Near the beginning of this concert, two singers (the BYU Men's Chorus presidents) stepped forward to tick off statistics about the group.
They have a combined weight of more than 16 tons.A combined 300 years of LDS missionary work.
And if you knotted their neckties together, you could fashion an "escape rope" that stretched a full 80 stories.
But then this 240-voice chorus is impressive in just about anything it chooses to do.
And Tuesday night at Abravanel Hall, director Mack Wilberg chose to put on quite a show.
As the Men's Chorus has gained a national following, Wilberg has worked to maintain a high-minded integrity to the music while broadening the base of the group's popular appeal. The result, in concert, has been a little more "Mariah" and a little less "Ave Maria." More "Down in the Valley," less "Though I Walk Through the Valley," until what has emerged is a very visual, foot-tapping performance that would play well at both the LDS Tabernacle and a presidential inauguration.
It is the same trip into the mainstream the Tabernacle Choir made many years ago. And one suspects Wilberg has taken some cues from them, as well as popular men's groups such as the Turtle Creek Chorale, which contracts with Wilberg for arrangements.
On Tuesday, for instance, after opening with three strong religious numbers, including Wilberg's own version of "The King of Love My Shepherd Is," the chorus quickly moved into modern secular music and a full array of show tunes.
Billed as "Broadway Buddies," the songs from "Oliver" ("Be Back Soon") "Finian's Rainbow" ("Look to the Rainbow") and "Big River" ("Do You Want to Go to Heaven") were fun, difficult and not the standard show-stoppers that less confident performers tend to embrace.
After intermission and two more liturgical pieces ("Praise Him" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,") the chorus brought the evening home with a slate of nine folk songs. The capper, of course, was the Nigerian "Betelehemu," a rhythmic song in dialect that has become the group's traditional closing number, just as "Brothers, Sing Out!" will always be used to open.
After one encore, members of the chorus marched away - leaving their latest CD, "Awake, My Soul" in their wake for eager fans.
It's hard to imagine a finer concert.
Unless, of course, one imagines a second concert immediately after this one, featuring "Lead Kingly Light," "Redeemer of Israel," "The Spirit of God" and all those sacred anthems that paved the way.