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Tabernacle Choir’s annual Christmas concerts guest artist and host are announced

Kelli O’Hara Provided by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

SALT LAKE CITY — This year’s Temple Square Christmas concert guest artist was announced Friday, bringing concertgoers even closer to the Salt Lake holiday spectacle.

Broadway star Kelli O’Hara will be the guest artist and actor Richard Thomas will be the narrator for this year’s Temple Square Christmas concerts, it was announced Friday.

O’Hara has been nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning 2015’s Best Actress in a Musical when she played Anna in “The King and I.”

“Kelli O’Hara is a tour de force performer whose beautiful and versatile voice will marry perfectly with the concert’s holiday repertoire,” Ron Jarrett, president of the choir, said in a news release. “I also can’t wait to hear Richard Thomas narrate our Christmas story with his signature voice that will take us all back home to Walton’s Mountain.”

The annual concerts, which feature the Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square and Bells on Temple Square, will be Dec. 12-14 this year. It will be the 20th consecutive year the shows have been at Temple Square’s Conference Center. This year’s concerts will also be broadcast on PBS and BYUtv in December 2020.

The Christmas concert series includes a 600-person cast with 360 choir members and about 100 members of the Orchestra at Temple Square and 32 members of the Bells on Temple Square. The performance includes 100 dancers, who perform with the guest artist at the show.

In addition to her Tony Award and seven Tony nominations, O’Hara was also nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in “The Accidental Wolf.” She performed in the Metropolitan Opera in addition to her work on Broadway musicals and has received two Grammy Award nominations.

Meanwhile, Thomas’ most popular role includes his lead in “The Waltons” as budding author John-Boy Walton. He won an Emmy Award for that role and was nominated for another Emmy and two Golden Globe awards. He also starred in Stephen King’s “It” miniseries, and more recently acted in “The Americans.”

Thomas was also nominated for a Tony Award in 2017 for his role in the play “The Little Foxes.”

O’Hara and Thomas will join a long list of celebrities performing in the concert series. Last year, Kristin Chenoweth, who performed as Glinda in “Wicked,” performed with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

A photo of Richard Thomas, who starred as John-Boy Walton in the popular TV series “The Waltons,” and more recently as special agent Frank Gaad in the acclaimed TV series “The Americans.”
A photo of Richard Thomas, who starred as John-Boy Walton in the popular TV series “The Waltons,” and more recently as special agent Frank Gaad in the acclaimed TV series “The Americans.”
Lia Chang

Chenoweth didn’t perform any of her “Wicked” songs, but she did bring her bubbly and cheery attitude to the show, singing popular Christmas tunes, including “O Holy Night” and “We Need a Little Christmas.” The show will be broadcast on PBS stations in December.

Due to the concerts’ popularity, a random ticket selection process will be used this year for the concert. Patrons can register for tickets beginning Oct. 25 at noon Mountain Time until Nov. 3 at midnight. Registrants will have equal chance to get tickets, regardless of when they register within this time frame.

Ticket registration will be on the choir’s website at tabchoir.org/Christmas/tickets. Other tickets will be given away through the Tabernacle Choir’s weekly newsletter and social media accounts.

“Hundreds of thousands of ticket requests are received each year,” according to the choir’s website. “In order to give everyone an equal chance to get tickets, in 2019 the Event Services Ticket Office which distributes tickets for choir events will use a random selection method for ticket distribution.”