Broadway singer and actress Lea Salonga will be the featured guest artist during The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s tour stop in the Philippines in February 2024, choir officials announced Wednesday, Dec. 20, on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Salonga previously performed with the choir and orchestra during the 2022 Christmas concert: “Season of Light: Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.”
“It was a delight to have Lea Salonga share her extraordinary talents at our Christmas concert last year in Salt Lake City. It is an honor for the choir to go to Lea’s home country to perform with her again and experience the kindness of the Filipino people,” said Mack Wilberg, music director of the choir, stated in the news release.
During the concert she sang Wilberg’s arrangement of “Payapang Daigdid” — a Filipino song that translates to “Peaceful World” and can be considered a counterpart to “Silent Night.”
Of performing with the choir and orchestra, Salonga said, “It is quite something to be surrounded by that sound and being onstage just maybe a few feet downstage of the most downstage person in the choir and to be enveloped by that sound.”
The 2022 Christmas concert will be broadcast locally in the Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 24. It is also available in the U.S. for viewing and streaming on PBS and BYUtv.
Salonga, who was named a “Disney Legend,” is the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from “Aladdin” and Fa Mulan for “Mulan” and “Mulan II” and won a Tony Award for her role in “Miss Saigon.”
She has also served as a judge on the Philippines hit version of “The Voice,” including the “The Voice Kids.” She’s an avid techie and gamer and divides her time between Manila, Philippines, with her family and the United States.
‘Hope’ tour 2024 in the Philippines
This is the second stop on the choir and orchestra’s multiyear world tour of “Hope” and their first visit to the Philippines. The tour stop to the Philippines was announced on Oct. 13.
The first stop on the “Hope” tour was in Mexico City in June 2023. There, local radio host Mariano Osorio and guest artist singers Adassa, who voiced Dolores in Disney’s “Encanto,” and Alex Melecio and shared messages and songs of hope during the performances in the nearly 10,000-seat National Cathedral in Mexico City. Both Adassa and Melecio sang and spoke in Spanish, and the choir also sang several songs in Spanish, including an encore of “Cielito Lindo,” to which many in the audience sang along.
One of the concerts was livestreamed on YouTube and many gathered in meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the country to watch it. It was available for on-demand viewing for a limited time after the concert.
The tour to the Philippines will be Feb. 20-29 and feature Salonga and the choir and orchestra performing a repertoire that reflects the musicality of the country. The concerts will be under the direction of Wilberg and associate music director Ryan Murphy.
The Church has more than 800,000 members in nearly 1,300 congregations in the country.
Internationally, the Philippines has one of the highest viewerships of the choir’s weekly “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast, according to the news release.
The Church’s Philippines Area Facebook page noted that the Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 concerts will be in the SM Mall of Asia Arena, which can seat up to 20,000 people.
Over the next four years, the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra will travel twice a year to different parts of the world as part of the “Hope” tour, according to the news release.
Choir President Michael O. Leavitt said, “Our goal is to magnify the choir’s impact throughout the world by helping people feel God’s love for His children. Our performances will be free. Many will be livestreamed so local congregations in the regions we visit can invite their friends and communities to participate.”
International guest artists from the Philippines
This year, two singers from the Philippines joined the Tabernacle Choir during general conference as global participants. They had a multistep application process that mirrored the choir’s application process for those who live within 100 miles of Salt Lake City.
Ronald Baa and Sundae Mae Indino were two of 10 international members of the choir in the April 2023 general conference. Indino returned as a guest participant in the choir for the October 2023 general conference.