Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Relive the Christmas Magic with the Muppets® from Sesame Street® and Santino Fontana

Christmas may belong to December but who doesn’t love the songs and celebrations all year long! The newest CD and DVD release from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square—Keep Christmas with You—is filled with the magic and joy of the season. And its star-studded cast is one you will love to watch again:  Broadway leading man Santino Fontana, Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and their friends from Sesame Street®, over 100 dancers, the Bells on Temple Square, the Orchestra at Temple Square and of course, the Choir. 

If you weren’t able to see the live concert, these recordings are a MUST on your Christmas list. And if even if you were lucky enough to be there in person, all the more reason to want to relive the moments. 

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Working Together: Santino Fontana and the Muppets® from Sesame Street® 

Many people grew up watching Sesame Street, but how many can say they made friends with the characters? Santino Fontana can!

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Rolling on the Floor with the Puppeteers from Sesame Workshop®

This video will make your day! During the rehearsals of last year’s Christmas concert with Santino Fontana and the Muppets® from Sesame Street®, we captured area footage of the Sesame Street® puppeteers getting to different points under the stage by using what they refer to as “rollies.” Rollies are small round cushions with wheels that help them maneuver in small spaces.

Eric Jacobson, who plays Grover and Bert, said, “For me, I’m running from one side of the stage to the other, and I have less than two minutes to get to my next position and perform a different character. I run from doing Grover to doing Bert, and Jason [another puppeteer] has Bert ready for me, holding it sort of like a football for a handoff.”

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New Choir Hosts to Welcome Guests to the Broadcast

Visiting Music and the Spoken Word in person in the Tabernacle or the Conference Center? When you do, come early so that you can hear from our hosts before the broadcast begins. Some new hosts will be at the microphone and they come with special credentials. They are members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

Currently three long-time hosts—Mark Eubank, Ruth Todd, and Kent Norton—welcome the audience prior to the broadcast giving interesting facts, history and glimpses into the Choir experience. They will continue in the rotation and twelve new faces will join them, two at a time, dressed in Choir wardrobe and sharing some of their personal experiences. The new hosts from the Choir include Rachel Swift, Rebekah Ellsworth, Sheila Sconiers, Kristen Olsen, Nate Brown, Kevin Gunnell, Bradd Poffenberger, Eric Huntsman, Dan Taylor, George Garwood, Luke Howard, and Jonathan Gochberg.

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Watch "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys Performed with Handbells

When the Beach Boys wrote the song “Good Vibrations,” they probably never imagined it would someday be performed with handbells in the Salt Lake Tabernacle—yet the Bells on Temple Square have turned that unimagined possibility into a reality with their latest video.

The Beach Boys were formed in California in 1961 and consisted of brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and their friend Al Jardine. Popular for their “California Sound” and unmistakable vocal harmonies, the Beach Boys are regarded as one of the most influential and iconic American bands.

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Why Are Quilts and Blankets Placed on Tabernacle Benches During Recording?

Microphones? Check. Headphones? Check. Audio Engineers? Check. Blankets and Quilts? Umm…can you run that by me again? As strange as it may sound, quilts and blankets are used to cover the benches in the Salt Lake Tabernacle to maximize the sound by preventing too much echo and reverberation.

"The quilts are like an audience — but with no coughing and talking. . . . The engineers didn't like what they call a 'swimmy' sound, so we put the quilts out to absorb some of the sound, and the quality becomes crisper, cleaner,” said the Choir general manager, Scott Barrick. He added humorously, “And probably only with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir could we send out an e-mail in the morning and have every member show up with a quilt that night."

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The 12 Days of Christmas “Name That Tune” Contest
(Day 1)

How would you like to win some awesome prizes for your musical knowledge? Here’s how you can do it:

Over the next few weeks (about every two days) we will be posting videos for each musical phrase of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” In each video, principal organist Richard Elliott explains his “Twelve Days of Christmas” collaboration with Count von Count and shows a clip of the music. Your job is to guess the name of the counter-melody underneath the melody of the actual song.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Keep Christmas With You, Featuring Santino Fontana and the Muppets® from Sesame Street® 

In this one-of-a-kind video, music director, Mack Wilberg, and associate director, Ryan Murphy, take you through an in-depth look at Keep Christmas With You. Recorded during the Christmas concerts in December 2014, a unique combination of talent came together to make a truly memorable album.

Santino Fontana, who voiced Frozen’s Prince Hans, brought his strong vocals to the 22,000 seat Conference Center, singing songs such as “The Candy Man/Pocketful of Miracles,” “Some Children See Him,” and more. The Muppets® from Sesame Street® were searching for the true meaning of Christmas, while Cookie Monster searched for “Cooookiiies!” The adorable Sesame Street® gang performed many memorable songs such as “Keep Christmas With You (All Through the Year),” “Everyone Who Likes Christmas,” and a “Sesame Street Medley.”

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Watch the Singing With Angels Movie Trailer

In the spring of 2016 the first feature-length movie ever to feature the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be released in theaters. The movie, Singing With Angels, is produced by Candlelight Media and is inspired by true events. The film follows the journey of a woman who dreams of joining the 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir and draws strength from it through life's challenges.

The trailer starts off with the main character’s voice saying, “Every Sunday 360 voices come together to sing, to praise, to inspire—to become one of those voices, well, it’s hard, but it’s worth it.” Filming took place in locations such as the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Temple Square, Abravanel Hall, West Valley City, Lehi, Orem, and other locations in Utah. The filmmakers also filmed scenes in Saratoga Springs, New York, during the Choir’s Atlantic Coast Tour.

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“Celebrate with Joy” at Bells Concert November 20-21

Ring in the 2015 holiday season with the annual concert of the Bells on Temple Square, “Celebrate with Joy.” The concerts, in the Tabernacle, will be presented on two nights, Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. 

The bell concerts are always warmly received and tickets go fast.  You won’t want to miss the chance to request tickets, so mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 3 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

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