S: Mo-Tab Memories
FC: Mo-Tab Memories
1: enor Number 46 | T | O | n November 29, 2000, David Wayne Bush received his highly anticipated acceptance letter into The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He served a faithful 11 years as Tenor #46, completing 22 General Conferences, over 500 Sunday morning broadcasts on Music and the Spoken Word, 6 U.S. Tours, participated in the 2002 Winter Olympics, sung throughout the years with high profile artists in the annual Christmas Concerts as well as numerous other concerts and performances. The choir has been an enormous part of David's life and now as this chapter closes, we present this book of memories as a tribute to the sacrifice, dedication and love that he has poured into this calling. David, we thank you for the tremendous impact you have had while sharing the journey with us. We love you, we are proud of you and we thank you. Sing on Tenor 46!
2: David Wayne Bush | T46
4: David's first Music and the Spoken Word Broadcast as a set apart member of the choir
6: Rehearsals | Once in the choir, the intense dedication to practice that had landed David in the choir would be the same trait he would nurture for the next eleven years of service as a musical missionary.
7: Practice Practice Practice! | In recounting memories of their father's experience in the choir, several of David's children described their father in this exact position and ensemble, an image of hard work and dedication that would last in their memories for the rest of their lives.
8: T 46 | Men's Dressing Room | David's choir locker
9: Did You Know? * The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was founded in August of 1847. * There are 11,623 pipes on the organ in the Tabernacle and 7,667 in the Conference Center. * The acoustics in the Tabernacle are recognized as some of the finest in the world. * The choir was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President George W. Bush. * In 1960, the choir won a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Choir. * The choir has earned five platinum records and one gold record. * A large percentage of the choir has Welsh roots, fitting as the original choir members were immigrants from Wales.
11: Believe it or not, the choir has quite a good sense of humor!
12: Faces of the Choir | Mack Wilberg | Ryan Murphy | Craig Jessop | Mac Christensen | Lloyd Newell | Barry Anderson | Richard Elliott | Clay Christiansen
13: When David began the choir in 2001, they were conducted by the dynamic duo Craig Jessop, and Mack Wilberg. Following Dr. Jessop's retirement from the choir (who accepted a position as the music department head at Utah State University) David has been able to collaborate with him on more than one project. David has a deep respect for all of the conductors, organists, and other leaders of the choir, especially Mr. Mac, the choir's President. | "When I talked to President Christensen Thursday, he told me with a twinkle in his eye, "I talked to your friend and told him he couldn't have you until after Christmas, of course, I didn't say WHICH Christmas! I love President Christensen. He was so gracious and supportive and said it was up to me, then handed me four premium tickets for the Friday night performance of this year's Christmas concert for President Cook and his family. When I grow up, I want to be just like President Christensen." -Letter from David to his children on October 30, 2011
14: Since joining in the choir in 2001, David has been a part of 22 CD recordings!
16: Homeward Bound | In the spring of 2005, David's daughter, Emily, sang a song entitled, "Homeward Bound" as a solo for a choir competition. As they practiced the piece, Cathy could literally hear the piece becoming all it was meant to be with the help of Mac Wilberg's musical genius and the vocals of the choir. She encouraged David to take the piece to choir. David approached Craig Jessop at rehearsal one night and presented him with the music, not sure if anything would come from his suggestion. Happily, the conductors saw the potential in the piece as well and Mac Wilberg set about writing the orchestration and choir arrangements. A short time later, "Homeward Bound" was recorded in May 2005 and released later that year in the album "Love is Spoken Here". It is among one of the most beautiful pieces the choir has performed and David can always remember that he helped bring it to life.
17: Then the wind will set me racing As my journey nears its end And the path I'll be retracing When I'm homeward bound again Bind me not to the pasture Chain me not to the plow Set me free to find my calling And I'll return to you somehow In the quiet misty morning When the moon has gone to bed, When the sparrows stop their singing I'll be homeward bound again. | In the quiet misty morning When the moon has gone to bed, When the sparrows stop their singing And the sky is clear and red, When the summer's ceased its gleaming When the corn is past its prime, When adventure's lost its meaning - I'll be homeward bound in time Bind me not to the pasture Chain me not to the plow Set me free to find my calling And I'll return to you somehow If you find it's me you're missing If you're hoping I'll return, To your thoughts I'll soon be listening, And in the road I'll stop and turn
18: Mo-Tab Display at the St. George Visitor's Center March 2010 | Listening to Grandpa (the choir) sing through the head phones | Grandpa teaches Lydia to lead in the miniature Tabernacle replica.
19: Fond Memories When asked what his favorite experiences were with the choir David said that spiritually, General Conference was always his favorite and most spiritual experiences. The music often seemed so simple but every time it would inevitably be so powerful when they would sing it in conference! His favorite choral experience was in Anaheim when they sang for conductors and music educators. The music was so amazing and the audience was more involved and more appreciative then anything he had ever experienced. They received standing ovation after standing ovation and had 7 encores where Mac had to keep returning to the stage to satisfy that crowd! He said the enthusiasm was unforgettable! He also mentioned his favorite tour was when they went back to sing at the Nauvoo Temple Dedication. It was one of his favorite trips and one of the most special choir experiences.
20: General Conference | Much to everyone's surprise, the local Herald Journal ran a front page picture of David singing the day after his first performance in General Conference, April 2001.
21: David has sung at exactly 22 General Conferences for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
22: The first broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word was on a hot summer afternoon in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, July 15, 1929. The announcer climbed a ladder to speak into the one and only microphone, suspended from the ceiling. He stayed perched on the ladder throughout the half-hour program. An audio engineer was alerted by telegraph when to start. Hand signals cued the announcer. He began: "From the crossroads of the West, we welcome you to a program of inspirational music and spoken word." Those words, from more than seven decades ago, still open the program. Today Music and the Spoken Word has become the world's longest-running continuous network broadcast and is carried on more than 2,000 radio and television stations and cable systems. It has been broadcast from locations across the country and around the world. Since its first broadcast, the program was an immediate success. (Taken from the Musics and the Spoken Word website)
23: Seeing and hearing their father on the broadcast each Sunday morning was a special way for David's family to connect with him each week, no matter where they were onthe globe.
24: 2002 Winter Olympics
25: Citius Altius Fortius | Swifter Higher Stronger
26: 2004 | Christmas Concerts | 2005
27: 2010 | The very popular Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concerts have become a holiday tradition for many people in Utah. David has had the chance to perform at these concerts with guest artists such as Angela Lansberry, Walter Cronkite, Sissel, the King's Singers, Brian Stokes Mitchell, David Archuletta and Jane Seymour. | 2010
28: Singing with the world renowned Andrea Bocelli was another thrilling concert. where David had a front row view of the blind and extremely successful opera singer.
30: Touring with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!
32: David traveled on six U.S. tours with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was on these exhausting, yet exhilarating trips that he roomed with David Palmer and Bill Gibbons forging life-long friendships. On his final tour in 2011, however, his best friend was able to come along, his wife, Cathy!
33: The Sacred Grove
34: David's family knew they could always count on a hand written letter or postcard while the choir was on tour.
35: Nothing Better Than Snail Mail
37: On their travels, the choir has sung in and at some of the greatest landmarks of United StatesHistory. None greater, however, than the temple of our God.
38: Memorabilia | This book could not contain all of the programs, cards, awards and other memorabilia that have been collected over 11 years of service, but here are a handful of the keepsakes that represent so much time dedicated to this calling.
40: November 22, 2011 - Salt Lake City, Utah David Bush occupies two important positions for me. First, he stands prominently in my personal pantheon of heroes. Dave is everything I want to be when I grow up. He has such a sound perspective on so many issues, and has risen above the tendency most of us have to carry emotion-laden biases which are the result of one thing I believe Dave is devoid of, i.e. fear. He’s also the kind of father I wish to be. He is so dedicated to his family, and has done such a superb job in raising his children. I have been stunned by Dave’s placid confidence in the face of a very serious illness this past year, and have stood in awe at his commitment to duty when at times he looked so pale and weak. | "He stands prominently in my personal pantheon of heroes."
