In lieu of a new holiday concert, the annual Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir is, this year at least, now a 20-year retrospective program highlighting some of the most memorable performances from the past two decades, narrated by Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. 20 Years of Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir aired on PBS December 13 at 8 PM ET—revisit the stream at PBS.org.
Normally, the Christmas concert is performed live and filmed over three nights at Salt Lake City’s Conference Center located at Temple Square and then that concert is broadcast on PBS and BYUtv the following year. So, the 2019 concert, featuring Tony winner Kelli O'Hara and Tony nominee Richard Thomas, aired on television in December 2020. However, due to the pandemic, there was no live concert in 2020, so music director Dr. Mack Wilberg and his tabernacle team created the retrospective to run this year. (They even had so much great material to include that they requested an additional hour from PBS for this year's special.)
The choir also turned to long-time guest Brian Stokes Mitchell—who made his first appearance with the choir in 2008— to narrate the special. Mitchell traveled to Salt Lake City and performs with Wilberg on piano and a few members of the orchestra. In addition to the new performances and storytelling from Mitchell, the 20th anniversary special features some behind-the scenes views and highlights from past concerts, including appearances from Broadway stars including Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Kelli O’Hara, Santino Fontana, and Laura Osnes, as well as performers from the opera and pop worlds such as Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming, Alfie Boe, Gladys Knight, and Natalie Cole. There's even an appearance from The Muppets.
At a recent luncheon at Feinstein's/54 Below in NYC, the Tabernacle Choir further showed their relationship with the Broadway community by presenting a $100,000 donation to The Actors Fund. Mitchell, who serves as Chairman of The Actors Fund, was on hand to accept (and, naturally, broke out in song to express his gratitude).
20 Years of Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir also aired on BYUtv on December 16 at 9 PM ET; both networks will re-air the special prior to Christmas.