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Tabernacle Choir Easter Concert Features World Premiere of New Music

In what has become an Easter tradition, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will present concerts on Good Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Music director Mack Wilberg will debut his new work called A Cloud of Witnesses which is inspired by accounts of witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This work follows the Utah premiere last year of The Prodigal, another work by Wilberg based on the scriptural account of Christ’s parable of the prodigal son. As with The Prodigal, Wilberg’s longtime collaborator, David Warner, provides an original text drawing from scriptural references in the King James Version of the Bible. 

The Choir and Orchestra will also perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s beautiful Christ on the Mount of Olives, Op. 85, which was first performed in April 1803 in Vienna, Austria. It was Beethoven’s first major work on a religious subject and his only oratorio. The libretto by Franz Xaver Huber treats the emotional agony of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and His ultimate triumph over death.  The dramatic oratorio features three soloists: a soprano who portrays an angel, a tenor who sings as Jesus, and bass who is the voice of Peter.  

Joining the Choir and Orchestra in these solo roles will be Celena Shafer (soprano), Brian Stucki (tenor), and Tyler Simpson (bass). Both Shafer and Stucki make their homes in Utah and all three singers have sung with the Choir previously. Shafer has sung the Brahms Requiem with the Choir and Orchestra, appeared on several broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word and most recently performed the Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Choir and the Utah Symphony. Stucki performed Messiah with the Choir and Orchestra in 2014 and at Deer Valley with the Choir and Utah Symphony. Simpson, who currently resides in Helsinki, Finland, sang as the bass soloist for Messiah selections on the Choir’s 2015 Christmas concert and will perform the bass solo again when the Choir performs Messiah at Easter in 2018.

Tickets for the concert are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. They are also available through lds.org/events or by phone at 801-570-0080. Each patron may request four tickets and admission is open to those 8 years old and older. Patrons without tickets are encouraged to join the standby line by the flagpole on Temple Square for last-minute seating which is often available.

Composed of 360 volunteer voices, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir serves as a musical ambassador for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Orchestra at Temple Square, a 150-member, all-volunteer symphony orchestra was organized in 1999, to perform and accompany the musical ensembles of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organization. 

Lead image from YouTube
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