Whither MoTab?

Ronald Reagan called it “America’s Choir.” It won a Grammy in 1959 for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and numerous other awards. It has the longest running radio show in history. Of course, it’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, one of the brightest jewels in the crown of Mormondom. No doubt many readers even heard a performance of MoTab patriotic tunes over the July 4th weekend. However, some recent observers have suggested MoTab needs to catch up with the times. Here are a few suggestions along those lines. I invite yours as well.

* “American Idol” format reality TV show for MoTab try outs. Gladys Knight (Paula), Donny Osmond (Randy) and Boyd K. Packer (Simon) as judges. Call-in voters must give name and address for missionary follow up.

* “Mormon Palooza” or “Battle of the Ward Choirs.” Mormon ward choirs compete internationally to go to a 3 day festival at Park City with a chance to face off in the finals against the MoTab itself. Steve Young (Paula), Mitt Romney (Randy) and Boyd K. Packer (Simon) as judges.

* “Mr. Freddy Krueger’s Christmas.” In this follow up to the 1980 heart warming Christmas special featuring Jimmy Stewart, retired and undead serial killer Freddy Krueger (cousin of Jimmy Stewart’s original character), is visited by Christmas carolers and repents of his previous career of terrifying, torturing and mutilating kids. Features daydream sequence in which Mr. Freddy Krueger directs the MoTab using his clawed glove as baton(s). [1]

* Diana Krall and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A tour followed by a CD and DVD release. Diana Krall will perform hymns and patriotic songs, along with her trademark sultry jazz numbers, backed by the MoTab. Directed by Elvis Costello. GAs attending SLC premier must undergo a thorough cardiogram before attending, as well as submit to EKG monitoring beginning with the “Peel Me a Grape” number.

* “Prairie Home Companion & the Spoken Word.” Garrison Keillor and friends will join the MoTab and Lloyd D. Newell for a fun-filled evening of music, stories, skits and the spoken word. Features include: “News from the Lake Woebegon Ward, Fargo Stake,” “Guy Noir, Home Teacher,” Garrison Keillor warbling 1920s flapper tunes with MoTab choreography and back up, ending with Keillor reading humorous passages from the Book of Mormon, accompanied by doctrinal expositions from Brother Newell.

* “Mo’ Tabernizzle Choirizzle.” MoTab to record rap CD with numbers co-written by Orrin Hatch and Snoop Dogg. Songs to include: “Raise Da Devil -n- Cast Out Da Dead,” “Upside Ted Kennedy’s Head,” “Slappin’ Da Son Uh Puhdition,” and “Filabust a Move.” Grammy contenda fo’ shizzle!

[1] Before anyone accuses me of making fun of “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas,” I’m not–I adore that film.


  1. Seth R. says:

    Before anyone else pounces on this, let me simply state:

    It is incredibly hard to find uniform dresses that don’t look simply awful on some women, while flattering others. So keep that in mind before roasting the outfitter (as I’m sure someone is going to).

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    Great stuff, Ed.

    They could formally change their name to MTC. This is perhaps a little bit 70s (shades of ELO), but it follows in the venerable footsteps of Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming KFC to try to trick people into forgetting that their chicken is actually fried. Similarly, MTC would trick people into forgetting that they’re actually Mormons. On the other hand, your MoTab is a more up-to-date name change, of the J-Lo, TomKat or Brangelina variety, so perhaps that is the way to go.

    I would also suggest arranging for a concert backing featured performer Liz Phair. This will require some technological innovation to install a seven-second tape delay so that engineers can bleep out the F-bombs and blur out the nip-exposing wardrobe malfunctions.

    Actually, an American Idol-like reality show on a small-scale basis might actually work. Meridian has run some articles about what it is like to audition for MoTab, and it is pretty darned difficult, so we’d get lots of great shots of local ward super-sopranos bombing the audition process. That would be worth a UPN series.

  3. Have you seen their outfits? Come on!!

  4. Seth R., look at the orchistra wardrobe when they play with the Tab. You probably don’t remember how tasteful they are because you where blinded by the white atrocities upon the alto and soprano section. And if there can be a weight limit to go on a mission…

    Hilarious post Ed, and follow up Kevin.

    I know some that have almost had heart attacks when the Tab started doing gospel music. And while it isn’t the most…shall we say colorful rendition, it is a great start.

  5. Ed Snow says:

    JamesP–I take it your suggestion is they perform naked?

  6. Well, I thought we were trying to brainstorm ideas for making it more popular.

    I’m just sayin’ is all…

  7. Ed Snow says:

    JamesP–we are brainstorming. I was seeking greater understanding.

    The naked angle might work better coupled (no pun intended) with a follow up sermon on chastity at an EFY. Showing average adults ages 40s-60s naked would frighten even the most hormone-ridden teen into never having sex.

  8. Jonathan Green says:

    If the choir is looking for a tasteful but somewhat more sophisticated and up-to-date look, perhaps the costume designer could collaborate with a group that has recently proven to be popular with Europeans, the Finnish singing group Lordi.

  9. Ed Snow says:

    How about the MoTab dressed in black performing Johnny Cash tunes?

  10. Hilarious!

  11. – The “Rocky (Mountain) Horror Picture Show”, featuring MoTab

    – A CD of MoTab doing all Southern gospel spirituals.

  12. Speaking of keeping up with the times, shouldn’t the choir have changed their name to “The Mormon Conference Center Choir” by now?