41: The second important place Dave holds for me is as a friend. There is no one I simply enjoy being around more than Dave. I have been fortunate to have roomed with Dave three or four times on Choir tours, and have so many fond memories of those trips. The many late-night conversations after concerts, the long bus rides, standing in line with Dave at buffet tables, and waiting together to line up at various venues before concerts continue to be highlights of these Choir experiences for me. Dave probably has no idea how much I enjoyed those times when we found a piano, and Dave played some of his favorite arrangements. When I am met with so many polite, but subdued greetings at Choir rehearsals and events time after time, Dave’s unfailing smile and genuine delight in seeing me is always a spirit booster for me, and I hope he has sensed my own delight in finding him. I will miss this more than I can describe in the remaining months before my own departure from the Choir. Having proclaimed such undying admiration and affection for Dave, can I be forgiven of apparent arrogance in claiming a few shared traits with Dave? One is a love of reading. We both have a continuing intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Thanks, Dave, for several suggested books which I’ve gone on to read and treasure. I remember that we had often sat near Jess and Lou Ann Crisler on tour bus rides, and were always a bit intimidated by the breadth and depth of their knowledge of literature, the Arts, etc. On a subsequent trip Dave brought a book – I think it was Cultural Literacy by E. D. Hirsch - so we could test their knowledge of obscure facts. I don’t think we succeeded once in stumping them, but it was a lot of fun trying. Something else we share is a love for and devotion to Craig Jessop and Mack Wilberg. I know that there are many in the Choir with similar feelings, but I doubt there are any whose appreciation is keener than ours. Thanks, Dave, for so many things. Thank you for bringing Homeward Bound to the Choir. Thanks for the walks to post offices around the country so that you could mail your faithful postcards and letters to your family. I even enjoyed the time we got a bit lost trying to find the post office in – was it Nashville? Thanks for making sure we always assisted with the Sacrament on tour, and did our share with luggage pulls. Thanks for your great example. I respect you for following the process you did in making a decision to accept your calling to the Stake High Council. I’ll miss you! You are THE MAN. Bill
42: "David Bush is my best friend!" | "This is not to say goodbye, but instead to say thank you"
43: David Bush is my best friend! As roomies on tour with the Tab Choir, Dave would iron my shirts and buy me my favorite candy bar (Snickers). He really should send me a bill for all the time he spent listening to me about psych and bipolar disorder. Those long bus rides seemed much shorter with Dave at my side, playing Yahtzee or solving the world's problems. Some of my most spiritual moments have been shared with Dave. Dave even helped me write my last talk in Sacrament Meeting. This message is not to say goodbye, but instead to say thank you for your friendship and encouragement over these many wonderful musical years. I know I will continue seeing you, Cathy, and the family as you have become an important part of our lives. Dave Palmer
44: "His driving is legendary!" | "He exhibits the love of the Savior"
45: Dave and I have been in the choir now for about 4 years together. In that time I have grown to love and appreciate his wit, wisdom and counsel. Many times I have asked him questions about his work and problems I might be 'hypothetically' experiencing and he has without hesitation given me sound advise. Since the first time I rode with him in the carpool, I have ribbed him about not having a cell phone. He takes the teasing well and simply smiles, knowing how much I would love to ditch my electronic leash as well. His driving is legendary! We always arrive in plenty of time when Dave is driving. Just this last time in November, he avoided 3 accidents in the space of 2 minutes as we headed to gas up in Bountiful. There also was this time...when Dave was driving home through dry lake in a driving whiteout blizzard. We ended up on the wrong side of the barrier, and were just able to jump to the other side of the median as a large semi came barreling by. I know that when we are on the Lord's errand He will protect us. He even tries to drive unauthorized vehicles in the church office building occasionally. Note the picture. Above all he exemplifies the attributes of the Savior that he has developed over his nearly sixty years of life. He is soft spoken and kind and never speaks unkind words to anyone or murmurs about the long hours of driving and practicing required to magnify his missionary calling in the choir. He loves to sing praises to God, and let his testimony be heard throughout the world. He exhibits the love of the Savior for others in all that he tries to do. We will miss him sorely, but hope to see him often in the coming years here in Logan. Maybe we could all sing with Craig Jessop in the local choir when we are all done. Greg Hicken (B59)
46: By a conservative estimate, David has traveled a whopping 189,904 miles for the choir - 83 miles each way, or 166 miles a day, 2 times a week for a subtotal of 332 x 52 weeks in a year, making 17,264 multiplied by 11 years! That doesn't count tours, recordings, concerts, the Olympics, etc.
47: I have driven with Dave for 3 years now. Dave has always been very kind and generous. Often time I have seen him riding in the back of a van so we don’t have to take one more car for one person. He always squeezes into the back seat, even when there are 3 sitting in a seat design for 2. It helps that he has a small frame. We laugh that we can shorten the drive time by close to a half an hour over our slowest one if Dave is driving. I only saw him get pulled over once, and the policeman let him of with just a warning. Though he drives very fast I feel very comfortable driving with him. I remember one time I got to Standard plumbing late and he and Kris had left. I past them before the Wellsville stop and Kris was driving and he was sitting in the back seat so they could still be legal. We are asked not to drive with one man and one woman in the car, yet driving from Cache Valley doesn’t make a lot of sense to take 2 cars. It looked a little funny with one in front and one in back, but it worked. Dave has become a very good friend. I wish him well in all his future endeavors. Bill Jensen T57 | 15
48: "I will be forever grateful for his thoughtfulness."
49: In the spring of 2010, I spent 52 days in Primary Children's Medical Center and battled an illness that nearly took my life. The difficult treatment required me to under go 49 plasma exchanges to give me a chance to live. There were several times when even the medical staff struggled to maintain hope that I would make it. In the darkest hours of this ordeal, the faith-filled prayers of my family, friends, and loved ones were what gave me the strength to make it through. As a result of the steroids and chemotherapy treatments that accompanied the plasma exchanges, my body was transformed dramatically. I emerged from the hospital 58 pounds heavier on my 5’ 2” inch frame. During the next few months, I continued to battle to regain my health. This included extensive physical therapy and occupational therapy not only to battle the effects of the treatments I had received but also to help me overcome the debilitation caused by a stroke that I had also suffered during my hospitalization. These were extremely difficult times for me both physically and emotionally. It was during this time that Dave Bush approached my Dad about whether I would be interested in attending the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert with David Archuleta. Dave also said that maybe he could arrange for me to actually meet David. I was thrilled with the possibility and my spirits soared! My Dad connected with David’s agent to arrange the meeting. I looked forward with great anticipation to the night of the concert. Finally, the time arrived and my family and I traveled to Salt Lake City and went to the Grand America Hotel. After a short wait, we were escorted into a conference room and were told that David would soon join us. It seemed like an eternity passed and then finally, the door opened and in came David. A shock passed through me as the dream of meeting David Archuleta in person finally came true. All of this was made possible because of the care and love of Dave Bush. He cared enough to think about what would make a difference to a teenage girl struggling the aftermath of a life-threatening illness. I will be forever grateful for his thoughtfulness! -April Morales
51: When I first started working in the counseling center I remember people talking about Dave going to his choir practice. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later I realized it was “THE” choir practice! I grew up with the Mormon Tab music playing every Sunday morning. Luckily I have inherited many of those old albums and it’s been fun to put an album on and immediately I am transported 40 years back to Sunday mornings with my family. I cannot express how amazing it was for me when Dave offered tickets to concerts. I’ve even gone down a couple of times on Thursdays just to listen to them practice. I remember thinking “I can’t believe I KNOW someone in the choir! Then I would catch Dave’s eye and we would do a little wave and smile. What a blessing. Thank you Dave with all my heart for sharing your talent with us. You have lifted my soul. I love you and truly appreciate all that you do for me. Michelle
54: "It deepened our bond as brothers" | Sunday night we went as a family to the Stake Center to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. As the choir sang, we watched for Dave just as we have each devotional and each general conference for over ten years. As always, if one of us caught a glimpse of him we would point him out to the others. In the closing choir number there was a nice clear shot of him. It made the event seem more personal to me as it has each time I saw him singing with the choir. And on this occasion it brought some emotion as we realized this was the last time, at least for us, that he would be singing to us with the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The song was “Silent Night”. Somehow those words, “all is calm, all is bright” made a fitting end to our family tradition of finding our brother and uncle each time we watched the choir perform.
