These talented people were such a joy to work with. The choir was sworn to secrecy about the songs and magic involved with the actual program until after the show was finished, and boy was it hard not to spill the beans about how excited we were to have them come. We worked long and hard to perfect our background vocals to some of the iconic songs we knew the Muppet characters would be singing, but we did not know exactly what their parts were anyway. Turns out that our directors kept a lot of information from us so that there would be no possibility of leaking info too soon. They like the choir to be as surprised as the audience on that first show!
When it all came together, we were delighted by the Muppets, the Music, and the Mayhem! The characters were a bit unpredictable! They told different jokes every night! (We were worried about the jokes and jabber fitting over the underscoring.) It will be interesting to see the final cut of the PBS Special next Christmas. Who knows how much editing will take place to fit our hour and 40 minute show into the allotted slot for television?
My favorite parts of the show, however, were when we were joined by the wonderful dancers! Many of the dancers could do such acrobatic tricks. And some of them were tiny little kids not more than 5 or 6 years old! They came out skipping, and twirling and tumbling all across the stage areas and aisles in the cutest costumes. They were fantastic. I just hope the video captures the joy of these beautiful dancers. They even got to sing on a featured part of the song "Sing," a Sesame Street signature. Their tiny voices combined with the guest artists and then boosted by the big sound of the choir was a glorious moment in the show.
Another tender moment of the show was when Santino Fontana talked to the audience and invited all of the children between the ages of 5-10 who were attending to stand up and yell "Merry Christmas." One little voice couldn't wait for the count of "three" and blurted out "Merry Christmas" early. That tiny little voice had so much enthusiasm, it melted the audience. So cute! But Santino said, "Oh, I love that enthusiasm, but now let's try it again with everybody on the count of three---1---2---3---"MERRY CHRISTMAS!" The sound of all the little voices in that immense Conference Center was magical! And then Santino invited all the other people "who felt like 5-year-olds" to join them. When the entire Conference Center yelled out "Merry Christmas!" the joy and happiness was deafening! Santino, ever the storyteller, announced that that "Merry Christmas" was going to be his new ringtone for the season. How fun!
The video won't be out until next Christmas, but you are able to see highlights of the show by visiting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir YouTube Channel. Merry Christmas everyone and remember to "Keep Christmas With You All Through the Year!"
Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Santino Fontana and the Sesame Street Muppets