News Release

First West African to Sing with the Tabernacle Choir Shares General Conference Memories

Tubo-Oreriba Joseph Elisha Part of Choir's International Pilot Program

In April 2023, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, for the first time in its 175-year history, invited participants living outside the United States to join the Choir during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Ten individuals from throughout the world were chosen to participate in the pilot program.

One of those selected was Tubo-Oreriba Joseph Elisha of Accra, Ghana.  Brother Elisha had gone through a rigorous selection process and was honored to become the first native West African to sing with the choir.

Elisha arrived in Utah on March 18, giving him some time prior to conference to work with the Choir and prepare for singing during the conference sessions. “It’s been awesome, a big learning experience” he said in April, and added that “I have been exposed to many growth opportunities, learning diction, vibrato, tone, volume, and voice quality."

It was also very challenging. “The Choir has a standard and even though we are here for a very short time, we must maintain that standard to be able to sing with the Choir,” he said.  

Kaneshie Stake Choir Accompanist, Samuel Coleman, works with choir director Tubo-Oreriba Joseph Elisha2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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One of the challenges that Brother Elisha faced was memorizing all the music for the conference sessions as well as the Music and the Spoken Word Broadcast. “They had notified me of which songs to learn, and I learned the second tenor part for each of them,” he said. But when he arrived and sang for the choir leaders, they determined that he was a first tenor. “I had to quickly memorize the first tenor parts, which were much more challenging.”

In addition to their participation, each Choir member is called to be an ambassador for the Church of Jesus Christ, to share their goodwill and faith through music.  This is something that meant a great deal to Elisha and he continues to share the Gospel through his music. Elisha is the Elders Quorum President in the Gbawe Ward, Accra Ghana, and leads the Kaneshie Stake Choir as well.

"Being a global participant means being called to serve again," he said. "It means doing more in terms of music in my local stake and congregation. It means to promote and encourage the singing of hymns and do more in teaching others the musical skills I have acquired so they too can enjoy this great blessing someday."

Elisha was amazed by the number of people who watched the conference broadcast in Nigeria and Ghana to see him and hear him sing. “I had friends who were not members of the Church tell me that they watched General Conference like they were watching the Champions League Soccer tournament,” he said.  His mother, who is not a member of the Church, also watched diligently.  “She kept saying to those with her, ‘that’s my boy!’  She was very proud,” he said.

Music has always been a big part of Elisha’s life. “Music, like food, satisfies me when I sing it”, he said. Growing up in Nigeria he began singing in the Church choir at 12 and learned to read music.  At the same time, he began teaching himself to play the piano. After serving his mission in Enugu Nigeria, Brother Joseph relocated to Accra and began singing with the BYU Collegiate Singers in Accra. They had many local performances including a live broadcast to BYU Idaho and a local performance of Handel’s Messiah. He also sang with the BYU Idaho Choir when they performed at the National Theatre in Accra

Elisha joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June of 1998 in his native Nigeria.  His aunt, who had recently lost a daughter,  found missionaries from the Church, and was taught the plan of salvation, which resonated with her.  Elisha, who was ten years old, was baptized with his aunt and other relatives who had gained testimonies of the restored Gospel.  Through his baptism he also found his love of music with great mentors and choirs to sing with. 

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