Cole, Choir combine to celebrate 'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 23 2010 7:00 a.m. MST

Before David Archuleta takes the stage at the LDS Conference Center in December, fans of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concert can re-live last year's event.

The 2009 concerts featured famous singer Natalie Cole, whose performance with the choir is captured on "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

The album has a diverse 14-track arrangement, featuring everything from the modern "Grown-Up Christmas List" to music from Handel's "Messiah."

The CD opens with the processional "Come, O Come," composed by choir director Mack Wilberg, which incorporates elements from the traditional hymn "O Come, All Ye Faithful."

Cole's voice makes its first appearance on the title track. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is one of three numbers that bring together the nine-time Grammy award winner and the iconic choir. They also perform together on "Caroling, Caroling" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Cole is on her own for three songs, including a performance of "Grown-up Christmas List," a David Foster song that she was the first to record back in 1990. This time she performs to the backdrop of the Orchestra at Temple Square.

The choir provides plenty of classic offerings, including a performance of the tradition-rich "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and a stirring rendition of "O Holy Night." Those numbers are followed by a memorable performance of "The Holly and the Ivy" by Cole and the orchestra.

Christmas bells and a children's choir complement the choir and orchestra on several numbers.

"I really think we are here to honor our Lord Jesus Christ," Cole said at a news conference prior to the concerts. "He will be definitely honored, and I'm sure he's pleased. It's so nice to take the 'I' out of it and make it a team effort."

A DVD version of the performance is also available and features the narration of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough.

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