15 Stunning Mack Wilberg Arrangements
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s director, Mack Wilberg, is known around the world for his soul-stirring arrangements, which bring a renewed energy to well-known melodies. The 15 videos below are just a sampling of the hundreds of songs that have been arranged by Wilberg.
Come, Come, Ye Saints
“Come, Come, Ye Saints” is a signature anthem of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In this arrangement, Wilberg has the women start off singing the first verse, followed by the men in the second verse. The third verse begins to build as the men and women harmonize together. As the fourth verse begins, the music of the Orchestra at Temple Square continues to escalate until the Choir sings their final “all is well.”
Wilberg’s arrangement of "Amazing Grace" starts with bagpipes, followed by the men singing in unison. Gradually, vocal parts are added as it builds to an awe-inspiring culmination of harmonies. Of the hymn itself Wilberg said, "It's a perfect marriage of text and tune . . . it just resonates in a way that few other hymns do." He added, "It has universal appeal.”
Down to the River to Pray
This spiritual song is about keeping faith in a time of darkness. It appears on the album Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: American Folk Hymns and Spirituals.
Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah
Emma Smith originally chose “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah” for the first hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1835. This soaring arrangement is a new take on the familiar hymn.
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee
“My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” begins with the men and women trading the first two verses singing in unison. Then the harmony begins in the final verses as the music continues to build and ascend to its towering peak. The music of the Orchestra at Temple Square shines beautifully in this classic American hymn.
I Believe in Christ
In 1972 Elder Bruce R. McConkie first shared the words he wrote for “I Believe in Christ” as part of his general conference address. Wilberg’s arrangement adds new phrasing and harmony in places, giving a variety to the hymn before reaching its powerful ending. The music was written by former Tabernacle Organist, John Longhurst for the 1985 hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hush, Little Baby
This traditional lullaby is included on the album, Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The song starts quietly and builds to a captivating harmony before returning to a more dreamy tone.
Written by 16th century composer, Giulio Caccini, “Alleluia” was also included on the 2010 album, Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Never Never Land
For the July 2014 Pioneer Day concert, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square and their guest artist, Santino Fontana performed Wilberg’s arrangement of “Never Never Land,” from Peter Pan.
He Is Risen
From the album He Is Risen, the video for this title track is set to spectacular images of the Savior in the Holy Land.
Peace Like a River
The essence of this traditional African-American spiritual is captured within Wilberg’s soothing arrangement. It appears on the Choir's album, Peace Like a River.
Redeemer of Israel
One of the many hymns written by William Wines Phelps, “Redeemer of Israel” is about the Savior’s mission. At 2:12 into the video, the men sing the third verse a cappella.
Written by Joseph Brackett, this Shaker song, "Simple Gifts," was known as a “quick dance” song with the references to “turning” in the final lines indicating dance instructions.
I’m Runnin’ On
The Choir sings the traditional, stirring spiritual "I'm Runnin' On," which portrays African-American themes of leaving "the world behind," "crossing the line," and "pressing on."
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Wilberg wrote the arrangement for, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" while he was director of the Brigham Young University Men’s Chorus. It is a fan favorite and keeps audiences engaged with its unique harmonies and moving instrumentation.