Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in Temple Square Brings Audiences Home for the Holidays | News, Sports, Jobs

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American singer and actress Megan Hilty joins the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square as a special guest for the 2022 Christmas concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, December 17, 2021.

The hugely popular Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square Christmas Concert – which was filmed Thursday, Friday and Saturday – will bring 2022 BYUtv and PBS audiences a dazzling performance of Christmas carols, stories and memories from home to Next Christmas.

Each year for the past two decades, the First Presidency, which now includes Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, have offered the concert as a special gift to the community. On Thursday, Nelson and his wife Wendy Watson Nelson were special guests. Other general authorities and church leaders were also present.

With the dramatic voice of actress Megan Hilty and narration from actor Neal McDonough, the choir and orchestra sang Christmas carols from medieval and ancient England to traditional family carols from Ireland.

It was Ireland that featured in the majority of the evening’s entertainment. Hilty and McDonough are both of Irish descent and celebrate Emerald Isle traditions in their own homes. McDonough is a devout Catholic with family histories he loves and who believes in Christ. He shares his feelings about these beliefs throughout the evening.

Speaking of their legacy, the two recalled the strength and resilience of the Irish people and the love they have for the baby Jesus on Christmas.

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Actor Neal McDonough joins the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square as the special guest narrator for the 2022 Christmas concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, December 17, 2021.

McDonough said that with all the preparation going on for Christmas, “the most important preparation is in your hearts.” He encouraged the audience to be like Christ, a light in the dark, who helps people want to love and serve others.

With Hilty singing the popular English song “Holly and the Ivy,” McDonough added that the two plants mean Mary and the baby Jesus. But more so, the holly branches represent the crown of thorns that Christ wore with the red berries representing the blood that he would shed for mankind.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Celtic Christmas Potpourri, arranged by Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott.

Elliott is known for his exceptional footwork on the organ and he has been joined by Daron Bradford on penny whistle, Rob Ricks on violin and Dany Saulier on bodhran drum.

Hilty favored audiences with her rich soprano voice by singing a mix of family Christmas tunes including Round and Round the Christmas Tree, A Place Called Home by A Christmas Carol and Home for the Holidays.

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Showers of artificial snow fall as the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square performs “O Holy Night” by Adolphe-Charles Adam at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, December 17, 2021.

McDonough spoke about the three symbols of Christmas and was the master of ceremonies for the evening. His commentary was interspersed with Hilty’s music and the LDS Church Christmas video featuring the birth of Christ and the visitation of the shepherds.

Although traditional dance troupes did not participate this year, there was no shortage of the show. The backdrop included choir members holding flickering lights, snow falling inside, and decor that looked like a castle laden with Christmas greenery and several Christmas trees.

Because it was not open to the public, there were only about 4,000 guests in the 21,000-seat auditorium, with face masks and social distancing.

The concert begins with several medieval and English carols on stage at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, December 17, 2021. The songs include a special arrangement of “The Holly and Ivy” by Mack Wilberg, Music Director of the Tabernacle Choir. on the Place du Temple.

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