Choir Sings Music from the Masters and Grandmothers
There is a story behind almost every song the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings. Some are near legend, such as George Frederic Handel’s Messiah, Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” or the folk song “Shenandoah.” Arrangements by Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy have given new life to many hymns. Favorites like Wilberg’s “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” continue to set records on YouTube as well as bringing concert-goers to their feet.
In the recent Christmas concert featuring Santino Fontana and the Muppets® from Sesame Street®, one of the crowd-pleasers was the song “Everyone Who Likes Christmas.” While much of the Choir’s repertoire comes from Broadway, such as “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” this number came from two musicians close to home. Pat Metten and Maxine Cameron collaborated on the Christmas tune in 1968 for a Christmas program at Brigham Young University. Singing in the children’s chorus on that program was David Warner, who grew up to be a frequent collaborator with Mack Wilberg on repertoire for the Choir’s Christmas performances. He remembered the catchy song, suggested it to Wilberg, and it fit well into this year’s program with all the guest artists chiming inn.
Maxine Cameron, the original arranger of the song, was “honored and surprised” that “two grandmothers from Utah County” would contribute to the grand Christmas gala in the Conference Center and “could not even imagine it airing on national PBS stations next year.”