55: Over the years I’ve had the chance to attend several live performances of the choir. Each time the event was more uplifting and even more spiritual to me knowing that Dave was in the choir. It was as if he was singing for me, and it somehow deepened our bond as brothers. The first time I saw Dave on a broadcast is now a well worn story in our family. The children were much smaller back then. Our tradition was to go to the Oakton Stake Center and sit in the Relief Society room with other families that had small children. The smaller kids usually sat on a blanket to the side playing with a pile of toys brought by one of the families. We came rushing in just as conference was getting started, the children took their places around the room, and I had just sat down on a chair on the front row when all of the sudden almost the entire screen was filled with Dave. I jumped up impulsively to tell the children and proclaimed loudly to all in the room, “Look, it’s Uncle Dave!” Realizing the rest of the room was now staring at me, I quietly explained it was my brother and returned to my seat. But the excitement of that first sighting has never gone away even though there have been many more over the years. Of course, the choir is just one of many ways Dave has enriched our lives and mine in particular. From trying to teach me how to play basketball (an impossible task for anyone) to inviting me, his 14 year old little brother, to go with him to the church dance, to setting a great example by serving a mission, attending college, and being faithful – he has impacted my life for the better in countless ways. On your retirement from the choir, Dave, thank you for your service, for touching my heart with your music so many times, for being a wonderful example of faith and devotion, and for being my beloved big brother. Love, Doug
56: "What a wonderful brother you have been and are."
57: What a wonderful brother you have been and are. I love you dearly. I will focus on memories from these past 11 years, but I also want to remind you of your marvelous influence in my development. For example, I often think of the impact of a seemingly insignificant act when we were teenagers. I was asked to set the table. I started to grumble, but you offered to help. Somehow that simple act opened my eyes to the desirability of relationships based on love and sharing, rather than competition. I still remember being inspired by your example of performing in public in high school as you played and sang, “He's My Brother.” And I can remember how amazing your letter was the day after you were endowed; you seemed to communicate a glimpse of heaven. And it was wonderful to overlap missionary service and exchange the spirit of that common service. And 30 years later it was wonderful to have sons serving missions at the same time, and share our common concerns and gratitude for blessings in the lives and service of Gabe and Peter. Having you in our Branch Presidency at BYU was a treat, and I can still see that time you caught and carried out that girl (Wendy?) that passed out when she was bearing her testimony. The years are full of wonderful memories, of family reunions, of weekly exchanges of letters and e-mails, of kind birthday and Christmas remembrances, and so on. I think this particular remembrance is focused on, or at least motivated by your moving on to a new phase of life after more than a decade of singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so here are a few memories from these past eleven years: There have been several times when you have hosted me and others of our family in your home. The memories of “famous” milkshakes, waffles and discussions are priceless. August of 2000 is a highlight in my memory as you took me and Debbie to Paradise where you showed us the farm of our great-great-great grandfather, John P. Wright, the Paradise Cemetery and the graves of our ancestors there, as well as its gorgeous view. From Paradise you took us to Samaria, Idaho to see the Anderson monument at the site of our great grandparents' home, and then to the Samaria Cemetery where we saw the head stone of Richard and Maria Morse, our great-great grandparents. Later that evening you and I drove over to the Logan Cemetery. There we were blessed to find the graves of David Bowen and Annie Shackleton, our great-great grandparents. Neither of us knew where the graves were when we started, so it was especially exciting. We also found the graves of Herschel Gibbs Wright and his wife, our dear Grandma Bea.
58: Thank you for that wonderful treat. Last summer (2010) you took Caitlin and me to Paradise again, where we got to meet John Lee, and on the way we saw the wonderful antique car restorations. You have also hosted us in tours behind the scenes of the Tabernacle, and last summer (2010) we enjoyed sharing a meal with you at the Lion House. Through the years we have found ourselves playing “Where is Uncle David,” as we watched the television broadcasts of the Choir singing in General Conferences, Christmas Devotionals, the Nauvoo Temple dedication in 2002, etc. As I noted in my journal after the Nauvoo Temple dedication in June of 2002, “It was beautiful, as always, and made a bit more special by the fact that my brother David was among the Mormon Tabernacle Choir members singing at this session, so we got to share it even though separated by many miles.” And a few times I have had the thrill of being present in person at your performances. In July of 2002 I thrilled to the patriotic songs that were part of “Music and the Spoken Word” on the July 7th performance. And I was teary-eyed as I sang “God be with you til we meet again.” I was back again in March of 2003, and I was moved to tears again as you sang a Brahms requiem, “Blessed are they that mourn”. In July of that year we drove up to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center near Albany to attend your performance, and I was especially glad to have a chance to greet you during the intermission. I was back in December of 2003 for Daniel's wedding, and I was thrilled to once again attend “Music and the Spoken Word” on the 14th, which was followed by a mini version of the Christmas Concert. Our latest opportunity came during the Choir tour this past summer. It was great to have some time with you, and the concert was wonderful. No doubt three encores are not unusual for you. Among my glimpses of heaven have been times we spent in the temple together. For example I notice the first time I was in the Logan temple, which has such significance for our family, was in March 2003 with you. When Daniel and Ashley were married in the Salt Lake temple in December of that year, you were there. We have done temple work together in Washington, DC and even London, England. I have enjoyed doing family history research and finding information about our ancestors, and you have helped by finding records in the Family History Library. And I truly appreciate the efforts you have made to see that the ordinances are performed for our loved ones. Your visit to England and Wales in 2005 was wonderful. Do you remember visiting the home town of our great-great-great-great grandfather, George Meaton, in Amport, Wiltshire? You may remember our visit to Stonehenge, the medieval Saxon Church in Bradford-on-Avon, or pastries from the “Crusty Bloomers” bakery there. We didn't find the Bush memorials in Bath Abbey, but I have since learned they are covered by some of the floor tiles and choir seats there.
59: I'm sure you remember the Lion Pub in Defynnog, where we had fun not only chatting with the proprietors, but also with the bell ringers when they came in from their practice. You must remember playing the pump organ in Brychgoed chapel while Jonathan Davies and his daughter Ann Jones sang along. Brychgoed is where Margaret Rees (nee Williams), the oldest sister of our great-great-great grandfather, Morgan, is buried. It was delightful to visit the farms that played such an important part in the lives of this part of our family: Nantmadog, where we met Adele Price; Rhiw, now derelict; Neuadd Senni, where Margaret was born. From Defynnog we went back in time and west in place to Kidwelly castle and up into the hills to Cadwgan Fawr farm, still bearing the name of our 13th century ancestor. Perhaps you remember Portsmouth Cathedral (burial place of great-great-great grandfather Thomas Bush, and where we attended Evensong), the dockyard, Porchester castle, or some of the other places significant to our Bush ancestors. It seems fitting that your visit concluded with ordinance work for these ancestors in the London Temple. In July of 2007 you once again hosted me and I enjoyed our visit to the Malad Welsh Festival together. It was nice to see the old home on Bush Avenue. Then in October of that year we had such an enjoyable mini-reunion in celebration of Doug's 50th birthday. Once again our time together included a temple visit and spending time together just talking and sharing thoughts and insights. In May of 2008 we were together in Oregon to celebrate Dad's birthday. You brought a song for us to sing for Mom, reminding me that over the years you have inspired and delighted us with several of your own compositions, and with the wonderful gifts of the latest Choir CDs. Thank you again! When I called you about a year ago to see how your heart stint surgery went, and learned of your cancer, my worries were reduced by your positive attitude. And that attitude has been inspiring throughout your treatments and improvements. What a joy to hear this year you are cancer free. Did you know your missionary work as a member of the Tabernacle Choir has extended beyond your performances? I have given Choir CDs to non-member friends, and I have invited them to see my brother sing by watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on the Internet. I easily remember the reaction of Bob Hendy in England. He gave me and Anthony Bush a tour of St John Baptist church in Bristol, and I gave him a copy of the Requiem CD. The next day I got a call on my cell phone. It was Bob; he had been listening to the CD and was absolutely thrilled. God bless you with satisfaction and joy in the memories of your life. Love, Kirk
60: "What a blessing your gift has been to my life" | "You know that I have always looked up to you"
61: My Dearest Brother, I know we shouldn't compare our talents but I really think I must have gotten in the wrong line when they were passing out the Bush family musical gifts, or maybe the boys were just greedy and so by the time I came along you had already received the family quota! What a blessing your gift has been in my life. I do remember it not being used for righteous purposes in my younger years when you sang the "Cry Baby" song and other altered versions of popular songs to me for the tease factor. Although for the past 11 years your gift has truly touched my life. How wonderful it has been to look forward to each conference knowing we were going to be playing the, Who Can Spot Uncle David First game, feeling the spirit so many Sunday mornings while listening to Music and the Spoken Word, knowing that shortly after a new choir CD was released we would find a present in the mail, and the holiday tradition of coming to the Christmas Concert that wouldn't have been possible without your generous gift of tickets. My life has been touched with your desire to share your gift while singing with the choir. You know I have always looked up to you and thank Heavenly Father all the time for sending me to a family with such an amazing older brother, who I continue to love and adore. We will miss seeing you in the choir but I want you to know how much I personally have been blessed for the sacrifices you made to be a part of the Tabernacle Choir. All My Love, Maryanne
62: Dearest Papa, It was never my intention for my letters to go into remission with your cancer! = / Having attempted (and failed "with glory"--sung to the tune of that infamous line from "God Speed the Right") to respond to your weekly letters, at the very least, I have gained an even greater appreciation for your consistency! I do not know how you do it without ever missing a week, but I hope you know how much I depend on and enjoy receiving those little pieces of you in my mailbox every single Tuesday! I have actually composed countless mental letters to you, including a "letter of appreciation" per your suggestion at Thanksgiving. The one you read to GG was so beautiful, thoughtful, and inspiring; I intended to write one to each family member! Unfortunately, they all remain in the "mental composition" phase, which is why I am grateful for this unique opportunity to express my gratitude to you for over a decade of service as a Musical Missionary in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! I know it is selfish, but I was secretly disappointed to hear that you were retiring. Don't get me wrong, I know you will be an amazing high councilman, and I wholeheartedly support your decision to accept this new calling. I just wasn't prepared to let go of all the "perks" of having you in the choir; chief among them being your regular trips to Salt Lake. I know it was a tremendous sacrifice for you to "commute" from Logan for the (sometimes daily) rehearsals, but it was such a treat to see you between your choir commitments. You were always so wonderful to stay awake for late-night snacks and chats when I'm sure you were exhausted from rigorous recording sessions, rehearsals, and/or performances. I fear that we will see less of you now that you no longer have so many engagements in our city! I suppose we'll just have to step it up and make more frequent visits to Logan! | "We always felt close to you as we saw you singing your heart out for our Heavenly Father and our family."
