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The Tabernacle Choir Blog

James Taylor Joins with Choir and Utah Symphony for BYUtv Concert

James Taylor, one of the world’s most enduring and recognizable singer-songwriters, recently teamed up for a musical gala that also featured the internationally renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the critically acclaimed Utah Symphony. This unique concert, performed in September 2013 and made possible by the O. C. Tanner Gift of Music, will air on Friday, May 30, on BYUtv, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (MDT), with live streaming available at www.byutv.org. Additional information about the concert and future airings is available at www.motab.org/about/guest-artists/jamestaylor.

“Although the pairing took the Choir a little out of its box,” explained the Choir’s director, Mack Wilberg, “our mandate is to sing for everyone, not for just one specific group of people or from just one genre of music. And the Choir really had a ball preparing for and performing this concert with James and the extraordinary trio of musicians that accompanied him to Salt Lake City.” Added Mr. Taylor, “To a certain extent, I’m chorally focused in my music. I always work with four or five other singers when I’m on tour, and there are some of my songs that just want to be performed by a choir. One of the songs we performed was an a cappella version of “That Lonesome Road.” After the Choir and I rehearsed it the first time, I turned to Mack and said, ‘This song has died and gone to heaven!’"

BYUtv’s one-hour special features some of Mr. Taylor’s greatest hits, performed solo as well as with the Choir and Symphony; gospel spirituals; Broadway show tunes; and a show-stopping organ solo by the Choir’s principal organist, Richard Elliott. Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, described the motivation behind the concert in these words: “Music is an international language that everyone understands and can relate to. And I think that combining the unique talents of Mr. Taylor, our friends of the Utah Symphony, and the Choir will bring a lot of communication to people’s hearts.”