News Story

Natalie Cole and David McCullough to Perform in Annual Christmas Concert The Wondrous Gift of Christmas

Singer, songwriter and performer Natalie Cole and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough will join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for their annual Christmas concerts, titled The Wondrous Gift of Christmas. Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy will conduct the concerts.

The concerts will be presented in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Thursday, 10 December, at 8 p.m. and Friday, 11 December, and Saturday, 12 December, both at 7:30 p.m. The weekly half-hour CBS radio broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday, 13 December, at 9:30 a.m. in the Conference Center will also feature both guest performers. This will be followed by additional music from the previous performances in a mini-concert.

Vocalist Natalie Cole first sang on her father Nat “King” Cole’s Christmas album at the age of 6 and began performing at age 11. This was the start of a tremendous singing career, which reached full bloom with the best- selling 1991 album Unforgettable: With Love, a tribute to her father.  Following successful kidney transplant surgery in May, Ms. Cole returned to the stage this fall beginning at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. This eight-time Grammy Award winner has built a strong repertoire on a variety of songs mainly in the jazz and blues style. She has worked hard to make her own songs legendary, not only those sung originally by her father but also songs by other artists such as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Sammy Davis Jr.

David McCullough is the two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, among many other awards that have followed his successful writing career. McCullough received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award that can be bestowed on a civilian, in December 2006. Also noted for his reputable narrating and lecturing talents, he has earned praise for his work narrating several television shows and documentaries. Librarian of Congress James Billington called him the “Citizen Chronicler” for his extensive research and work that brings people and events in America’s past to life.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to have Ms. Cole and Mr. McCullough performing with us,” said Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “You take Natalie Cole’s wonderful singing voice and David McCullough’s tremendous talent for narration, add them to the choir, orchestra and bells and you end up with an unforgettable evening celebrating the Savior’s birth. We are all very excited about these upcoming performances.

Random Ticket-Selection Process

Free tickets for these concerts and the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast are required. Because of very high demand for tickets to this event in past years, tickets are distributed through a random selection process.

Those interested may register on the Internet at for the opportunity to receive tickets from Saturday, 17 October 2009, at 12:01 a.m. through Monday, 26 October 2009 at 11:59 p.m. Those without Internet access may register over the phone at (801)- 570-0080 (local) or at 1-866-537-8457 (toll free). All registrations received during those two weeks will have equal chances at receiving tickets in the random selection process.

Not all registrations will be selected to receive tickets, and only one registration per household can be accepted. The maximum number of tickets that a household may request is four.  Tickets will be mailed to those selected shortly after the registration process closes. Persons not selected to receive tickets will be notified by e-mail.

Standby tickets for those without tickets will not be issued.  However, patrons are invited to stand by for last-minute seating each evening and on Sunday morning for the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast.  The standby line will form at the North Gate on Temple Square at 6 p.m. for the evening performances and at 7:30 a.m. for the Sunday broadcast.

The doors of the Conference Center will open at 7 p.m. for the 10 December performance, at 6 p.m. for the 11–12 December performances and at 8 a.m. for the 13 December broadcast.  The length of the evening performance will be approximately 90 minutes.  The broadcast and mini-concert on Sunday should last roughly an hour.  Seating is limited to those 8 years of age and older. Given the increase in traffic due to other scheduled downtown holiday events, guests are asked to allow extra time for travel and parking in order to be seated 30 minutes before the performance begins.

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