63: Thank you, Dad, for sharing your talents, time, and energy with so many for so long! Just like your letters, your music has been a constant in our lives. We have watched you "on the big screen" in Hawaii with our ward ohana clad in PJs in the chapel at 6:00 AM. We have squinted at tiny figures on our lap top in India, scrutinizing each one, looking for the handsome hair and expressively mobile head that set you apart from all the rest of the "Men of Tabernacle Choir!" Your music (and the spoken word) have set the tone for our Sunday mornings, as we pause in our preparations for church for thirty minutes of worship through song and a little "I spy Grandpa" (pass the fruit snacks)! No matter how far away we were, we always felt close to you as we saw you singing your heart out for our Heavenly Father and our family! We have enjoyed so many fabulous performances that have given me goose bumps, brought tears to my eyes, left me breathless, kept me tapping my toes, and/or brought me to my feet clapping till my hands hurt! I always knew that music was powerful, but there is something so awesome about experiencing it first hand in the tabernacle with 350 voices in perfect unison! We have cheered you on at the Olympics and watched you share a stage with celebrities, but my favorite moment was just last month when Zakia, Kaleo, and I attended Music and The Spoken Word. We sat in the balcony directly across from you, so close that we almost felt like we were a part of the choir. You stood and looked directly at us as you sang to us "God Be With You Til We Meet Again!" That was a sacred experience for all three of us, the kind that stirs my soul and brings tears each time I reflect on it. I don't have the ability to (and probably wouldn't want to even if I could) describe all the feelings that your music evoked in that moment, but there was a whispered witness and a glimpse of eternity. Thank you for the music, Papa, for the songs that soothe, sustain, lift, and inspire us. It would be easy to fill this whole book with musical memories of my marvelous Motab father, but since we're paying per page and my children are calling, I'll close with one final memory. You were not on a stage, but in a humble home on a dairy farm. You brought words of comfort and love, but most of all you brought music. Music that filled the room and our souls to the point of bursting, that played on even when none us were capable of singing. It was such an honor to witness my father serve as and instrument in the hands of God in that moment. God be with you, Papa; by his councils guide, uphold you. With his sheep securely fold you. God be with you til we meet again! With Eternal Love, Your daughter forever, Amy
64: Dear David, It's nice to have the opportunity to reflect on and thank you for your choir service. It's also interesting to mark time by the beginning of your choir era. So much has happened during that brief time for me and my small family and for our larger family. From med school, through residency, first job, India, to now. We were so thrilled when you were first accepted! And, it's continued to be a blessing to us for you to be in the choir. There are a few things that I'll always remember and be grateful for in regards to your time in the choir. First of all, it has had a nice influence on my own life. Having you in the choir has helped me be more focused on the music and messages and in turn has helped me feel the spirit more. Also, there is the great influence it has had on my children. In a way it's kind of been like having a family member on a regular mission. There's this extra influence on everyone as someone dedicates so much of themselves to serve the Lord in his church. Your service is a testimony to all of us and is a great example to my children. It's also helped them be more engaged in general conference - always a bonus! Now who are they going to have to try to spot at conference?! I have great memories of the many concerts we've been able to attend. Thanks for being so generous in getting us tickets to many wonderful events. I could start listing them, but there have really been so many great ones. Perhaps my favorite have been Christmas concerts, but I've always loved the spirit of Christmas. Well, it's on to a new chapter. I'm sure you'll find great blessings in this next era of service. I know the Lord will continue to use you to bless the lives of others - through music and otherwise. Thanks again for sharing your talents through the choir and in so many other ways with me, Amy, and our children. It's a real privilege to have you as my father-in-law. Love, Karl
65: All members of the family have been able to participate in supporting Grandpa's calling in the choir by playing our favorite game of "Where's Waldo."
68: "I've enjoyed seeing through the window into your character as I've watched you serve in the choir."
69: Dear Dad, It's hard to imagine watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir without being on the lookout for your profile. Since leaving Utah in 2001, I've been guaranteed the opportunity of seeing your smiling, singing face at least twice a year. I left for Massachusetts the same month you were set apart and I have grown used to the familiar comfort of knowing exactly where you were and what you were doing as I watched. I know that being a part of the choir has been a blessing in your life but I have also felt blessed hearing the stories behind the music. I love hearing about your interactions with the leaders of the church, about working with Mack and Craig and the spirit that fills you when you sing for conference. We've also been blessed to have our home filled with beautiful music as you've enriched our personal musical collection, as I write this I'm listening to "Rejoice and be Merry," last night it was the new c.d. featuring David Archuletta. I've enjoyed being privy to "behind the scenes" information about the choir almost as much as I've enjoyed seeing through the window into your character as I've watched you serve in the choir. I've been amazed at the level of your commitment to your calling AND at the energy you possess to continue on through tours, recording sessions and concert seasons. I know that you will now just be trading one type of busy for another but I am grateful for the example you provided of commitment and your work ethic. What a joy it was to listen to you sing on the beautiful setting of Tanglewood Campus in Lenox, Massachusetts. The setting was very different at the gigantic sports center in San Jose but I was so excited to bring friends from work and church to hear my dad! You recently told me about your realization of how replaceable you are. There may be someone waiting to step in and take your place as Tenor #46 in the choir but that new tenor will not eagerly be looked for in our home come April. Do you know I can spot you on a screen when you are a mere speck? I have identified you by only your ear and hairline in the past and enjoyed the excitement in my children's eyes when I cry, "There's Grandpa!" Thank you for being someone we can all look to. Thank you for sharing your talent and your love of music with us. We have been enriched for it. Keep on singing. Much Love, April Dawn (Daughter #2 to Tenor #46)
72: "Just as I was watching my Dad was aware of him, my Heavenly Father was watching me and was aware of my needs." | Dear Dad, I am optimistic that this collection of letters will capture some of the strong memories and feelings our family has thanks to you and your years of selfless service in the choir. I would like to describe three important experiences related to your time in the choir. Each of them is connected with strong feelings, powerful spiritual experiences and love (of family and music). First and foremost was a memorable moment from my mission. I was doing my best to work hard and obey all the rules, but I was a little discouraged that we weren't blessed with more success. For the most part I was cheerful, but I remember having doubts and wondering if all my efforts and sacrifices were worthwhile. It was during a particularly challenging phase when I was in either Delmenhorst or Stade that we gathered to the Hamburg Stake Center for General Conference in April of 2000. I had been praying a lot for the spirit I wanted to know that my efforts were acceptable to Heavenly Father. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I think I was looking for some kind of sign or symbol. I knew you had successfully auditioned and passed the hurdles to sing with the Chorale, and I hoped I might see you during conference, but I did not want to get my hopes up, thinking that you had to work your way up on to the “varsity team”.
