"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Discover the Magic of The Tabernacle “Virtual” Choir

Because the Choir’s 2021 Christmas gift to the world, 20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choirboth the PBS and BYUtv online and television specials and new DVD—was planned and produced during the pandemic, it is natural to ask, “Did the Choir and Orchestra contribute something new this year?“

From early in the process, a virtual choir was considered. But the role it would play was uncertain. Would it be just another musical selection, performed without a live audience, recorded in isolation on mobile devices? As the Choir’s music directors and production team considered how a virtual choir might add value, they recognized that virtual singers are somewhat like angels—crossing time and space to make their appearance and deliver their message. Perhaps the Choir’s first virtual performance could be suggestive of angelic messengers proclaiming the good news of the holy birth. With that as the plan, the entire Choir was invited to participate.

After almost nine months without playing together, a few members of the Orchestra were invited to come to the Conference Center to accompany Brian Stokes Mitchell singing Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.” Above the background of that socially-distanced performance, the Choir members’ “selfie” videos appear. As their voices blend together, they are seen gathering like the heavenly host, announcing the good news that Christ is born to all the world. It’s the last musical selection before the final carol—the same one that has been sung in every Choir Christmas concert since the year 2000—"Angels from the Realms of Glory.”

It almost seems meant to be.

In a few weeks, the Choir will release a new video showing how the virtual Choir was created. It is fascinating! 

“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”

This tender traditional Polish carol, arranged by Mack Wilberg, tells the Christmas story of the manger and the shepherds. With short phrases and a rising crescendo in each line, the music points to the joyful declaration of the last lines in each verse:

“Christ the Babe is Lord of all.”
“Christ the babe was born for you.”

Lyrics:

Infant holy, infant lowly,
For his bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing, little knowing,
Christ the babe is Lord of all.
Swift are winging angels singing,
Nowells ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the babe is Lord of all.

Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping
Vigil till the morning new
Saw the glory, heard the story,
Tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,
Praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the babe was born for you.