9. The Muppets® from Sesame Street® (2014)
Photo by Jeffrey Allred, courtesy of Deseret News
Of all the guests at the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas concert, the Muppets® from Sesame Street® were perhaps among the most whimsical—and the most unexpected. Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, and crew have been entertaining millions of children around the country for several decades.
Among the Christmas concert highlights with the Muppets® from Sesame Street®, the Count performed a delightful rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with organist Richard Elliott, and at one point Big Bird even conducted the choir. Here’s what some of the puppeteers had to say about their experience. “Conducting the orchestra and the choir as Big Bird is a thrill every night,” Big Bird puppeteer Matt Vogel said. “I can’t believe that they would let just me come up in a Big Bird suit and conduct this grand orchestra and this remarkable choir.”
Abby Cadabby puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph recalled the feeling that performing with the choir produced for her. “What surprised me about being in the experience was the way I felt inside, hearing the voices and feeling them in my heart.” She continued, “Every once in a while, I get [overwhelmed] when I hear the strings come alive and the music come alive and everybody blending together. I wasn’t really prepared for that type of feeling or emotion, that magic.” Sesame Street® executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente shared on behalf of the cast, “At Sesame, we always are proud of sort of this high bar we have toward excellence, and to work with another organization that has an even higher bar than we do has been a joy and a privilege.”
In Keep Christmas with You, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square join the Muppets® from Sesame Street® and guest vocalist Santino Fontana (the voice of Prince Hans in the popular Disney movie Frozen) in a celebration of the spirit of Christmas. Fontana makes his entrance on this beautifully produced show in a hot air balloon surrounded by large toy airplanes that drop from the ceiling as the Choir opens with the number "The Candyman/Pocketful of Miracles."
Other standout moments are a duet with the Count and the Choir's organist, Richard Elliott, to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," a medley of songs from Sesame Street® as well as the popular "Keep Christmas With You," and hilarious hijinks and banter from the Muppets® from Sesame Street® throughout the show. This show is a world-class performance perfect for all ages as you celebrate the Christmas holiday.
This year, check out the book based on the 2016 Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. The Little Match Girl tells the story of a young homeless girl who sells matches to passersby. Helpless and cold, the child seeks a bit of comfort from the only source she has—the bundle of matches in her apron pocket. She had struggled all day to sell even one, but the crowds of people had only hurried past her with hardly a glance as they finished up their holiday shopping and rushed home to begin their feasts. Alas, at least she has the matches now, each one holding the promise of a few short seconds of warmth and light.
But as she strikes each match, she discovers a truth that sets her heart soaring—all along, even in times when she has felt most alone, she has been lovingly watched over by those who have gone before her and have anxiously awaited a joyous reunion. She learns she is not forgotten, and in the learning shares a poignant message of love and service. The tender tale of the little match girl reminds each of us to take notice of the least of those among us and to do our part to extend a kindly hand—at Christmastime and always.