73: It wasn't until the choir sang “Oh my Father” that I finally spotted you. It was an amazing moment . Of excitement and pride. I wanted to run to the screen and point you out to everyone and shout “that's my Dad!” At the same time I was nailed by a strong confirmation of the spirit that just as I was watching my Dad and was aware of him, my Heavenly Father was watching me and was aware of my needs. Although the phrase has become a bit cliché, I count this among the “tender mercies” of my life. This experience motivated me to keep working, pressing on and following your example. Second, I remember the awesome opportunity you facilitated when I was invited to sing with the Men of the MoTab during Priesthood session. Musically it was an incredible experience to participate in the creation of a wall of sound. It was a dream come true to sing with the choir and to stand side by side with you. I still remember when we sang “Praise to the Man” it was pretty overwhelming to look out at the sea of Priesthood and literally thousands upon thousands of crisp, clean white shirts. When the congregation joined us, it was amazing to sing and shout that anthem of Priesthood power. That experience didn't end there. Our picture ended up in the Ensign, so for months afterward people at USU asked me if I sang in the Motab or told me they saw my picture. I especially liked it when people asked if you were my brother. Finally, I wonder where my little family would we be without the Motab? I took Marinda to the Christmas concert in December 2002 (I had been home about one year) thanks to Dad's free tickets, we had a great destination and wonderful conversation all the way there and back. All of these experiences have reinforced the importance of music, both for personal enrichment, but also as a superb vehicle for the spirit and a teaching tool that helps prepare the hearts of men. Thank you for sacrificing so much to be in the choir and teaching by your example that this type of service can and should be a priority. By my conservative estimate, you have traveled at least a whopping 189,904 miles for the choir (83 miles each way, or 166 miles a day, 2 times a week for a subtotal of 332 x 52 weeks in a year, making 17,264 multiplied by 11 years, ...and that doesn't count tours, recordings, concerts, etc.) You are a modern day pioneer by any definition, and we salute you for your journey. I love and admire you Dad, and hope to follow in your footsteps. Love, Lij
74: Dear Dave, Its not even exaggeration if I claim that you being in the Tabernacle Choir is the reason I'm in your family. My first date with Elijah was to a choir concert in Salt Lake. The long drive down to Salt Lake, which gave us plenty of time to talk and get to know each other, and the beautiful Christmas music created a perfect atmosphere for me to fall in love with your son. I am eternally grateful. Since then you being in the choir has had a wonderful impact on our home and family. You fill our home with music, capture the boys attention at conference and supply us with cds to give in our missionary efforts. I know Almut, the Harjes family and our other friends in Virginia and Germany were touched by your beautiful music. Listening to your cds fills our home with the spirit, helps me be calm and patient with the boys and strengthens my own testimony as the notes and message speak to my heart and tell me that what I'm hearing and feeling are true. Thank you for strengthening my home, family and personal testimony. I love you and am honored to be your daughter-in-law! Love, Marinda
75: "Thank you for strengthening my home, family, and personal testimony."
76: Dearest Daddy, Gratitude is the feeling I have as I reflect on the past eleven years you’ve been serving and singing your little heart out in the choir. I feel so grateful for the example you have been for me and my family. Not only am I thankful for your faithful service, but for the joy I have had in watching you sing! You have a passion and we have felt it! I remember so clearly being in the tabernacle with you when they set you apart to serve as a Missionary in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Dan and I were only engaged at the time that beautiful day in May. And Dan still remembers what an honor it was to stand in on the blessing. I remember being so proud of you for making the choir after such a long and rigorous audition and also admiring you for being brave enough to audition and share your musical talent at this stage in your life. I admired you every time I would come home to visit and you’d be out in the kitchen in your pajamas with your choir folder opened up on the counter, practicing along to a cd or to the tap of your hand or foot counting out the beats. I was impressed with your dedication to drive down to SLC so often and your commitment to the choir!
77: I admired that although you were now a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir you still remained humble and always joined in singing with your ward choir. I appreciate that you involved your family in your adventure. You made certain that tickets were reserved for your family first! When we came to watch, you always made a point of meeting us before or after and on more than one occasion I had the joy of entering the “special choir door,” eating lunch with you, receiving a little tour, riding along with the carpool or being introduced to your friends and colleagues in the choir. I remember last year when my Stake YW came to meet President Uchtdorf and attend conference. You took time out of the short window of a break that you had and came to greet us all and shake hands with everyone there. It felt like you were a celebrity! When we were waiting for you to come out it took a few minutes longer and I recall someone asking if perhaps you’d forgotten. Such a thought was quickly dismissed as I reassured them that “my father never forgets!” That is one thing I admired most about you. You never forgot where your priorities were and more than once I witnessed you miss a choir rehearsal or performance in order to spend time with us when we were in town visiting. Thank you for putting us first! I also treasured your handwritten letters and postcards you’d send when you were on tour and traveling away from home with the choir. What a joy it was to hear about your trip and see the amazing missionary work you were doing! Since you’ve been in the choir I have established quite the collection of choir cds, at least 22 to be precise! I appreciate that you not only gifted us with this beautiful music, but you so lovingly sent cds for my in-laws, for visting and home-teaching families and even for our missionary efforts when we’d ask! I am confident that you recognize the great blessings in your own life that have come from your service in the Mo-tab but I want you to know that I too have recognized great blessings in mine as well. From the answers to prayers over you in all of your commuting, to the spiritual connection I developed with General Conference, to the motivation and courage I have received in pursuing my own musical goals, to the beautiful lullabies you have written for each of my children, to the joy I have felt in watching you sing and be moved by the Spirit! As I reflect on these past eleven wonderful years I am reminded of a song that I have always treasured singing around the piano with you, “Take These Wings and Learn to Fly.” Your example has done this for me. “Take this song and learn to sing, fill your voice with all the joys of spring!” We will miss looking for the most handsome member of the choir during broadcasts but look forward to continuing to sing with you! Sing on Sweet Papa, Love Your Cassie Jo
78: Dear David, I can honestly say that for as long as we have known each other you have been involved in the Tabernacle Choir. With that in mind, it’s kind of strange to write this as your time with the choir winds down. It’s been about 11 years since Cassie and I went on our first date and it was around that time that she mentioned you auditioning for the choir. Shortly thereafter I drove up to Logan to meet the family for the first time and it was while we were engaged that you were set apart as a member of the choir. I remember it so vividly because you invited me to stand in the circle when you were set apart. Of all the amazing interactions that I have had with the Bush Bunch whenever I think of feeling included I think of that experience. Thank you for inviting me to be in that circle and in the many circles that I have been a part of since joining the family. Those circles have formed mostly in your home, but also in the temple for so many sacred moments. We have had so much fun over the years looking for you in General Conference, Christmas devotionals, and other special choir concerts. We have looked forward to getting the latest recording and love to brag about the dad, father-in-law and grandfather who sings in the choir. Congratulations on fulfilling your choir calling so diligently! I look forward to reading about your impressions as you focus your efforts as a member of the high counsel. Thank you for making so many special memories in all that you do. Love, Dan
79: Mormon Tabernacle Choir Snowmen | Emmett's drawing for Grandpa | Lydia's drawing for Grandpa
80: Millie and Grandpa dancing to Mo-tab music November 2011
81: Dear Grandpa, I want to see you in the choir. I am a child of God. I love my Grandpa with the Moppy. He sings good! The End. Loves Emmett | Grandpa missing choir for Emmett's baby blessing, August 2008
83: Dear T-46- When I first read mom's email about your new calling (and thus the release of your calling as a missionary in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), I was surprised as I found I had to hold back tears. I was happy you could be around the family more but quite sad to think the end of such a delightful era was drawing to a close. Who would supply the family with the latest choir cds, tickets to fabulous concerts as well as entrance to general conference? :) Even more importantly, how could I enjoy the music of conference knowing you weren't a part of it? My selfish sadness also extended to concern for YOU and how you were feeling as over the years I have come to see what a joy singing in the choir has been for you. Despite the commitment and sometimes exhausting hours, you seemed to draw an energy and zeal for life from the music which left your soul soaring. It was such a comfort to then talk to you and learn of the peaceful feelings you had about leaving the choir as well as the lessons you learned from the temple as you contemplated the change. It helped ME feel peace about the change. As I reflect on your time in the choir, I can't help but think of all the lessons I have learned and the blessings I have received from your participation. 1) Never give up on your dreams. As a self-absorbed teenager, I didn't realize how long you had wanted to sing with the Mo-Tab OR how grueling the audition process was until AFTER you made it into the choir and mom told me what was required. It was touching to learn your response as mom read the exciting acceptance letter aloud to you over the phone while you were at work. Having only seen you hold back tears and control your emotions, knowing you wept helped me realized the depth of importance this new adventure was for you. It also helped me realize that some dreams simply take time. I need to be patient and continue to prepare myself so I can make those dreams possible when the time is right.
