Live Nativity Video Released

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On Monday, December 1, 1,036 people gathered in Rock Canyon Park in Provo, Utah to take part in the world’s largest live nativity. An official from the Guinness Book of World Records was present to recognize the gathering. The previous world record for the world’s largest live nativity was set by 898 people in Great Britain last year.

The live nativity gathering was also used to film scenes for a new promotional video produced by the Church. Famous names from the membership of the Church, including Sheri Dew, Alex Boye’, Shay Butler, Dawn Armstrong from ‘Meet the Mormons’ and her family, Cute Girls Hairstyles, and cast members from Studio C took part in the live Nativity.

Alex Boye’, who was one of the Wise Men, made the following statement to Deseret News:

“I want the whole world to know that we’re LDS; we’re Mormons. Call us what you want, but we believe in Christ. That’s the most important thing. That’s the reason why I want to get involved in this.” 

Nearly three weeks have gone by, and the people who participated in the shoot have awaited the results of their efforts. The final cut of the video is, to say the least, impressive. The first part of the music video shows the Piano Guys, David Archuleta, and Peter Hollens performing an arrangement of “Angels from the Realms of Glory” while a family gathering takes place. Then the scene merges to the live nativity with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir doing a voice-over. The majority of the participants came dressed as angels in white, and they can be seen watching the live Nativity unfold from the background and approaching the manger scene. The live Nativity also featured live animals, including a camel, a donkey, and sheep.

Light formation of a Nativity ornament created by volunteers at the World's Largest Live Nativity. #ShareTheGift was added later
Light formation of a Nativity ornament created by volunteers at the World’s Largest Live Nativity. #ShareTheGift was added later

At the end of the video overhead camera showed people wearing special lighted hoops approaching the stable and then creating a formation resembling a Nativity ornament that was seen earlier in the video. The ornament formation was filmed earlier in the evening on the broad floor of the artificial valley that forms the park, with the turf divided into a grid and numbered and people taking positions according to numbers on their wristbands. They practiced moving on and off the field to make the formation multiple times, and the mass of people in wobbling hoops were a sight to see! Friendships were formed as people waited in the cold, singing Christmas carols and camp songs. A camera attached to an overhead balloon took the final images of the Nativity formation, but due to windy conditions aloft the actual shooting was delayed multiple times as cameramen wrestled with the cables attaching the balloons. Between shots the volunteers ran to warm up at heated lamps that had been brought for the occasion.

When the formation shot was finished, most of the angel volunteers removed their hoops and went to the side of the hill overlooking the live Nativity set. Take after take, the angels sang and stood on the hill as the live Nativity was recorded in the foreground. Shots of the angels were taken with an overhead camera on a small drone. After a while, some people in the crowd began to murmur about the time and the cold, but the film crew encouraged the cast with compliments on their hard work and great performance. Jeremy Warner from Studio C, dressed as a shepherd, was in the manger scene holding on to the donkey, but the donkey was giving him a hard time, and the angels smiled and gave a few quiet laughs as the animal pulled Jeremy head over heels. By the time it was finished, it was ten o’clock in the evening. The angels were given instruction to advance to the manger, and the director announced that they were finished to an enormous cheer.

The event was sponsored in part by the Radiant Foundation. The special recording of “Angels From the Realms of Glory” can be downloaded via Facebook by sharing the track through the Mormon Channel‘s Facebook page.

Elizabeth Cole is a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was born and raised near San Antonio, Texas. Elizabeth graduated from BYU with a Bachelor's degree in English and is currently a blogger for "The Geeky Mormon."