In Rexburg, every Turkey Day calls for a musical performance that has been a tradition for nearly 40 years, known as the Turkey Choir. The Turkey Choir’s official name is the Community Thanksgiving Choir.
Randall Kempton, a music department faculty member at BYU-Idaho, directed this year’s Turkey Choir at the Rexburg Tabernacle Civic Center Nov. 24, Thanksgiving morning.
BYU-I students in the area have sung in the choir for several years. Sarah Allison, a junior studying sociology from Rexburg, said she joined her mother, Janis Allison, in the choir when she was 12 years old.
Directors have changed over the years; some have been BYU-I faculty and some have not.
Since Kempton started directing the choir, Sarah Allison said students are more aware of the annual Turkey Choir.
Sarah’s mother, Janis, sang in the first Turkey Choir in the late 70’s, with John W. Thompson a Ricks College faculty member. Janis Allison said Thompson was the choir’s first director.
Jackie Miyasaki, a freshman studying music education, started singing in the choir after her grandma invited her to join 14 years ago.
“I definitely feel like this needs to continue for generations to come,” Miyasaki said. “I feel like if we spread this tradition on for the next generation, we can influence others with the gratitude we feel in this great community.”