Deborah Voigt Quilt
Guest artists do more than perform on stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They become part of the Choir family. And family members do special things for each other.
Deborah Voigt, famed Metropolitan Opera soprano, headlined the 2013 Christmas program with renditions of the English carol “The Holly and the Ivy” and the lighthearted “The Twelve Days after Christmas” as well as the Choir’s traditional “Angels from the Realms of Glory.”
Miss Voigt is a world-renowned performer, but with such acclaim can come challenges. She has happily come out a winner from all of them. When she came to work with the Choir, she said repeatedly that she had never associated on stage with such nice people. “I don’t want this to end,” she said. Along with the Choir family, the four-concert crowd of 80,000 loved her.
When she got home, she sent Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir, and his wife, Rebecca, who is also the Choir’s vocal coach, a stunning, grand Christmas display for their table, complete with a stuffed Santa in the middle. The card attached touched the Wilbergs deeply. It read simply, “I miss you, Mack.”
Rebecca is a quilter. She immediately said, “She needs a quilt!” and Mack agreed. “Quilts are made not to be hung on the wall but to give love and comfort to those often in faraway places. You wrap yourself in a quilt and you feel the love,” explains Rebecca.
A design was created and fabrics chosen to focus on the red in the dress Voigt wore for the concerts. Seventeen quilters in the Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, staff, and Choir School went to work cutting, piecing, quilting, and embroidering. They began in January 2014 and finished in June.
“When you miss us or are cold, depressed, or lonely, wrap in this quilt and you will be getting more than 650 hugs from your Choir family,” Rebecca wrote in the note that accompanied the gift. “No other guest has received - or will receive - such a quilt. This was just for her,” says Rebecca. Debbie - as she likes to be called - sent each one who participated a personal note and autographed picture of her wrapped in her Choir quilt.