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King's Singers meet Salt Lake press

Mack Wilberg arrangements were drawing card for British group

When the King's Singers join with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for the annual Christmas concert, they will be applying their celebrated vocal harmony to the work of arranger and associate choir director Mack Wilberg.

Typically, the group's arrangements are done in-house these days but, apparently, the opportunity to perform Brother Wilberg's arrangements was one of the things that enticed them to come perform at the event.

The concert was scheduled for three nights, Dec. 14-16 and again on Sunday morning, Dec. 17, for the broadcast of the choir's "Music and the Spoken Word." The next issue of the Church News will carry a report of the concert.

The internationally acclaimed six-man a capella vocal group, based in London, England, appeared at a pre-concert news conference with Tabernacle Choir musical director Craig Jessop on Dec. 12.

In introductory remarks, Brother Jessop said his associate, Brother Wilberg, could not be at the news conference because he was at the moment putting finishing touches on "seven brand new arrangements for the King's Singers and the Tabernacle Choir."

Asked how the vocal group would have opportunity to rehearse the arrangements if Brother Wilberg was only then finishing them, King's Singer bass Stephen Connolly clarified that Brother Wilberg was probably finishing the orchestration.

"We've had these (vocal) arrangements since October, I think. They were sent over (via e-mail) PDF-style. I can't remember where we were in the world, but the printers were going mad!"

Added counter-tenor David Hurley: "I got sent the PDF files, and I was at home and started printing the first one. It was something like 35 pages, and then the second one was about the same. And I thought, 'Well, I'm going to have to go out and buy more paper.' And then I started the last one, and it was 70 pages. I had to go out and buy another printer cartridge!"

Brother Jessop noted that for the last three years, Brother Wilberg's published work has been the top seller for Oxford University Press, "probably the most prestigious publishing house of music in all the world."

"So you can understand," Mr. Connolly joked, "when we were first asked to come here we said, 'Sure, we'd love to come; it would be our pleasure. But Mack's got to do all the arranging. We need new ones!"'

E-mail to: rscott@desnews.com