84: 2) The things worth having, usually require the most work and sacrifice. You and mom have taught me this time and time again BUT I learned it all over again as I saw the long hours you put into the choir. Your commitment to the choir not only required time for the Thursday night rehearsal and the Sunday morning broadcast but the commute between Logan and Salt Lake, the time for extra rehearsals, concerts, recordings and tours. It's too bad you couldn't participate in some sort of "frequent flyer" program--who knows the number of tires your carpool wore out, the gallons of gas consumed and the number of cars you would have driven to the ground if all those miles would have been put on the same car! :) I will never forget you arriving at the airport still dressed in your concert attire just in the nick of time when Elijah returned home from his mission. I also have imprinted on my mind seeing you night after night standing by the cd player in your room or sitting on the couch next to the sound system in the living room with the music on low, your sheet music in your lap, your hand keeping time with the music and you quietly singing out your part. Practice makes perfect and you definitely showed me how to practice and work hard with out ever lecturing me about it. 3) Supporting loved ones in their dreams often requires work and sacrifice on our part. While it wasn't as hard for me as Tasha and mom, there were times where it was difficult to have the choir demand so much of your time--it was as if we were competing against a much beloved sibling. :) There were orchestra concerts, performances, dance recitals, family events, church meetings and reunifications that your presence was sadly missing from. It was hard to see the sadness in moms eyes as well as feeling the sadness myself when I returned to the U.S.A after a year in Germany and not being able to have you enfold me in your arms until AFTER the choir tour. :) While it was sometimes difficult it also provided the family opportunities to serve and support one another in ways we never would have done had you been there. I may not have made as big of an effort to attend events for siblings, ward activities or neighborhood parties with mom. I also remember as newly weds when Dixon and I came over to till the garden and prepare the soil so you and mom could simply plant the seeds that weekend. "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven" and we were definitely blessed as a family while you participated in the choir.
85: 4) Music is often a tool the Lord uses to provide tender mercies and share his love. You have shared a number of stories of people who were touched through music the MoTab performed as well as the way you were able to share your testimony through song. The choir always increases the spirit of conference and other events. I know for me personally as I have lived away from home there is nothing that has helped me feel love from my earthly and heavenly father as when I would see you on the screen (whether it was a close-up or a tiny pinhead) during the general conference broadcasts. Especially when I was in Germany, I could not stop the tears from flowing and gratitude from filling my heart when I would see you singing songs of praise. It helped encourage me as I felt the immense love my fathers have for me. 5) Music runs in my blood and is necessary for the nourishment of our souls. While I don't necessarily feel the need to make the music myself, I do have a hunger inside myself for the stirring power of music. I learned this through my participation of orchestra but also through your membership in the choir. I cannot even begin to list the musical numbers the choir performed that moved me beyond words. I never left one of your concerts feeling down trodden or upset. My soul was always lifted, there was a bounce in my steps and life seemed a bit more manageable. Even if I wasn't there in person, the music from Conference or the weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word whispered lessons to my spirit and increased my desire to be better. Did you feel the same way? Thank you for these lessons and more. It has been such a blessing to have you in the choir and while the close of this chapter in your life is twinged with sadness, I'm grateful it is filled more with good memories, gratitude and excitement for the new opportunities of growth that lie ahead. In the end I know that as empty as the choir will seem to me without you in it, the music inside of you will never stop. Never stop sharing it as it is a blessing to me and those around you. Love you more than words can express, Chelsea
86: Dad and the choir: La lalala le lelele let’s see, where to begin. I remember the excitement of dad first being in the choir. It was one of those lines you could use in any social setting to make an instant hit. People always get excited when you say “My father sings in the MOTAB”, they’re always impressed. And why shouldn’t they be it’s the most successful choir on our planet. I remember dad first getting the gig and practicing piles of sheet music. I think he felt pressure as the new guy and really wanted to work hard to earn his place among the tenured members and wrinkles. He would sit in his bedroom with the door closed, and that cheap tiny little blue cd player (that he and mom shared and still use) and play sample tracks running over the lines again and again. I admired his dedication. It was usually 9 or 10 at night, after he’d finished work and family time. He paced back and forth in his red flannel pj bottoms, gray slippers, and garment top tucked in..and hair always slicked perfectly even though he was going to bed. His tenor tones would carry through the vents of the house heavily outweighing the .0005 watt speakers turned up full blast. I would lay on the floor doing homework or reading comics and listen to the words of his songs being strung out in high tenor Latin. “PPPPiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeJJJJJJJJJJeeeeeessssUUUUUSSSSS!!!!!!” Sometimes, when it was particularly late, I would wake to find my Discman and headphones missing! I would stumble out of bed to get a drink of water only to find dad in the kitchen with his back turned to me, Discman in one hand, sheet music in the other, both hands conducting while he sung under his breath so as not to wake the house. Two thoughts crossed my mind; wow my dad really loves music and wow my dad really looks dorky right now. | "It is very fitting that my father's music be the top of my inspiration"
87: While I greatly admired my dad’s enthusiasm and dedication to the choir I struggled to understand it. I found choir music annoying, repetitive, and flat out boring. I’d spent a lifetime of forced attendance at sibling’s performances and dreaded anytime spent with off-key, tackily robed teenagers, and b.o. filled high school auditoriums. A number of moments and songs from dad’s recordings have changed my mind and helped me to see the beauty of choral music in general. “I Am Bound for the Promise Land” and “Praise to the Lord” inspire thoughts of honest hard work and righteous hope. I especially love the section when the men come blazing in, right as the music and everything else cut out, “PRAISE TO THE LORD” resonates off the walls. Go men go. Undoubtedly the moment and melody I am most appreciative of is Mack Wilberg’s requiem. I almost didn’t go, but my dad gave us tickets to attend “Mack’s Mass for the dead”. I’d heard some requiems in my life and thought they drug on and on, far too long..“we get it, they’re dead”, was usually my impression. Mack’s was much different. We sat in the old tabernacle on hard wooden benches in winter. It had been a long drive from Logan and I was not feeling super excited to be there. It started with the main melody on the strings and I was hooked. I’ve never had that kind of experience before or since with music. I’ve always loved music and it plays constantly in my life but nothing has ever spoken to me like that, especially for that long of a time. For nearly two hours the choir, orchestra, and soloist blended to form sound waves that demanded complete rumination and reflection on life, death, and the wisdom behind the plight of souls. I cried secretly without anyone seeing me but I was moved and I got a glimpse of what my father has been pursuing all these years in the choir. I keep a list of songs I call my soul songs. They are songs that define the periods of my life or one’s that best represent me as an individual then and now. They include artist and songs like Cat Stevens “Into White”, Chopin’s Nocturne no. 3, Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California”, Smetana’s “Ma Vlast”, Pinbacks “Loro”, Chet Atkins, Modest Mouse, Simon and Garfunkel, Preisner’s “Lacrimosa”, The Strokes, and more. The song at the absolute top of the list, however, is “Kyrie”, from Mack Wilberg’s requiem. This isn’t an exaggeration. It’s number 1. If the song ever comes on it moves me to tears. The reprise is locked in my head. A solo tenor over the top of subtle strings sings, “Have mercy, Have mercy”, quintessential humility. It is very fitting that my father’s music be the top of my inspiration and feeling. It has moved me often and will continue to do so throughout my life and beyond. I am grateful for his dedication and humility. I have learned much through it. It is a good soul song. One worth listening to on a stolen disc-man, in the kitchen, in the middle of the night, in your pajamas.
