mae also fell in love with a genre that she, most of the time, could not understand the lyrics of.

"I am a huge fan of K-pop. I love Red Velvet, GOT7 and Seventeen! I also love alternative, pop punk, modern jazz, and musical theatre music," she said.

Sundae Mae's love of music is only bested by her love of sharing it with others. From age 10 Sundae has served as her home Ward's (diocese) pianist. VivaVoce Cagayan de Oro, whom Sundae Mae is a member of, is a local choir composed of Filipino members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that regularly performs to raise funds for charity efforts for victims of calamities and other charitable events and causes.

Because of her undeniable talent and exposure, area and local church leaders easily took notice of Sundae Mae's musical talents and recommended her to audition for the Tabernacle Choir's Global Participants Pilot Program. The Tabernacle Choir has recently broadened its mission to reach a global audience.

Previously, members of the choir were made up of Church members residing in and around Salt Lake City. This new direction of finding international participants provides an opportunity for the choir to be more diverse and have global representation.

Along with their top-notch vocal ability, the international participants were required to demonstrate proficiency in music theory and English during a rigorous Four-Phase Audition Process.

"All of the auditionees went through the same process that the regular Tabernacle Choir members did. Personally, it was nerve-wracking because I am not a music professional," Sundae Mae recalled.

"During the audition process, I already felt honored to be part of the selection pool. I was thinking that whether I would be accepted or not, I would continue sharing my musical talents and serve in any way I can," she added.

And as if with a heavenly recognition of her talents and hard work, Sundae Mae received news of her acceptance to the program, four days before Christmas last year.

"It was the best Christmas gift I have ever received. Many tears of joy were shed. Initially, my family and I did not believe the news was true," she said.

The international participants first arrived in Salt Lake City the weekend of March 18–20, 2023. They had the opportunity to join in Choir rehearsals, attend Choir school, tour the Church’s Welfare Square and Bishop’s Central Storehouse, visit several Church historical sites and tour Temple Square.

Sundae Mae performed with the Tabernacle Choir at the Conference Center during the April 2023 General Conference in Salt Lake City, alongside 9 others selected from different countries. Sundae Mae sings First Soprano.

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency and his wife, Kristen M. Oaks, also spent time with the global participants. It was reported that President Oaks listened intently as the group sang two hymns for him and Sister Oaks.

"I can’t forget what [President Oaks] told us about the program, that it was once just his vision that the Tabernacle Choir would be filled with faces from around the world and not just [those from] Utah. Our group felt loved and blessed to be part of the fulfillment of that vision," Sundae Mae recalled.

Sundae Mae will again be joining the Choir in singing uplifting music during the October 2023 General Conference this September 30 and October 1, 2023. Currently, she is already in Salt Lake City to practice and rehearse along with the rest of the Choir's 360 members.

"I hold the verse from Philippians 4:13 [I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me] close to my heart as I go through this whole experience. There are times when I feel inadequate or undeserving, but I always put my trust in Heavenly Father,” Sundae said.

“I know that when I do my best, He adds on [to my efforts] and enables me to do what He has entrusted me to do,” she emphasized. ###

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