Tom Smart, Deseret News
Mack Wilberg conducts as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir records a new CD May 30 in Salt Lake City.

This weekend marks the end of the Utah Symphony's Deer Valley Music Festival, and the symphony has held its heavy hitters for the end.

This year's final three performances include the Utah Symphony Chorus singing Maurice Durufle's "Requiem" on Wednesday at St. Mary's Church; The Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Deer Valley Resort on Friday; and Gladys Knight on Saturday, also at the resort.

For the final "classical" concert of the season, the Tabernacle Choir will join the symphony in a performance of hymns, psalms and folk songs.

"People love to hear the choir sing the hymns," said Mack Wilberg, recently appointed music director of the Tabernacle Choir and Friday night's guest conductor. This is a program that will bring together "classical elements with some of the other things the choir does well."

These genres may seem like they're not related, Wilberg said. "But the program was designed to show how they are somewhat interrelated to each other."

Divided into sections, the choir will open the evening with three hymns of praise, all arranged by Wilberg, who says that despite added duties as music director he still finds time to write. "I'm still able to do what I need to do," he said. "And I'm fortunate in being able to do that."

"Chichester Psalms," a choral work set in Hebrew by Leonard Bernstein comes next. Written after his Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish," and "West Side Story," the piece has Latin, Jewish and American flavors sprinkled throughout.

It's followed by folk songs from around the world, including the Sephardic wedding song "Ah, El Novio No Quere Dinero!" which Wilberg says creates a nice transition as the theme ties into the Jewish influence on the Bernstein piece.

The second half will feature three psalms — one by Ralph Vaughan Williams and two by Gustav Holst — and four American folk hymns including "Amazing Grace" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which Wilberg said "bring together the folk song and hymn element."

"These are tunes that work well together," Wilberg said. "We just recently recorded an album of American folk hymns and spirituals that will be released next spring, so I tried to select some things that we had recently prepared."

Preparation is something the choir knows a lot about. Having performed at some of the "great outdoor venues in the country," Wilberg said the choir is ready for the concert in Deer Valley. And though sound is always an issue "We are always fortunate to have our own sound folks with us that do a great job in ensuring that everybody can hear and the sound is good."

There's something for everyone at this concert, Wilberg said. "We are doing things that the choir does particularly well. Of the music that we've done over the years, the things that are the most requested are the hymns. And folk music is also high on the list.

"I think that the audience will feel a lot of joy and affirmation," he said.

If you go ...

What: Utah Symphony, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mack Wilberg, guest conductor

Where: Deer Valley Outdoor Amphitheater

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $60 reserved, $30 lawn seating, $80 family pass, $12 students and youths

Phone: 355-2787 or 888-451-2787

Web: www.deervalleymusicfestival.org


E-mail: [email protected]