88: Dear Dad Bush, Merry Christmas to you! I am so glad to take the opportunity to write you a letter, after all the fabulous ones I’ve gotten to read from you in the past 6 months. I feel like a lucky star to have found such a great husband with an amazing family and father. I cherish all the time I was able to spend at your home during the months leading up to our engagement and marriage. I love the feeling of togetherness when I am in your home. You have been a great example of fatherly love to me and the other bushes. I am very grateful for you. Last Christmas was a really memorable one. The talking stick ritual was a real bonding experience for me with the family. The Bush family is extremely gifted-musically- as is the Larson family and I feel so lucky to have such great in-laws. It is crazy to imagine your time in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir coming to an end. I thought you would be a part of it for the rest of your life! I am so lucky to have had you, my Aunt Meg, and my Uncle Scott as members in the Mo-Tab for several years now. It is an elite group and I am so blessed to have been able to see many live performances. I have two favorite memories of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and they both involve dates with Gabriel. The first one was the Christmas concert of 2009. It was our third date. We had such a perfect night. Gabe picked me up and his car was completely frozen over.
89: It was an extra chilly day in Logan and Gabe had gone to the carwash (no heated dry included) right before he picked me up. The Mazda Igloo. That was awesome. We played “Big Buck Hunt” at the Pie Pizzeria after the concert. It was a perfect date filled with meaningful conversations in between events as we got to know each other. The Spirit was there for the entirety of the concert, and it was so fun to see you on the big screen and think “Wow! He is Gabe’s dad, definitely looks like him!” My first thought upon seeing you was, “Wow, he has really great hair!” Haha! I’m sure I’ve never told you that before. My second favorite memory is the Christmas Concert with David Archuleta as the guest singer. That was a magical night. David’s voice was truly angelic and the choir was perfect. Gabe kept a good attitude and agreed with me that David was a smart choice as a guest star for the choir. I think that your decision to serve in the Stake High Council is a noble one. The people of River Heights obviously need you. You are wise, smart, thoughtful, kind, loving, and generous. Thank you for everything you do to be such an amazing father, husband, head counselor, singer, and golfer (real and wii) extraordinaire! I love you and will always remember you on the big screen (with the great hair) at the Christmas concert of 2009. Xoxoxo, Ellen
90: My Dear Papa, It has been my great privilege to read through each of these letters before inserting them into this book of memories. Many have brought me to tears, made me smile or laugh, but without fail, they each shared a memory or expressed a bit of the sentiment that I had planned to write in a letter of my own. How could I forget the years of plaid-pajama clad practice that Gabe so beautifully described, or the example of dedication that many of the other siblings touched on? I could join with Ellen, Elijah and Marinda in happy memories of one of my first dates with Burke to the annual Christmas concert and the uplifting atmosphere where we could nurture blossoming affection. It seems that all of us have been fortunate to experience memorable concerts, general conferences, and The Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts that have strengthened, edified and delighted.
91: However, as I pondered on what I could say that had not already been said, I recalled the words of your latest Christmas CD recording with David Archuletta and Michael York, where Michael’s tremendous voice tells “the middle” of the story of the Tabernacle Choir. This struck me as I realized that your 11 years in the choir was not the beginning, nor will it be the end of your love for lyrics and lullabies. I wonder when your story, your love for music “began”? Was it in premortal choirs or in the first notes of your mother’s lullabies as a child? Was it after years of forced piano practice or the first time you touched the ivory and ebony keys and unlocked the music within? I recall my own musical buddings at your side: a Sunday afternoon with light streaming through the front window as you played and I sang, “A Little Fall of Rain” and realized with shock the sacrifice of Eponine, making me unable to finish her last words. I remember learning harmonies at your side to “Take These Wings” and “Cross the Wide Missouri.” I remember duets to “All I Ask of You” and holding the pages as your high tenor expressed the poetic tenderness in “A Bit of Earth.” I remember how we both cherished, “Homeward Bound” and how I never sang it better than at home by your side. My beginnings melding with your middle. I, for one, will never forget dozens of trips to Nielsen’s to sooth your vocal cords with delicious frozen custard. I will never forget tremendously spiritual performances such as “Light of the World” as the choir marched over the curve of the “world” or the pure exhilaration the first time I heard the drums and saw the choir sway to “Betelehemu.” I will never forget the many General Conference Sessions that I was able to hear you perform in and thrill at being so close to our prophet and apostles. I will never forget the hopes of turning 25 and singing with you in the choir for one year before you retired (truthfully, we both know I would have never passed the theory test, even if we lived close enough for me to audition). Truly, your time in the choir has been a season of blessings for all of us and our lives have been greatly enriched by the "middle" of your story. However, your love for music, your dedication to the gospel and family, nor your commitment to callings began with your time in the choir or finish as you retire. The music within you is eons old and will last for eternity. Your time with the choir has touched many lives, but your gift and the impression you left will continue to bless your family, friends and associates for years to come. I look forward to many more of Grandpa’s lullabies sung to my sweet babies and making trips to Logan to attend concerts with the American Festival Chorus with both you and Mama as choir members. Thank you for nurturing my beginnings, All My Love, Your Emily Ann
92: Dear David, I will be forever grateful to you for your service in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The first time I met you was on the way to a Christmas concert. Emily and I were just starting to date, and I was nervous to be “meeting the family.” I was on pins and needles waiting for you and Emily to meet me behind the capitol building, but once you pulled up and I saw the smiles I have now become familiar with, much of my fear quickly left me. As we entered the conference center and the program started I was filled with some of my first impressions of being part of the Bush family. It was a perfect setting- Christmas season, beautiful music, beautiful girl and the Spirit of Love. It was a great start to my relationship with Emily and I count it as one of my fondest memories and blessings.
93: When we arrived in Logan for the first time, and Cathy greeted me, I felt like I was at home. The feeling was exactly how I felt when I was at my own home. I never had the feeling of trying to break the ice, rather it was like picking up where we left off. Since that time over 3 years ago I have taken many opportunities to mention that my father in-law is a member of the Tabernacle Choir. It is a connection that I am very proud of and it makes me feel like I have something to brag about, and I do. I.e. “Oh, the Tabernacle Choir you say? Well I just happen to have a father in-law in the choir and I have been to several of their concerts. In fact he can get us tickets to conference... in the lower section... whenever he wants!” I love and appreciate you and your dedication to not only the choir but to everything you are involved in. You are a great example to me and like a second dad. You always make me feel welcome and appreciated, and I hope that I can follow your great example. Thanks again for your many years in the choir. As you move forward to your next calling may the music continue to fill your soul and bless the lives of those you serve. Love, Burke
94: Hustle and Bustle away we go Through traffics Jungle A travel memorized in the heart A place to always return Running to join the hurried crowds Full of “excuse me, pardon me” An unnecessary amount of anxiety as we make our way Speaking inside, “Let me in, hear me roar, I want to see the show!” A shuffle step here Forward and to the side there A dance among the enormous mass of people As we make our way to the right floor, door and finally a welcoming place | Just another space Yet so greatly needed piece With a voice that so strongly urges That this is indeed a place of home The seats found are welcoming arms To my agitated body, excitement bouncing all around Yearning for the program at hand I cannot sit still with a shift and a wiggle Scoping out the black penguin tuxedos I spot him in seconds Taking pride in my claim That my eyes can always aim and find first
95: The man that means most With a wave and weird gestures How could he miss With success he signs back, often with blown kisses Who else but tenor 46, Mr. Motab himself Lights dim and the music begins Whether off with a bang or a soft quiet ting The spirit is present Correspondent to the conductor’s wand When it’s loud and rushing The spirit shouts out in exhilarating amounts of joy When sweet and flowing An ever gentle soft spoken serenity My heart pounds with the beats Beyond hearing, I listen and weep For I cannot contain The feelings within The gift of this music Humbles the proud to their knees Lifts the beggars to their feet Brings hope to the weary Creates sight to the blind Doubting Thomas’s transformed to believers Inspires the individual to live And praise the blessings of life Captivates all who listen and not just hear Bringing its message of love, joy, peace, celebration But most importantly formulates an atmosphere That thins the veil between realms | Through wavelengths of vibrations Electrifying amounts of every sensation The highest of completion Breaks through Heavenly elation Overwhelmed I am stunned For there He is, the One, the Sun All around no feeling compares For yes, the Savior is there My cup runneth over With tears that over floweth Each note sung out clearly states “He is here, He is here” The combination of the strings with the band The organ and choir at the conductor’s hand Through the glorious fortissimos There is only one voice Embedded from His first concert I will always hear him most Daddy’s voice loud and clear Correspondent to the Father’s will Admiration can’t describe feelings when watching you perfect The impact you continue to have is exemplified 10 times to the max The souls you reach the expressions you teach From God’s powerful musical tool you have achieved the finest crafted instrument yet You complete and define Hero And although I stand in awed applause Your performance hasn’t finished Your heart soul bearing music continues ever on
96: "We both shed tears of joy that day as he began 11 years of service as a Musical Missionary in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."
