A former director of the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir will visit Oklahoma City to direct a 300-voice choir of Oklahomans.
Craig Jessop will be guest conductor of the Oklahoma group for “Joy to the World,” two free Christmas concerts set for Dec. 22 at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City. The concerts are sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Central Oklahoma congregations.
Walter Hobbs, managing director for the concerts, said the challenge in coordinating a mass choir is the rehearsal requirements. He said people in the choir have been rehearsing together since September in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Moore and Norman. Participants from the four areas recently joined for a mass rehearsal in Moore and another is planned Sunday in Oklahoma City.
He said the choir and an accompanying orchestra are mostly made up of Oklahomans who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, representing 44 Mormon congregations across the state. However, Hobbs said the choir was opened to singers from other faith traditions that were willing to learn the music and commit to regular rehearsals. The choir will perform Christmas favorites including “White Christmas,” “O, Come All Ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
“It's been an incredible journey,” Hobbs said Wednesday.
He said he has been impressed with the commitment of the choir's 300 volunteer singers, most of whom are not professionals.
And Hobbs said he and other Mormon church leaders in Oklahoma are thrilled that Jessop agreed to lead the group.
“That is an incredible coup,” Hobbs said.
“It was exactly the kind of seed we need to get people motivated.”
Meanwhile, while the core of the choir is made up of nonprofessionals, several special guests with professional backgrounds will participate in the program. They include soprano Lisa Howard and baritone Anthony Eversole.
Hobbs said while the concert is free, tickets are required for guests age 8 and older.
He said the public is encouraged to obtain tickets as soon as possible.
For those unable able to obtain tickets, Hobbs recommended they show up at the concert anyway because there will be some standby seating available.
Hobbs also said the concert will be aired Dec. 23-25 on KSBI-52.