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Christmas season on Temple Square

Temple Square will be one of the busiest places in Salt Lake City during the Christmas season.

A highlight of the holidays will be the 12th annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. in the Tabernacle.The devotional, to which Church employees and guests are invited, will be carried live (6 p.m., MST) on the Church satellite network and will be rebroadcast on the satellite network at 8 p.m. It also will be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. on KBYU-TV, channel 11.

The Tabernacle Choir will provide music for the devotional.

Continuing a 29-year-old tradition, Christmas lights will illuminate Temple Square again this holiday season.

On Friday, Nov. 25, at 5:30 p.m., Bishop Richard C. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric is scheduled to deliver a brief Christmas message in the Tabernacle. He then will activate a switch that will light up the Square with some 300,000 decorative lights.

The lighting display, which attracts thousands of families and individuals every season, will remain on until the night of Jan. 1, 1995.

Workers, using snorkelifts or "cherry pickers," started stringing the tiny lights through the trees and shrubs and along the buildings on the Square in early October. The decorations will also feature the traditional life-size sound-and-light nativity scene.

Christmas lights and decorations on Temple Square began on Dec. 2, 1965, when approximately 40,000 lights, strung on chestnut and sycamore trees, were illuminated. Christmas lights have been on Temple Square every year since.

The Christmas Lights on Temple Square were recently chosen to appear in the 1995 Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association.

Among featured events on Temple Square during the holiday season will be the Tabernacle Choir's free Christmas concerts on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle.

The Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony will present concerts Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, at 8 p.m. in the Tabernacle. A "Christmas Carol Sing-In" with the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus will be Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle. Song sheets will be provided.

Families with children of all ages are encouraged to attend the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony concert; however, admission to all other concerts on Temple Square is limited to those 8 years of age and older. The concerts are free; admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Christmas concerts will be performed by various musical groups each evening during the holiday season, except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. The groups will include junior high, high school and university choirs, symphonies and orchestras, chorales, children's groups, madrigals, ensembles and barbershop choirs.

In addition to the daily concerts on Temple Square, there are guided tours, Christmas films, Sunday morning Tabernacle Choir broadcasts (9:30 a.m. MST) and daily organ recitals. Check at the visitors centers on Temple Square or call (801) 533-6407.

Elsewhere in downtown Salt Lake City, Promised Valley Playhouse, at 132 S. State St., will present "The Gift of Christmas," featuring baritone Robert Peterson. It is the story of the innkeeper who turns away Joseph and Mary and is allowed to come back to the present day to see what transpired in the life of the Christ child.

The play runs Tuesdays through Saturdays, Nov. 25-Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets, $6 and $12, may be purchased at the box office or by phone with a credit card. For reservations, call (801) 364-5696.