97: Sometime in the Spring of 2000, I saw an advertisement in the local paper (The Herald Journal) announcing an upcoming audition for men who wanted to be in “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir”. To this day I do not know what led me to draw that bit of news to my husband’s attention, nor did I know the impact it would have on not only our immediate family, but also countless others around the world. Thus began a process of several months involving 1st filling out and sending in an application along with a letter of recommendation from the Bishop and an audition tape. The making of said tape was done with the help of John Carter ~ who happened to have the best little recording studio in Cache Valley! The selection committee must have liked what they heard as they soon invited David/Dad to come to SLC for the 2nd round a music theory test which, if passed, led to the 3rd part of the audition process a live audition (that included sight reading) in front of Craig Jessop (Director) and Mack Wilberg (Assistant Director). After this grueling process the applicant was left to wait and wonder while Craig & Mack prayerfully sorted through it all and sent out letters informing each would-be-choir member of their rejection or acceptance into the Temple Square Chorale and Training School. There they would rehearse for 3 months, undergo another round of testing and then ultimately be allowed to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in singing for the April, 2001 General Conference! I’ll never forget the building anticipation as we waited for the mail during the appointed week! Each day David would call from work, anxious to hear if “The Letter” had arrived yet. Finally, it came. I carried it reverently into the house, knowing that white envelope contained the power to fill my husband’s heart with great joy or dash his hopes upon the rocks! When he called I simply said, “It’s here! Shall I bring it over to your office?” “No. just open it and read it to me” he said, as I heard him take a deep breath, unconsciously holding it while I opened the letter and began reading. “It’s dated Nov. 27, 2000.Dear Brother Bush, with the recommendation of your Bishop, you are hereby called to membership in the Temple Square Chorale and Training School, to prepare for a potential missionary call to the Tabernacle Choir.” (I heard a quick breath, then felt, more than heard a muffled sob.) Continuing on I read “Your assignment in the Second Tenor Section will commence with an orientation meeting to be held Tuesday, January 2, 2001 at 6:30 P.M. in the Assembly Hall.” There were several more paragraphs of information but I sensed this was enough for now. An overwhelming silence ensued till I finally asked, “Are you OK?” He answered with a quivering voice, “I’m just so grateful I can hardly speak.” Later he told me that when he hung up the phone he went straight to his knees and gave a prayer of thanks to the Lord for allowing him this wonderful opportunity. We both shed Tears of Joy that day as he began 11 years of service as a Musical Missionary in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
98: Little did I know there would be tears of many different kinds in the coming years ahead. At first they were tears of joy and righteous pride (if there really is a good form of pride, this was it!) I remember wonderful experiences such as meeting in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple with our Prophet ~ Gordon B. Hinckley (at the time) who spoke to prepare you all for your Southern States Tour and watching you sing at the Dedication of the Nauvoo Temple. Chelsea and I froze our bums off, yet loved every minute of the Dress Rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. And then there were all the Seasonal Concerts from Christmas to Easter, Pioneer Day to Veterans Day with General Conferences in between. It took several years before I could listen to the Choir without tears and a huge lump in my throat from yearning to sing with you and the Choir. Those tears later gave way to tears of frustration and occasional envy, longing and eventually sadness from feeling I had been left out of a new social circle”The Choir." It was natural that you should love them so when you spent 2 to 3 weeks on Tour and several times a year recording new CD’s or going to rehearsals every day but Monday (when getting ready for the recordings, Tanner Gift of Music, or other special performances.) Every rehearsal represented at least 5 hours away from home (3 hours round trip travel plus 2 or more hours of rehearsal!) You were missed as I attended church alone with the children. There were lots of plays, concerts and games I attended without a partner while you were as close to a 100 % in attendance as anybody had ever been in the Choir. Then there were summer days spent holding down the fort as the postcards came in from Disney World, Boston, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, New York, etc., etc., etc. I tried to think of it as you seeing the country for us so we wouldn’t have to travel! Ya that didn’t work too well! But somehow the negative tears were easily overcome when you shared choice experiences that made our sacrifices seem worthwhile or when we had opportunities to influence a choice of music. Such was the case with “Homeward Bound” making it on to a CD you were in the middle of recording. I had purchased the music in a folksong book for Emily to use in her solo competition along with a copy in sheet music form for the accompanist. One day, as you played and she sangI could suddenly hear the Choir (in my mind’s ear) singing a wonderful arrangement of that very song and pleaded with you to take the sheet music to Craig as a suggestion. You said you weren’t supposed to bring music to them and yet you did and because
99: of that, Craig told Mack to work up an arrangement for Choir & Orchestra and within a few weeks you were recording it! It was only a few months later that the 9 students from the Agriculture Department died in a car / van crash and the Choir was prepared to sing at the Memorial Service held on Campus in their honor. There were fun/funny times too like when Choir President Mac Christensen had done a favor for Elijah (replacing a suit that came with a snag on the sleeve) so I sent some of my famous “Mint-Chocolate Chip Brownies” to him and he followed that up with a letter on official Mo-Tab Letter head that said, “Dear Sister Bush: No one makes brownies the way you make brownies. No one eats and enjoys brownies the way I eat and enjoy brownies. Absolutely no one! Thank you so much. Sincerely, Mac Christensen, President” Or the time Sterling & Tracy Peterson told us that during April Conference they gave their children a jelly bean each time they spotted Br. Bush! And speaking of being “spotted”not since “Where’s Waldo” has anyone been searched for from so many countries around the world by our children and their friends in places as far away as Germany, Brazil, India and Singapore! And how could I ever forget your last tour this past summer, my first one to be able to travel with you. I was able to see the good and the challenging aspects of Tour and gained an even greater respect for your strength, stamina and faithfulness in fulfilling your calling as a Musical Missionary. All in all it’s been a long, but wonderful journey of Eleven years and though I wouldn’t trade it for anything I do look forward to the years ahead when we can serve together instead of apart. As I dropped off Amy, Kaleolani and Grandma Ellsworth across from the Conference Center for the First Presidency Devotional last Sunday and headed down into the Parking Garage I was waved through by familiar faces of those who know you and immediately thought of Proverbs 31:23. “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” What an honor it has been for all of us (in fact, 4 generations of our family) to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors as we’ve attended numerous events in and around Temple Square because of your affiliation with “The Choir”. Thanks for letting us in on your coattails’. It’s been the ride of our lives! Love Always, Cathy / Mumsie
100: Nearly all the pictures used in this book were personal photos or memorabilia given to David while in the choir. However, the following is a list of photos that were taken from the internet to complete this book. 1) Page 8&9 - The photo of the inside of the conference center and tabernacle can be found at: http://www.utah.com/mormon/conference_center.htm 2) Page 12 - all photos of choir personnel found at: http://mormontabernaclechoir.org/ 3) Page 22 - the Music and the Spoken Word logos can be found on the official Music and the Spoken Word website. 4) Page 25 - the ariel view of Salt Lake City at the Olympics: http://uptownembroidery.com/wpcontent/uploads/2009/11/2002-Winter-Olympics.jpg | Photo Credits
101: 5) Page 25, 36 and 37 - The close up photo of the choir singing at the Olympics, as well as the photos of choir on tour in D.C., Boston and Nauvoo were scanned from Heidi Swindleton's book, "America's Choir." 6) Page 50, the shot of Willard Bay was found here: http://www.utahfishinginfo.com/images/willardbay/willardharbor.jpg 7) Page50, the picture of the barn was found here: http://www.wallybloss.com/Logan.htm 8) Page 50, the picture of Sardine Canyon found here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=135914