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20 Years of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir

Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell joins the Choir and Orchestra for this two-hour 20th anniversary retrospective
Courtesy of © 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved
Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell joins the Choir and Orchestra for this two-hour 20th anniversary retrospective with performances from Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Gladys Knight, Angela Lansbury, Hugh Bonneville, Renee Fleming and more. November 2020, Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Premieres Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On Demand

“20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir,” a special two-hour anniversary retrospective program, is hosted by Broadway legend and Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell.

20 Years of Christmas With The Tabernacle Choir - Preview

Performances from more than 40 guest artists and narrators who have starred in the Christmas tradition over the past 20 years are featured, including Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Kelli O’Hara, Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes; R&B singer Gladys Knight; the late jazz singer Natalie Cole; pop singer David Archuleta; legendary newscasters Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw; historian David McCullough; the Muppets from SESAME STREET; actors Jane Seymour, Hugh Bonneville, Richard Thomas, the late Ed Hermann, John Rhys-Davies, Roma Downey, the late Peter Graves, Claire Bloom, Michael York and Martin Jarvis; opera stars Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, Nathan Gunn, Alfie Boe, Sissel, Rolando Villazón and four Metropolitan Opera soloists and the London-based a cappella group, The King’s Singers.

Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming

“So much effort and creativity went into preserving this beloved tradition — now 20 years strong — in the middle of a global pandemic that has disrupted so much,” said Brian Stokes Mitchell. “I am honored to be a part of it. Not only will viewers enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce the most watched holiday special on PBS for 16 years, but they will also be able to feast on all of the wonderful moments this holiday special has delivered over the past two decades and remember how music connects people in very profound ways.”

That’s What Christmas Means to Me

This special two-hour “20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir” retrospective replaces the traditional TV special that would have been created from a live Christmas concert in 2020 that had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions. In new segments filmed in November 2020 (following COVID protocols), Mitchell joined a handful of socially distanced Orchestra members and the Choir’s musical director Mack Wilberg in an empty 21,000 seat Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City to record intimate Christmas classics. The Choir also joins Stokes and the Orchestra in its first-ever all virtual performance.

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

Woven throughout the intimate performances, behind-the-scenes views, reflections and storytelling led by Mitchell are soul-stirring standout moments.

Joy To The World

Highlights include:

  • A rendition of “Angels from the Realms of Glory,” featuring Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, Kristin Chenoweth, Laura Osnes, Renée Fleming, Rolando Villazón, Deborah Voigt, Alfie Boe and Nathan Gunn
  • “Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow,” featuring Audra McDonald
  • Gospel favorite “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” featuring Gladys Knight
  • Angela Lansbury joining the Choir in “Not While I’m Around” from “Sweeney Todd”
  • “O Holy Night” featuring Kristin Chenoweth
  • “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” from “The King and I,” featuring Kelli O’Hara
  • “My Grown-Up Christmas List,” featuring the late Natalie Cole
  • Performances from the Muppets from SESAME STREET
  • Broadway star Santino Fontana
  • Operatic stars Deborah Voigt, Renée Fleming, Rolando Villazón, Bryn Terfel, Frederica Von Stade
  • Alfie Boe
  • Soloists from the Metropolitan Opera
  • The King’s Singers
O Holy Night

In addition to the musical performances, which reflect a variety of musical styles and traditions from around the world, the special highlights the range of past narrators who have joined the Choir and Orchestra to tell the stories of Christmas, including Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey,” “Paddington”), John Rhys-Davies (“The Lord of the Rings,” “Indiana Jones”), Jane Seymour (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “Somewhere in Time”), Richard Thomas (“The Waltons,” “The Americans”), the late Ed Hermann (“The Lost Boys,” “Annie”), legendary news broadcasters including the late Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw and more. Together with the music, these standout moments help tell the storied history of this beloved institution, which every year celebrates the love, spirit and peace of the season.

Longfellow's Christmas

Watch On Your Schedule:

The special will premiere on Monday Dec. 13, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS,, and the PBS Video app; and on BYUtv, and the free BYUtv app on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

In addition to the airings on PBS and BYUtv, ”20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir” is available for purchase as a DVD with the same name. A companion book, “Keepsake Christmas Stories: Holiday Favorites as Performed with The Tabernacle Choir,” features narrations and color photographs from many of the Christmas concerts. “Christmas Best,” an audio recording of select Christmas music by the Choir and Orchestra, is available to stream, download or purchase at For more information, visit or visit The Tabernacle Choir section on

Trepak - Organ Solo


Co-presented by GBH and BYUtv, the television home of the Choir’s weekly program “Music & the Spoken Word.” BYUtv produced the special.