Holiday choir concert sold out

All 80,000 tickets for the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square Christmas concerts were distributed this year even before it was announced who would share the stage as guest performers. The annual concert program in the Conference Center is perhaps downtown Salt Lake City's major entertainment event during the Christmas season.

Would-be patrons who don't have tickets are encouraged to join stand-by lines for the concerts; no one has been turned away from the annual concert since its venue moved in December 2000 to the Conference Center, according to Scott L. Barrick, general manager of the Tabernacle Choir. "In the event that the Conference Center is filled, there will be overflow seating with big screens and sound in the center's theater and the Tabernacle," Brother Barrick said.

Frederica von Stade, America's acclaimed mezzo-soprano, and Bryn Terfel, the United Kingdom's preeminent Welsh baritone, will share the stage as guest performers for this year's concerts.

"Having two of the world's greatest singers joining the choir and orchestra for our Christmas concerts is absolutely thrilling and a great honor. It is one thing to hear their incredible voices but blending them together with each other and the choir has the makings of an unforgettable evening of musical inspiration," said Craig Jessop, music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The concert will feature Christmas songs and sacred anthems appropriate for the season by the choir, orchestra and guest performers.

Described by the New York Times as "one of America's finest artists and singers," Ms. von Stade has become recognized as one of the most beloved musical figures performing today. She performed with the choir and orchestra during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Mr. Terfel has already won many music awards and was recently named "Artist of the Year" by the BBC Music Magazine. Describing his voice on one of his latest recordings, the London-based Sunday Times called it "as good as it gets today." The Christmas concerts will be presented on Thursday, Dec. 11 (preview performance), Friday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The weekly half-hour CBS network broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 9:30 a.m. in the Conference Center will also feature the guest performers. It will be followed by a mini-concert with additional music from the concert program.

The stand-by line will form at 6 p.m. at the North Gate on Temple Square for the evening performances and at 7:30 a.m. for the Sunday broadcast.

The doors of the Conference Center will open at 6:30 p.m. for the Dec. 11 preview performance and at 6 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday performances, Dec. 12 and 13. The concert program will be approximately 90 minutes. Seating is limited to those 8 years of age and older. Guests are asked to allow extra time for travel and parking in order to be seated 30 minutes before the performance begins.

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