Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I got to go see the Music and the Music and the Spoken Word version of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir with Natalie Cole and David McCullough. AS always, perhaps some of the best parts of the event were the parts that were not broadcast.

In 2003 The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square put on a Christmas concert, as a gift to the community. PBS picked up the recording of the event, and broadcast it at Christmastime of 2004. This has been repeated in the years since...with the 2004 version being broadcast on PBS in 2005, and so forth.

The concert is a 90 minute concert. It's cut down to 60 minutes for the PBS special, and a 30-minute version is performed for Music and the Spoken word. Since we only got to see 30 minutes of a 90 minute concert, they performed a 'mini' concert immediately following the broadcast. At the end of the mini-concert they re-performed the last song from the broadcast. I got online and watched the end of the broadcast today, and I believe that happened...Natalie Cole is supposed to come in at the end of the song. Well the end builds up and builds up and builds up, and then it kind of peaks...and then Natalie Cole comes in...really weak...about 4 measures after the peak, and really weak. If I had to guess, I'd guess they were having Mic problems. I am pretty sure this is why they re-performed the last song, for the PBS special. SO we'll have to see when the CD of the performance comes out (and later the DVD) if that last song features a stronger performance by Natalie Cole. If it does, we'll know they used (or edited in anyway) the version that was /not/ broadcast on Music and the Spoken word.

Speaking of the Microphone, did you know Natalie Cole has a diamond-encrusted Microphone? I thought maybe there were some sequins on it, but I looked up Natalie Cole when I got home, and found a picture of her with the same sparkly microphone. Who knew.

Speaking of Microphones and such...what a production! They had gigantic ornaments flying in and out over the choir, light cues, it was the real deal. What impressed me the most though...there were at least 6 cameras. 1 man roaming around the stage, 3 cameras on hydraullic lifts (The same ones they use for conference) and 2 cameras on what must have been 30' boom poles. Watching the broadcast, I'm amazed...stunned really, at how good a job the cameras do of not catching each other in the shot, because they were all over the place! And as for those boom operators? I'm just glad I am not the one responsible for swinging a 50lb broadcast camera around on the end of a 30' pole near Natalie Cole, David McCullough, and the Orchestra at Temple square!

This is all fluff let's get to the heart of what I came here to say. After the mini-concert was over, they brought 'special guests' Natalie and David on stage to present them with flowers, something in a big frame (I think there was a copy of the program and some photos of the choir, or something along those lines), and tell them thanks. President Monson was in attendance, and he said...not exact words, but something along the lines of "I have chosen 5 of the most important words in the English language this morning. We are proud of you. Thank you." and that was it. Natalie Cole talked for a second. She dropped a lot of names, thanked President Monsion and his people for their extreme hospitality, and talked about how much she loved the last couple of days. David McCullough, on stage with his wife, thanked President Monson for incuding "The Boss" and said that he and his wife had been married for 55 years? this week. Then David McCullough said something really special, I wish I had a recorder to grab the exact words...because I simply did not...but it was something along these lines.

I wish I wish I wish I remember exactly how he set it up, but David McCullough said that at one time an aging John Adams met a young Ralph Waldo Emersen, and he said to him "I would that there be more ambition, that is ambition of the laudable type, ambition to excel." David said that, the past 4 days with "our people" that is what he has felt. An ambition and drive to do better and excel. It was a really sincere and hear-felt complement. What's more, looking for that quote, I have found out that it's one of David McCullough's favorite historical moments...a moment he wishes he was a fly on the wall to experience. David McCullough used his favorite quote to describe us.

Anyway, fantastic performance, great experience, Merry Christmas, onto finals for me.


Bonnie said...

I agree! It was an amazing morning. Overlooking the perfect woman in front of us that kept giving Terrell the 'evil eye'

Ryan said...

She came in way late on one of the other songs too. Either they were having problems with her mic, or she was a little out of it from getting up 'so early'