The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra and Temple Square continue holiday tradition
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square have announced their guest artists for their annual Christmas concerts. Broadway star Santino Fontana and the “Sesame Street” Muppets™ will join the choir for several concerts in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on 11, 12 and 13 December 2014. The artists will also appear on the weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast and mini-concert on Sunday, 14 December.
Fontana is known by many for his recent roles playing Prince Hans in Disney’s hit movie “Frozen” and his Broadway performance as Prince Topher in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” which garnered him a Tony Award nomination. He is no stranger to the choir following his popular Pioneer Day performances in July.
Fontana said, “I’m thrilled to get to sing with the amazing Mack Wilberg and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir again, and to share the stage with my childhood heroes.”
Taking the stage with Fontana, and in a first for the choir, the beloved “Sesame Street” Muppets™ will be bringing the holiday spirit to audiences young and old.
“This year’s concert is going to be unlike any other,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “Joining Santino’s talents with the residents of Sesame Street will bring the childlike wonder of Christmas into our hearts and remind us of the true meaning of the season.”
The announcement was made by popular “Sesame Street” character Elmo, but exactly which of his friends will be joining him and the choir will be revealed weekly on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir website.
“Everyone has their favorite ‘Sesame Street’ character,” said Jarrett. “And many of them will be participating in the concert.”
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries with lessons that help them grow smarter, stronger and kinder. “Sesame Street” launched its 45th anniversary season this year on PBS KIDS and has been nominated for 28 Primetime Emmys and has won eight. “Sesame Street” also holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards, with 159, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in its 40th year.
“Music has been a part of the fabric of ‘Sesame Street’ since the very beginning,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, senior vice president of content and executive producer of “Sesame Street.” “We are thrilled to be a part of this annual PBS holiday tradition and excited to sing with the world-renowned choir.”
The Christmas concert is recorded every year and is broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network.
Santino Fontana also received the 2010 Drama Desk Award for his role in “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and received accolades for originating the role of Tony in the Broadway production of “Billy Elliot.”
Tickets to the free Christmas concert performances are in demand, and because “Sesame Street” is joining the show, seating this year is available for those five years of age or older.
“We are always delighted by the response of the community to these concerts,” said music director Mack Wilberg. “It’s the reason why we make this extraordinary event available year after year.”
Complimentary tickets (limit of four per household) are required and will be distributed through a random selection process. Patrons may register online at lds.org/events from Saturday, 18 October, at 12:01 a.m., through Monday, 27 October, at 11:59 p.m. Those without Internet access can register over the phone at 801-570-0080 or 1-866-LDS-TIKS Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Grammy Award-winning, all-volunteer Mormon Tabernacle Choir is made up of 360 men and women. They are accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square, comprised of 150 volunteers. Their world-famous sound is under the direction of music director Mack Wilberg and associate music director Ryan Murphy. The Choir has appeared at 13 world’s fairs and expositions, performed at six U.S. presidential inaugurals, and sung for numerous worldwide telecasts and special events. “Music and the Spoken Word,” the oldest continuing radio network broadcast, is a weekly tradition now in its 86th year.