“Tabernacle Choir Releases Two Recordings,” Ensign, Dec. 1993, 71
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has recently announced that two recordings, a video recording of selected numbers recorded in Israel and an audio recording in Spanish, are now available.
In a Land Called Israel: the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Celebrates the Life of Christ is a 45-minute video production that celebrates through music the life of Christ, explains Edward J. Payne, director and producer of the recording. While the choir was on tour in Israel in December 1992 through January 1993, they performed special numbers on site at four locations that were significant during the life of Christ—in Shepherds’ Field, at Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives, on the shores of Galilee near the Mount of Beatitudes, and at the Garden Tomb. They also filmed a musical number at the Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Interspersed between the five musical numbers is additional footage of the Holy Land countryside and narration about the life of Christ.
“We wanted to produce a project that said something special about the area where the choir was touring,” explained Wendell Smoot, choir president. “We also wanted people to recognize and know that we, as Latter-day Saints, are Christian, and we have a unique feeling and approach to the Savior’s life. He is the center of all that we do and believe.”
It was not easy to obtain permission for the three-hundred-plus-member choir to perform at the different locations. All are privately owned, and there are inspiring stories behind each of the site filmings, Brother Payne said.
“We had a fascinating experience at Shepherd’s Field. A friar who belonged to the order of monks on the property came out to welcome us and listen. Dressed in long brown robes and speaking with a heavy Brooklyn accent, he told the choir that he’d always wondered what it must have been like to be a shepherd and hear the angels sing on the night Christ was born. ‘I think I heard them today,’ he told the group.”
The video recording is available in Church distribution centers and LDS bookstores.
Cielito Lindo is a rerelease of a recording the choir made while performing in Mexico City in 1972. “For a long time, people who live in Spanish-speaking areas have wanted an album in their native tongue,” explained Brother Smoot. “This is the only recording in that language the choir has done.”
Originally recorded and released twenty-one years ago, Cielito Lindo consists of thirteen numbers, including several Church hymns.