Accessibility at Temple Square and for Tabernacle Choir Performances
I recently traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, with my dad to undergo an intensive concussion rehabilitation program. As this was my first visit, we decided to take in a few tourist sights while in town. My dad had heard about the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, a world-renowned organization part of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Founded in 1847, the 360-person choir holds a concert each Sunday inside the Tabernacle at 9AM (unless they are on tour) that is also broadcast live around the world. Admission is free, but seating is limited and first-come-first-served due to high demand. Sensory Accessibility
Due to my concussion, I had extreme difficulty with loud and visually stimulating environments. Although I at first had reservations about making it through the concert given this, I was able to enjoy it in full with the help of earplugs. I was able to enjoy it fairly well with earplugs, however conventional earplugs reduce the range of what you can hear well. If I were to go to another concert, I would invest in earplugs made specifically for music events. Also helpful were the two large screens on either side of the stage, offering closed captions of the entire performance.
During the concert, all patrons must maintain complete silence. However, for those who may be unable or uncomfortable doing so, the Choir does an open rehearsal immediately before each performance that does not have noise restrictions. This rehearsal is open to the public and follows the same program as the performance itself. Physical Accessibility
I use a manual wheelchair to travel distances, so we also took into consideration the physical accessibility of Temple Square when planning this outing. Overall, Temple Square was incredibly accessible and the numerous missionaries and volunteers throughout were more than happy to help answer any questions.
Entrance 8 is the accessible entrance to the Tabernacle, and the ushers will helpfully guide you to the accessible seating area. I chose to sit in the pew rather than stay in my chair, so the staff asked permission to take my chair out of the aisle until the end of the concert. They returned it promptly and I was easily able to exit the Tabernacle. If you choose to stay in your chair, there is a dedicated location in the same area. Individuals who need to transfer out of their chairs directly onto the pew can do so at either end, but there isn’t enough room to transfer in the middle of the row. Best of all, the accessible seating has a wonderful view of the stage.
It is important to note that the Tabernacle itself does not have any restrooms, so you have to leave the building in order to find them.
In addition to seeing the concert, you can also have a guided tour of Temple Square. There are missionaries present in each building to provide information about the history and features of that space, as well as general history about the Church. Guided tours of Temple Square leave on the hour and meet outside the North Visitor’s Center. These tours are available in 40 languages, including ASL, but they ask you call or email ahead for availability and details. You can call (800) 363-6027 or (801) 531-1000 or email email@example.com.
All buildings in Temple Square are wheelchair accessible except for the Beehive House, which was the official residence of Brigham Young. Wheelchairs are available to borrow in several locations and the Family History Library offers accommodations for visual and hearing impairments. For more information about accessibility you can visit the site here.