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Mormon Tabernacle Choir changing its name but not its tune

Responding to a request of its sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the musical group will now be called 'The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.'

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performs during the annual church conference in Salt Lake City on April 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(RNS) — The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a singing phenomenon for more than 150 years, is changing its name.

The choir announced Friday (Oct. 5) that it is following the request of its sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The religious body, popularly known as the Mormons, asked in August that its full name be used instead of the long-known abbreviated moniker.

Thus, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will now be called “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.”

“The Choir’s new name preserves the heritage of the Choir’s home in the Tabernacle and its location on Temple Square, a place of reverence and worship,” the choir announced.

Less than two months ago, President Russell M. Nelson of the LDS church said, “The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church.”

Mormons believe the original name was given to founder Joseph Smith in a divine revelation in 1838. The choir was founded in 1847.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City is the location of a vast complex of headquarters for the worldwide church with 16 million members. It includes Salt Lake Temple, which is used by Mormons for special ordinances, including marriages they believe last for eternity. It also is the site of the 2,900-seat Salt Lake Tabernacle, which hosts religious and community events, including rehearsals of the famous choir that uses the space to record its music.

“A new name for the Tabernacle Choir will represent a change after so many years,” stated choir president Ron Jarrett. “But we have always been a forward-looking people, and we are focused on what is not changing: the world-class musicianship, the inspiring arrangements and programming, and our weekly ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ broadcast.”

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