Hollywood films may have big, multimillion dollar budgets, but “Singing with Angels”, opening Friday, March 11 in 25 theaters in Utah, Idaho and Nevada has something nobody else can boast—the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
This feature film is neither a documentary, nor a concert, but the story of one young mother who tries out and joins the choir and the way that association supports and strengthens her and her family through life’s challenges and heartbreaks.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir president Ron Jarrett said that when Candlelight Media approached him in 2014 about the possibility of creating a movie centered on the choir, he was immediately excited.
He said, “I saw a need to tell the behind-the-scenes story of the choir and the sacrifices people make to be a part of it. Not since Mr. Krueger’s Christmas had the choir been in a movie.”
He received the green light from the First Presidency for the choir to participate.
Though the main character of the movie is fictional, the story is interlaced with truth. That’s because to create the script, director Brian Brough asked if it were possible to send an email to present and some past members asking them to share special experiences that they had with the choir.
They responded with many touching stories, some of which are laced through the movie. Jarrett said, “I was familiar with some of the experiences, many of them so personal you could only share in a private moment.”
One of these experiences resulted in the movie’s title. Many choir members said that they had felt the presence of angels joining them, especially when they had recorded some very difficult Welsh for an earlier album.
Brian Brough said the greatest challenge in working with the script was making sure the choir was showcased enough, while not letting it overpower the story, written by his sister. Brittany Wiscomb.
Logistically, the choir is so busy with performances and Sunday broadcasts, they only had three hours on one night for their filming. “We had to plan that out very carefully,” he said.
Though the choir director and president are fictional and played by actors in the movie, Mormon Tabernacle Choir director, Mack Wilberg selected every choir number and “was extremely careful to select music that he feels puts the choir in their best light.”
So did Jarrett’s excitement find fulfillment? Jarrett said, “The first few times I watched the movie, I watched with a critical eye to make sure everything was how it should be portrayed. Then the night of the premiere, I watched it for the first time as a viewer, just allowing the spirit of the movie to touch me. I laughed and cried.
“The evening of the premiere, people were generally surprised that it was such a beautiful story. People will walk away knowing what it is like to be a choir member, the sacrifices they make and the blessings they get in return.”
The movie is both moving and charming, and the pieces and parts of choir numbers woven through the scenes add to creating a sense that is thoroughly uplifting.
“Singing with Angels” is released by Candlelight Media and stars Sarah Kent, Scott Christopher and Anne Sward. For a list of theaters where it is playing or to request the movie to come to your town go to www.singingwithangelsmovie.com