    Incidentally, MoTab is no more “America’s Choir” than the Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team.” Besides, I heard that a recent LA Times poll had 37% of Americans saying that MoTab couldn’t be America’s Choir just because they were Mormon.

  13. MikeInWeHo says:

    Jean Paul Gaultier has finished working on the current Madonna tour and I’m sure he’d love to do a makeover on the MoTab. Would love to see what he’d do with the temple garments.

    re: 4 “…if there can be a weight limit…” OUCH! Nasty! And besides, if there’s ever been a tradition where it’s a-ok to be a star and a bit robust, it’s music. Pavarotti ain’t exactly been swigging Slim Fast all these years.

  14. MoTab meets Motown. Gladys Knight is given directorship of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for one year. She merges MoTab with her grammy winning Saints Unified Voices group. The “spoken word” portion of the program is dropped for the same time period. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir starts to sway back and forth and clap as they sing. Audiences are invited to join along in the swaying and clapping. Everyone has a great time.

  15. OUCH! Nasty!

    I know. I woke up in a sardonic mood this morning. It was supposed to be a joke, but just seems mean. Appologies all around.

  16. Werd up fuh dat Chorizzle Momizzle, baybeeee! I got the pip for yo Gladys Night, y’all! Submitted fo yo consideration:

    Shall da yooth o’ Westside falter
    In representin troof an’ right?
    Yo! Da enemy assaileth,
    Shall da posse shun da fight? Hell No!

    True ta da fait dat our babydaddies cherished,
    True ta da truth fo’ which 2Pac gots perished,
    To Marley’s command,
    Glock in mah hand,
    Wit Kevlar supa G’s we’s will ever stand.

  17. Ed Snow says:

    Phat G, to write my original version of Snoop Dogg Hatched lyrics, I went to an urban dictionary and some discographies of Hatch and Dogg and messed around.

    Now, in order to understand your lyrics, I think I need a urim and thummim, and maybe some open cans of paint thinner in a small closed space. Niiiice.

  18. Mark IV says:

    Does supergenius wear kevlar?

    Ed, Br. Remicks has set an impossibly high standard. You could probably shut the thread down right now and know that his contribution will not be surpassed.

  19. Ed Snow says:

    Bro Remicks’ callin’ -n- lection made fo’ shizzle!

  20. Holy shizzle, someone sign Phat G to a record deal. That’s the best rhyme to come out since Mormon, Mormon Rap, do the….Mormon Rap.

  21. Actually, there is a size limit, but the Choir site does not specify what it is:

    I remember some controversy about the maximum size for women a few years ago, but can’t remember what that maximum size was.

  22. OK, botched up the link in the last comment. Trying again


  23. I think they’re just fine the way they are.

  24. Avast ye landlubbers! Yon gangplank-walking maingey dogs! I have a hymn for ye, timed in honorrrrrr of Capt Jack Sparrow:

    Scatter Grapeshot

    In a world where scurvey
    E’errrrrr will be known,
    Wherrrrrre be filled with seedy,
    And bad down to the bone;
    How much relief and comforrrrrrt
    You can all bestow,
    If you scatter grapeshot
    Everywhere you go.


    Scatterrrrrr grapeshot all along your way;
    Kill and maim and blighter
    Everrrrrrry passing cay;
    Scatter grapeshot all along yourrrrr way;
    Pox and curse and canker
    Every passing bay.

  25. Ed Snow says:

    Annegb is correct. We should be making fun of incongruities here, trying to keep this above the fray, not getting personal as to any group or class. The only time we’re allowed to make fun of larger people is when we’re directing humor at ourselves. It is in this spirit of meekness and humility that I have written the following about my own current situation:

    I was once of humble girth,
    Now my butt seeks a wide berth;
    Once I wore 501 jeans with no pain,
    Now loose fitting Dockers bear the strain,
    Now loose fitting Dockers bear the strain.

    Which brings me to another something I’d like to see the MoTab do: a special concert using the collection of hymns “Music and the Broken Word.”

  26. I have a friend in the Choir – I’ll have to send him a link to this thread and see what he thinks. =)

    They did a rendition of an African song where they clapped and swayed at a concert a couple of years ago. I was told that was the hippest they’ve ever been.

    Word Up to Big Stevie!

  27. The Mo Tab may be the most successful Mormon brand but if you appreciate music then the best choirs are on BYU campus.

  28. Prairie Home Companion and the Spoken Word

    Actually, GK has mentioned the choir several times in his PHC, e.g.:

    GK: I wanted to hire the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mama, but all I could afford was the Mormon Carbuncle Quartet.

    I could swear that they have shared the stage somewhere before.

    And whenever PHC is in Salt Lake City, he makes plenty of Mormon-related jokes. See the June 24th show for example.

  29. What if they were to sing with Sting in an Olympics Opening Ceremonies. OH WAIT, THEY DID THAT ALREADY. ;-)

  30. To FHL.

    The Choir has performed with both Gladys Knight and Donnie Osmond. They also recently performed with the Oakridge Boys and brought the house down doing backup when they sang “Elvira”.

    As for the Southern Spiritual CD, the choir made one back in ’96 with Moses Hogan as a guest conductor.

    Some of the ideas mentioned here are really quite funny, except for the “performing naked” idea. No reason to scare people needlessly.

%d bloggers like this: