A host of celebrities and a cast of hopefully hundreds will gather at a park in Utah on December 1st to attempt to create the world’s largest live nativity. David Archuleta, The Piano Guys and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are the headliners for the free event which is hosted by The Radiant Foundation with the intent of producing a YouTube video before Christmas.
The event will take place Monday, Dec. 1, at Rock Canyon Park in Provo. People of all faiths are invited to participate. The performance will be recorded and published on YouTube before Christmas.
The live Nativity will feature hundreds of volunteers along with YouTube celebrities and performers.
Singer-songwriter Peter Hollens, who has almost 80 million views on YouTube, will also participate in the production, along with Shay Carl and Colette Butler of the Shaytards, a family with more than 1 billion views on YouTube.
Other participants include singer and actor Alex Boye and YouTube sensations Devin Graham, Stuart Edge and the creators of Cute Girl Hairstyles.
“What we’re doing is literally trying to show the world that Christmas is all about Christ, and we’re coming together with multiple faiths to show the world that we truly believe in Christ and that he is the Savior of the world, and we’re celebrating his birth,” said Derral Eves, one of the producers. “So we’re breaking a world record and making a YouTube video all at the same time.”
It all started three weeks ago when Jeff Taylor, executive creative director for Bonneville Communications, discussed with other employees what it would take to make the world’s largest Nativity.
Jeff Harmon with the Harmon Brothers YouTube marketing team also joined the project and assembled people to work behind the scenes. Eves calls that group the “YouTube dream team.”
“We met with the group of YouTube influencers, and 24 hours later we all just could totally see that it would make an epic YouTube video,” Taylor said. “The stars are aligning, and heaven’s working in our favor. … It’s come together so fast and so well. … It’s been absolutely marvelous to be part of this.”
The YouTube team members were eager to invite other YouTube stars to be a part of the event.
“The biggest thing was getting the celebrities to come and do it,” Eves said. “We wanted to make this an interfaith project. We wanted to make this a joint effort, and so we were looking out there at what YouTuber would really make a huge impact, and Peter Hollens and The Piano Guys came to the top of our minds.”
The group contacted Hollens, who quickly agreed. He then asked musician and composer Marshall McDonald to manage the music for the event. McDonald wanted to include a performance of Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” featuring David Archuleta.
“I called the Tabernacle Choir to try and grease the skids, and I said, ‘Have you heard of Peter Hollens?’ and they said, ‘Just two weeks ago we were talking about a collaboration that we need to do with him because we love his stuff,’ ” said John Dye, a digital media strategist for Bonneville Communications. “Divine intervention definitely stepped up to the plate here.”
On the night of the event, Archuleta, Hollens, The Piano Guys and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
“It is probably one of the most, if not the most, powerful Christmas pieces I’ve heard, and it’s still in rough,” Eves said. “We don’t even have Peter’s vocals in there yet. It’s just an amazing, amazing piece of composition. Marshall’s done a great job.”
Before they knew it, the team had recruited some of the Internet’s most popular performers.
“Every one of them felt like they wanted to contribute, and most of them had inspiration coming from on high,” Eves said. “It was just like everything had been lined up. We had doors opened that are very difficult to get — all these big YouTubers that have the right time, the right schedule that they can actually do this.”