Every year, several couples from our neighborhood work hard to secure reservations and obtain concert tickets. Then, on the agreed evening, they come up to The Roof Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for its excellent buffet dinner and its magnificent view of the Salt Lake Temple, followed by walking through some of the spectacular Christmas decorations on and around Temple Square before and after attending the annual Christmas concert by the Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square and the guest artist or artists for that year. Some stay overnight in a hotel near Temple Square.
Tonight was our night. Some of our general group are off on missions right now (e.g, in Berlin, Germany, and Accra, Ghana), but one couple who were serving last year in Oslo, Norway, were back and with us this evening.
It’s a great tradition, something that we look forward to every December.
President Russell M. Nelson was there tonight, as were President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Kristen. It’s always moving to me at such events as this how everybody will be jabbering away prior to the start of the program — the Conference Center seats 21,000, and it was filled to capacity — and then, within seconds of somebody noticing that the Prophet has entered the hall, the entire audience is on its feet in total silence until he has made his way to his seat, waved, and sat down.
The guest this year is Kristin Chenoweth, who performed on Thursday night and tonight, and who will perform again on Saturday night and then, I’m guessing, live with the Tabernacle Choir on its Sunday morning radio and television broadcast. (That, at least, is the common pattern with the guest performers at the Christmas concert, although I think that there has been at least one exception to the rule.)
She is a spectacular performer, with a great voice as well as enormous charm and humor and lots of personality. The audience loved her, giving her standing ovations early on in the program as well as at the end. It helps that she comes across as a genuine Christian believer.
As always for these programs, the interior of the Conference Center was beautifully decorated. (Alas. I have no photographs of it.) But I think that the decorations this year were the best that I’ve seen, with great variety and a multitude of bright and ever-changing colors.
As it has for years, tonight’s program closed with absolutely everybody — the Choir, the Orchestra, the Bells at Temple Square, the Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble, all the dancers, and Ms. Chenoweth — joining in Mack Wilberg’s grand arrangement of the French carol “Angels from the Realms of Glory.” This is a rousing way to end, and it always brings the audience to its feet.
Posted from Salt Lake City, Utah