With its festive lighting and Christ-oriented displays, the Christmas season on Temple Square will be distinctive again this year. It will be a time for happiness and contemplation – and a time for music!

Beginning Saturday, November 29 (Temple Square lights will be turned on November 28) and running through Tuesday, December 23, choral and musical groups will present carols and songs of the season.

Tuesdays through Sundays in the Assembly Hall, performances will occur at 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 p.m., as well at the South Visitors’ Center at 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Church Office Building lobby and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, high school choirs will sing at 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. Additionally, other Christmas performances in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building lobby will take place at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays

Choral and musical groups performing include: high school and collegiate student choruses, ensembles and madrigals from throughout Utah and Idaho; children’ choruses, community choral groups and other musical groups.

Children, in the care of their parents, are welcome at the Christmas-season concerts. A detailed schedule of the Christmas performances, including site location and times, is available at Temple Square information booths and hostess desks.

In addition to the above-mentioned Christmas performances, the following major concerts, unless otherwise noted, all begin at 7;30 p.m:

Friday, December 5: The Salt Lake Symphony, under the direction of James Michael Caswell, will perform in the Tabernacle Rebikov’s The Christmas Tree Suite, Op. 12; Rimsky-Korsakoff’s The Snow Maiden Suite; and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, No. 1, Op. 71. (Tickets are required. For free tickets, call 801-240-0080.)

Saturday, December 6: Special Christmas concert for families and children, “O Come Little Children,” featuring Enoch Train and the International Children’s Choir, at 7:00 p.m. in the Bountiful Regional Center, 835 N. 400 E., North Salt Lake. The one-hour magical Christmas celebration includes singing, dancing, humor, drama, audience participation, and visual spectacle. (Complimentary tickets for this specific event can be obtained at: 801-355-1771.)

Saturday, December 6: The Orchestra and Chorus of Sandy City, with soprano Heidi Bloyer Slagle, tenor Kenneth L. Shelley, and bass Robert Brandt, will present the following Christmas program in the Tabernacle: Jesus, Once of Humble Birth by Cameron Rose; The Adoration of the Magi, from Three Botticelli Pictures by Respighi; and A Christmas Cantata by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Conductor for the evening’s performance will be Joel Rosenberg, with Cameron Rose as chorus master. (Tickets are required. For free tickets, call 801-240-0080.)

Sunday, December 7: The First Presidency Christmas Devotional will be held in the Conference Center at 6:00 p.m. (Tickets are required.)

Thursday, December 11; Friday, December 12; and Saturday, December 13: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concerts, with the Orchestra at Temple Square, will be held in the Conference Center at 7:30 p.m. (Tickets are required.)

Sunday, December 21: The National Tongan American Society’s Po Hiva Kilisimasi will be presented in the Tabernacle in the Tongan language. Participating choirs will be from the Free Weslyan Church of Tonga in Utah; LDS Tongan North Stake and South Stake; Seventh Day Adventists; Tokaikolo and West Valley United Methodists; and United Methodists. Narrators will be from the above congregations, as well as from the Bahai Faith and the Salt Lake Catholic congregations. Holiday remarks will be given by Tonga’s Consulate General to the United States, San Francisco office. (Tickets are required. For free tickets, call 801-240-0080.)

Wednesday, December 31: Temple Square’s annual First Night Gala will joyously close out 2003 and welcome 2004 with the following events:

Concert-level performances begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Assembly Hall and continue throughout the evening (no tickets or buttons needed).

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., a variety of performers will entertain audiences of all ages throughout the entire evening in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (no tickets or buttons needed).

Two special performances of Savior of the World will be held in the Conference Center Theater at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (Tickets are required and cost $8.00 per person. Call 801-240-0080 for tickets.)

A special concert for youth, “The First Night of the Best Year of Your Life,” hosted by John Bytheway, will be held in the Tabernacle. The concert, which begins at 9:00 p.m., will feature popular LDS performers: Peter Breinholt, Kenneth Cope, Julie de Azevedo, Eclipse, Nancy Hanson, John Schmidt, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, Hilary Weeks, and others. (Tickets are required. For free tickets, call 801-240-0080.)