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A&E Blog

MoTab and Archuleta swing Christmas

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2010-12-19 - Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes and last night's Mormon Tabernacle Choir annual holiday extravangza, the gifts, such as they were, came in the tiniest of gestures by David Archuleta.

 I have never been a great fan of MoTab. For some reason the endless rows of smiling, singing faces - how do they do that? - before the enormous organ pipes reminds me of that Planet of the Apes movie, where radiation-mutated humans prey to a nuclear weapon.

Regardless last night was an utterly professional run through Christmas hymns, with Michael York adding his slightly frayed tones narrating a curiously flat tale of Welshman John Parry, who apparently helped found MoTab. Then there was an extraordinarily over-the-top and poorly executed array of sugar plum fairies and 19th century-dressed figures from the lids of Christmas candy boxes running around the various levels of the stages and the aisles in a dispiriting imitation of a Broadway show.

Besides so much artificiality, Archuleta provided an admirable beacon of sincerity. Nervously gushing about his awe at being there, giving the discretest - and sweetest - little wave to friends or family in the front, he belted out hymns with a voice that cut through the typically staid conference center with admirable clarity, pitch and confidence.

In all that over-production, Archuleta turned out to be the rarest of gifts in a season usually studied with the fake and insincere: something real, tangible and, even for a crusty old cynic like myself, touchingly recalling Christmas' past when carols, sung with feeling, could still stir one's heart. 

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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Posted // December 20,2010 at 22:57

I love this review, and I love a reviewer who admits up front his reservations about attending a MoTab Christmas concert, but nonetheless is honest enough to render a positive review. David Archuleta is a true gem. He dazzles while bringing a refreshing vitality to classic material.


Posted // December 20,2010 at 20:01

Thanks for your review. I look forward to purchasing the concert DVD's/CD's from this year when they become available. Believe me, I would have been thrilled to have been there in person, even if it meant witnessing over-the-top production in spots! David Archuleta makes it all worth it. I have his Christmas CD "Christmas From The Heart" and, yes, he has an amazing ability to deliver even the most familiar carols with an incredible freshness and heartfelt sincerity.


Posted // December 20,2010 at 17:39

David Archuleta's singing on Thursday-Sunday morning with the Motab Choir was unbelievable! His voice was warm, rich & pitch perfect. Love his sweet, humble, shy & enduring demeanor he has! It is unbelievable to me that he is only 19 (will be 20 at the end of December)!!!!


Posted // December 20,2010 at 15:46

Great review!

I've always thought the choir was great but just not up my alley. However, in person, I was impressed. I thought the rest of the program was neat, but without a doubt, the highlight of the night was David Archuleta. He was, in a word--magnificent.

It was an incredible experience because of him. And, he was definitely himself, no artifice there, but so very endearing.

I would have liked to have gone every night so as to see him again and again. Since I couldn't, I went to the simulcast twice besides the concert I saw live. What an unbelievable voice! What a charming, sweet and gentle soul he is.


Posted // December 19,2010 at 23:05

David Archuleta really outdid himself in these performances! He's a wonderful singer indeed.