The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Christmas PBS and BYUtv Specials Announced for 2019!

The air dates and times for the PBS and BYUtv December broadcast specials, Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir featuring Kristin Chenoweth have been announced. The TV specials are taken from the 2018 concert with the Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning singer and actor.

PBS: A 60-minute version of the program will premiere on PBS on Monday, December 16, 2019 at 9 p.m. ET (check your local PBS station for specific date/time listings). 

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Didn't Get Tickets to the 2019 Christmas Concerts?

If you didn’t get tickets to the 2019 Christmas Concerts or live too far away to attend the concert—don’t despair!  There are many ways to enjoy Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.  

Those who tried to get Christmas concert tickets know that tickets were distributed in a random selection process where patrons registered for a chance at tickets over a ten-day period. We received requests enough to fill the Conference Center many times over!  Emails were sent to all those who registered with the results of the random selection.  

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“May We Be More Like Thee”: A Hymn by Lloyd Newell and Mack Wilberg

During the October 6 Music & the Spoken Word program, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square debuted a special new musical number written by announcer Lloyd Newell and music director Mack Wilberg. The idea for “May We Be More Like Thee” came to Newell more than a dozen years ago. “It was on a Sunday, after a broadcast, when the words ‘May We Be More Like Thee’ came to my mind and heart. Later that night, I began writing the lyrics. The ideas for the words and verses began to flow. Within a week or so, the hymn text was formed.” recalled Newell.

He knew he wanted his friend and colleague Wilberg to compose the music but having such a busy man find the time was a different story. Wilberg himself has often referred to the Choir as being like “a speeding train never stopping to let its passengers off.” With endless weekly broadcasts, concerts, and composing, it can be difficult to put aside the time for outside projects. Throughout the years, the two occasionaly talked about the hymn, with Wilberg offering lyric suggestions. Periodically Newell would tweak the lyrics changing a word here and there, with added insight from his wife, which improved the flow and meaning of the hymn. 

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“Sounds of the Season” with the Bells on Temple Square!

UPDATE:  Tickets for both concerts have all been distributed.  Patrons are encouraged to come for standby seating which is nearly always available.  See below for information about the internet live stream.

The Bells on Temple Square celebrate the beginning of this year’s holiday season with “Sounds of the Season,” their annual holiday concert, on Friday and Saturday, November 22-23, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. (mountain time) in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. Each year, the Bells on Temple Square’s concerts are audience favorites. 

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2019 Christmas Guests: Kelli O’Hara and Richard Thomas

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square are thrilled to announce acclaimed singer and actress Kelli O’Hara and renowned actor Richard Thomas as the featured guests for the 2019 Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert!

The concerts will be presented on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (December 12–14) at 8:00 p.m. in the Conference Center at Temple Square. The Christmas concerts have become a traditional audience favorite and will include a 600-person cast consisting of 360 Choir members, nearly 100 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square, the 32 members of Bells on Temple Square, and about 100 dancers, all of whom combine with the guest artists to present this annual musical celebration.

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Angels among Us CD/DVD: Relive the Magic!

Relive the magic of the Choir and Orchestra’s 2018 Christmas concerts, featuring Kristin Chenoweth! As explained: “When a group of 360 people can come together and sound as flawless as they do in their harmonies, . . . it's hard to imagine a better way to celebrate the Christmas season. But then you add in Tony Award-winning Broadway star, Kristin Chenoweth, and the magic is undeniable.”

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Farewell to Our Remarkable Leader and Friend: Mac Christensen

When Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called businessman Mac Christensen to be president of The Tabernacle Choir in 2000, Mac looked at him askance and said, “President, I’m a monotone!” President Hinckley chuckled in his inimitable way and said, “We aren’t calling you to sing, Mac.”

President Christensen passed away October 11, 2019, at the age of 85. He served with intense dedication, rarely taking more than a few days off for nearly 12 years, from 2000 to 2012. As a Choir organization, we like to think he is now overseeing the singing of angels.

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Saying Goodbye to Bonnie Goodliffe Will Definitely Not Be Easy!

This month Bonnie Goodliffe retires from her position as a Temple Square Organist. “This has been an extraordinary experience,” remarked Bonnie. “Playing the organ in the Tabernacle is more than the glorious sound of the organ; it’s also the spirit of the building and the heritage of the pioneers that I always feel there.”

“Bonnie has been performing regularly on Temple Square for the past 40 years,” said Richard Elliott. “While we will greatly miss her musical and personal gifts (including her wonderful sense of humor), we take consolation in the fact that she will continue to play recitals on the Temple Square organs on a regular basis as an organist emeritus.”

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A Child Goes for a Swim in the Tabernacle During Conference

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is famous for its exceptional acoustics. It was completed in 1867 and was engineered by Henry Grow under the direction of Brigham Young, who was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. People from around the world have visited the domed building and have witnessed the acoustic demonstration in which a person can hear a single pin drop from 250 feet away.

Besides the acoustics, there are many other fascinating things to know about the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Throughout the years we’ve written many blog articles on the Tabernacle and its many distinct features, including articles about the attic, the 11,623 pipe organ, recording challenges, the construction of the Tabernacle, and even a sparrow trapped in the building.

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