SALT LAKE CITY — On Thursday night, 13 January, Virginia Spelbring, an 82-year-old Indiana resident, will sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Ms. Spelbring has always had a passion for choral music, singing in many choirs herself throughout the years, and has long been a devout listener to the choir’s weekly radio broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word. “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was on nearly every Sunday morning,” Ms. Spelbring recalls of her growing-up years, “so I listened to them every week and still do!”
She has been to Salt Lake City once before, years ago, with her husband, who is now deceased. She convinced her husband to come to Utah for their 40th wedding anniversary so they could attend a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
On Thursday night, she will again attend a performance by the choir with one significant difference. This time, Virginia Spelbring will sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The opportunity to sing with the choir, long a secret desire of Ms. Spelbring’s, is now being realized thanks to the efforts of her close friends and family and the Never Too Late Foundation. The foundation helps bring about the dreams and wishes of deserving elderly citizens and terminally ill adults.
Bob Haverstick, a longtime staffer with the Indiana-based foundation, learned of Ms. Spelbring’s desire from her friends and worked enthusiastically to bring a dream to life for this woman he felt well deserved such a singular opportunity.
Ms. Spelbring, a petite widow who lives alone on a farm near Poland, Indiana, is an active member of the Zion United Church of Christ, in which she participates in any activity or service she can. Sharon Kinder, a fellow member of the congregation, learned of Ms. Spelbring’s dream at church services. After having arrived late one Sunday, Ms. Spelbring turned to Ms. Kinder to say she was tardy because she had needed to finish listening to the radio broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word.
She went on to explain she had always loved to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and shared an account of her 40th anniversary trip to Salt Lake City with her late husband just to hear the choir sing. Ms. Spelbring confided that her lifelong dream had always been to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. After that Sunday morning conversation, Ms. Kinder contacted the Never Too Late Foundation to nominate Ms. Spelbring for their program.
Mr. Haverstick contacted Craig Jessop, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and explained Virginia Spelbring’s dream. Mr. Jessop responded with a simple and emphatic “Yes! Let’s do this.”
Just in time for Christmas, Ms. Spelbring received an invitation to sing with the choir. Family and friends watched her surprise and delight when she opened the letter. Having learned that her dream would soon come true, Ms. Spelbring made plans to travel once again to Salt Lake City.
On Thursday, 13 January, she will sing with the choir during their regular evening rehearsal. “I am really looking forward to next Thursday,” Ms. Spelbring says. “I know it will be the thrill of a lifetime to sing with the Tabernacle Choir.”
On Sunday morning, 16 January, Virginia Spelbring will conclude her second trip to Salt Lake City when she attends the weekly broadcast of her much-loved program, Music and the Spoken Word, as a special guest of the choir.