‘Tis the season for a new Tabernacle Choir special! During the worldwide pandemic of 2020, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square was quiet, and the Conference Center in Salt Lake City was dark and empty. But not entirely. With no public announcement and absolutely no fanfare, Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, a former guest artist with the Choir, came back to remember and relive twenty years of inspiring Christmas concerts.
From opera, gospel, and pop singers to Broadway and cabaret stars; from Shakespearean actors and movie and television stars to journalists, historians, and newscasters, the Choir’s guest artists have provided something for everyone. And as they’ve performed with the Choir and Orchestra, their formidable talents have shone as brightly as ever.
“So much effort and creativity went into preserving this beloved tradition—now 20 years strong—in the middle of a global pandemic that has disrupted so much,” said Brian Stokes Mitchell. “I am honored to be a part of it. Not only will viewers enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce the most-watched holiday special on PBS for 16 years, but they will also be able to feast on all of the wonderful moments this holiday special has delivered over the past two decades and remember how music connects people in very profound ways.”
The 20th anniversary special features appearances from Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Kelli O’Hara, Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes; R&B singer Gladys Knight; the late jazz singer Natalie Cole; pop singer David Archuleta; legendary newscasters Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw; historian David McCullough; the Muppets from Sesame Street; actors Jane Seymour, Hugh Bonneville, Richard Thomas, the late Ed Herrmann, John Rhys-Davies, Roma Downey, the late Peter Graves, Claire Bloom, Michael York, and Martin Jarvis; opera stars Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, Nathan Gunn, Alfie Boe, Sissel, Rolando Villazón, four Metropolitan Opera soloists and the London-based a cappella group The King’s Singers.
In new segments filmed in November 2020 (following COVID protocols), Mitchell joined a handful of socially distanced Orchestra members and the Choir’s music director, Mack Wilberg, in an empty 21,000-seat Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, to record intimate Christmas classics. The Choir also joins Mitchell and the Orchestra in its first-ever all-virtual performance.
The Choir’s special will premiere on Monday, December 13, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. EST on PBS, the PBS website, and the PBS Video app; and on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 9:00 p.m. EST on BYUtv, the BYUtv website, and the free BYUtv app.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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