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The story behind the The Piano Guys' Christmas Mormon Channel video

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6 2012 2:30 p.m. MST

A screenshot of the new Bible Video on the Mormon Channel, "O Come, Emmanuel," featuring The Piano Guys.

Mormon Channel

For each video The Piano Guys have produced, a spectacularly beautiful location is selected. But one location they remember as "incredible, spiritual, powerful."

On Tuesday, the Mormon Channel released to YouTube “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel — Christmas Version,” a unique collaboration between the popular performing group and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For this videotaping, The Piano Guys were allowed to film on the church’s three-acre Goshen, Utah, New Testament movie set, a recreation of ancient Jerusalem built for LDS Church productions.

“It was incredible. All of us were just blown away,” said Paul Anderson, one of the five Piano Guys and the group’s videographer. “Filming on the set was literally the highlight of my career. It was the coolest thing. I felt like I was in Jerusalem, in the Holy Land.”

Viewers of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel — Christmas Version” share the enthusiasm. In only a few days the video has been highly viewed and mention of the performance has been blazing through social media networks.

“Love this!” wrote one admirer. “Thank you for the incredible music and for telling the story in such a beautiful way ... brought tears to my eyes.”

From another fan: “I am nearly speechless at the beauty of this video. I hope it becomes a Christmas classic among all who believe in the mission of Jesus.”

“Espetacular, divino, extraordinário, celestial,” commented another viewer.

LDS Church officials have welcomed the public response, as The Piano Guys have used their success as music performers to become ambassadors for the church and its mission.

“It has been rewarding to read the comments posted on YouTube,” said Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesperson. “Many people are very appreciative of the video and the message of Christ that it shares. It seems to be well-received by a broad audience.”

Acknowledging the uniqueness of the joint endeavor, Trotter explained, “On occasion the church will collaborate on projects with other artists in one way or another. We felt this was a good opportunity to share a memorable message of Jesus Christ through use of existing church resources.” He then added, “The church may undertake similar projects in the future.”

Anderson was reached by phone for an interview with the Deseret News while the group was traveling for TV and radio appearances in New York City. The Piano Guys had completed taping a segment of “CBS This Morning” and an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” was scheduled for the following day.

“We heard about the church’s Jerusalem set, and we all thought it would be so cool to film out there,” Anderson said, explaining the development process of the video.

Piano Guys members began making phone calls and contacting any church representative who they believed might be able to help arrange the location for the shoot.

“Everyone was telling us that it’s impossible,” he explained. “They all said, ‘The church doesn’t allow anyone to film there.' ... We were discouraged and didn’t think it would happen. But we continued. We just felt so strongly about it.”

After weeks of work, they received a phone call they had been waiting for.

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