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Mormon Tabernacle Choir Cancels Overseas Trips

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Cancels Overseas Trips

Posted - Dec. 4, 2004 at 8:28 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's planned tour abroad next summer has been canceled because of security concerns, and instead the choir will tour northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

The 360-voice choir initially was to have traveled on a ship throughout Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

However, Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, decided that would make the musicians too easy a target for anyone with a grudge against the United States.

The tour was then changed to England, Scotland and Wales, with a two-day stopover in Paris.

That, too, was deemed too dangerous, choir members were told, so now they will be on tour in northern California and the Pacific Northwest with stops in Boise, Idaho; Spokane and Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif.; and Reno, Nev.

The church has an extensive security network that constantly monitors the global situation, especially as it may affect the 60,000 Mormon missionaries serving in more than 150 countries.

If choir members were disappointed with the change, they didn't mention it.

"No matter where you go," said tenor Douglas Smith of Salt Lake City, "traveling with the choir is still a treat and a blessing."

Church spokesman Dale Bills declined comment.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' all-volunteer Tabernacle Choir has been touring outside of Utah since going to Chicago in 1893 for the Columbian Exposition.

It has made 11 international trips since its first European tour in 1955, traveling to Canada, Central America, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, the former Soviet Union and Israel.

It has appeared at 13 World Fairs and Expositions, performed at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents -- George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson - and at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Expenses for the tours are paid by revenues from the choir's recordings, five of which have achieved gold-record status, as well as from concert ticket sales.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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