News Release

News Media Boost Tabernacle Choir Philippines Tour

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Squares performs first of two concerts at the Mall of Asia Arena

An important part of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s “Himig ng Pag-asa” tour or “melody of hope” tour stop in the Philippines this week was meeting the Filipino press.

Nearly three dozen news media organizations, including GMA, Inquirer.net and Rappler, were present at the Conrad Hotel in Manila on Monday, February 26, 2024, to get the thoughts of Choir leadership and tour guest performers.

“When the Tabernacle Choir sent the invitation to actually join them as part of their world tour when they came to the Philippines, it was an invitation that we said yes to pretty immediately,” said Broadway singer and actress Lea Salonga.

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Salonga, who is performing in concerts with the choir on February 27 and 28, sang with the Choir at its 2022 Christmas concert in Salt Lake City.

“I just remember feeling, ‘Oh, this is something I’m never, ever going to forget,” Salonga said. “And I don’t know that there are many artists that have had the opportunity to be able to perform more than one time with the Choir. So, this is a big bonus to be able to do it again, and to do it in my home country is very special.”

Other guest performers are popular singer-songwriter Ysabelle Cuevas and TV personalities Suzi Entrata-Abrera and Paolo Abrera.

“Even before I understood English very well, I always connected with the [Choir’s] music,” Cuevas said. “That was always the way my faith grew the most. I’m just incredibly excited and so honored to be here.”

The Abreras spoke of their experience watching the Choir’s 2023 Christmas concert in Salt Lake City.

“The feeling was just immense. Just the magnitude, just the place itself and the Choir,” Suzi said. “And I think the best part about is that we got to shoot some behind-the-scenes video, and we got to talk to some of the members of the Choir. And when you see them on stage and everybody is so disciplined and orderly and everything. But when you talk to them backstage it was like little kids on their way to a field trip. That’s the kind of excitement that you feel from them.”

“It’s one thing to listen to the music, hear it recorded, watch a television special,” Paolo added. “But to be in the presence at the Conference Center and to just feel the energy that the Choir puts out — it’s a totally different experience.”

Wednesday’s concert will be live on the Choir’s YouTube channel at 8 p.m. Philippine time, which is 5 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

In response to a question about why music fosters community across the generations, Choir President Michael O. Leavitt said music is a “very special and universal language.”

“From music, we draw feelings — not simply thoughts — and that both gives great meaning to us and also unites us,” President Leavitt said. “I believe that it’s speaking to a part of us that is divine, and it’s what unites us. I feel certain that music will continue to be meaningful part of every human being’s life because it speaks to them in such a personal and important way.”

Choir Director Mack Wilberg said the Choir is including youth in its performances (“they are our future listeners”) and also offers “a little something for everyone.”

“We want to stay relevant, and not just stay in one lane,” Wilberg said.

Guests visit with members of The Tabernacle Choir after the concert during the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square's Hope World Tour at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday February 27, 2024.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Over the coming years, The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will travel twice a year to different parts of the world. The first stop on the Choir’s tour was in Mexico in June 2023.

“What a great honor it is for us to be in the Philippines,” Wilberg said. “The hospitality and warmth of everyone that we have come in contact with, whether it be in the hotel, in the concert hall, in the audiences, is unparalleled in our many world travels.”

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