I’m back! [Almost… still feeling utterly exhausted, but very happy.] It was an amazing whirlwind week filled with long hours of rehearsing, singing, dancing, merriment, costumes, hair, makeup, lights, cameras, sleep deprivation, and lots of emotions.
Christmas Concert week with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is not for the faint of heart, but it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without it!
For all of you who could not attend (and for those who want to relive the splendor) here is a sneak peek of how it all came together, with reactions from our delightful guests – American Broadway/TV star Sutton Foster and British Stage/TV/Film star Hugh Bonneville.
I really loved being a part of this concert. Watching the audience reaction each night made all of the long hours of work and preparation worthwhile.
There were some really fun moments – and lots of “good feels”! 🙂
Jingle All The Way
One of my favorite moments of the entire concert was when our director Mack Wilberg turned around to the audience and announced that for the “first time in – well, as long as I can remember” we were going to have an audience sing-a-long! Oh boy, how the audience LOVED IT! With 21,000 people all trying to sing together in a giant hall things can go off the rails pretty quick, but each night they followed instructions very well! The Choir even provided some fun props and there were some very cool special visual effects (plus snow) to take the audience on their virtual Sleigh Ride! Here is my all-time favorite photo of Mack.
Pipes and Drums
Organist Richard Elliott always comes up with an over-the-top showstopping solo – and this year was no exception. His masterful arrangement of “I Saw Three Ships” included fancy footwork, ringing of a ships bell, and a drum trio routine that made the crowd go wild!
The Dynamo Duo – Foster & Bonneville
Sutton Foster and Hugh Bonneville – besides being incredibly talented artists – are simply the most wonderful, delightful, darling, down-to-earth people on earth.
It was such fun to welcome Sutton and Hugh to our big “home” and into our hearts this week in Salt Lake City. They are part of our forever family now. ♥
The Spafford Family Story
Each year the MoTab Christmas Concert includes an inspiring story which is presented by actors and narration with beautiful costumes and special effects. The narrator this year – of course – was Hugh Bonneville. The story featured the life of Horatio and Anna Spafford who endured crushing tragedy and yet kept their faith, creating a remarkable family legacy of compassionate and charitable service.
This emotional saga is the origin story of Horatio Spafford’s enduring hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”. It is also the origin story of the Spafford Children’s Center in Jerusalem, which continues serving children in crises to this day.
**HELP!** Friends, you have a unique opportunity to become part of the Spafford story, and to create a Christmas Miracle!
I have learned that The Spafford Children’s Center is facing a serious financial crises! A large grant they were counting on to sustain them through 2018 has lost its funding. PLEASE donate anything you can to them right now, and you will be an answer to their urgent prayers! Every dollar is being used to help children in crises in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Your donation will literally help save the Spafford legacy. Donate here.
A little Star Wars…
Yes, there was a Star Wars moment this week. True story. It just so happens that Sutton Foster’s husband, Ted Griffin, is good friends with Rian Johnson, who happens to be the director of a new little movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi, who happened to be celebrating his birthday on Sunday. So, per Ted’s special request – birthday wishes were shared to Rian … Mormon Tabernacle Choir style!
Here’s the official tweet that Ted sent to Rian:
Happy Birthday to #RianJohnson from me, #suttonlfoster, #hughbon and #MoTab! (And watch for this year’s Christmas concert on PBS…at some point.) pic.twitter.com/xR7kqdW2gJ
— Ted Griffin (@TedMGriffin) December 17, 2017
In The End, It’s All About Family
The very first Christmas was a family event, and Christmas continues to be all about family (which is always a little ironic for performers in December when sharing our talents take us away from our families so much). After I finished performing the Sunday morning broadcast (and singing the Star Wars happy birthday, and singing our special God Be With You farewell song to Sutton and Hugh) I rushed home to see 32 wonderful people I love gathered at our house for the annual Family Christmas lunch (Mr. Mo’s side). We even had a brand new baby to cuddle this year – little Scottlyn – our niece’s newest addition. Several family members drove many miles to be at this special gathering.
The pile of shoes at our door, and the laughter & love filling the room warmed my heart. ♥ It officially feels like Christmas! – MoSop