MoTab and Archuleta swing Christmas | Buzz Blog

MoTab and Archuleta swing Christmas

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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. 

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