Funfare with Ricky Lo: David Archuleta. Christmas better spent with the family

FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo

The Philippine Star

Like most everybody, David Archuleta will be home for Christmas no matter how busy he is.

“Christmas is better spent with the family,” David confessed during an exclusive 15-minute phone interview with Funfare in connection with the Glad Christmas Tidings album (released locally by Ivory Music & Video) which was recorded as live during a series of concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in December last year at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, with Michael York as special guest. “That’s why I make it a point to drop everything and be with my folks during the holiday season. It’s a family tradition, you know.”

Bells of Temple Square were also at the concerts that, according to the Music & Video background material, “gloried in the old-time pioneer Christmases of centuries past, thrilling a combined audience of more than 80,000” in the Conference Center at temple Square. The event brought the audience back to yesteryear when the season “evoked the glow of candles and log fires, the smell of fir trees and the frosty wideness of star-filled winter skies.”

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, Away In A Manger, and majestic choruses by Mozart and Vaughn Williams, and closes with a breath-taking rendition of Angels, from the Realms of Glory. (Michael York narrates an account of John Parry, a Welshman who as both a mason and a musician played an important role in the beginnings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.)

David is the youngest singer to have headlined the choir’s holiday concert, joining award-winning performers in the honor roll including Natalie Cole, Angela Lansbury, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald and Bryn Terfel.

Excerpts from our exclusive interview (with David who was at the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City where they were pre-taping Joy To The World for the tour):

How was it working with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

“It was an amazing experience. Every night, there were more than 21,000 people in the audience. The whole choir was just really BIG! It was one of the best performances I ever had in my life.”

You and the choir will be featured in a TV special, right? It’s going to be shown throughout the US this month. Tell me about the TV special.

“People who won’t be able to watch it on TV don’t have to worry because if they buy the CD, it comes with a DVD of the TV special which will make them feel as if they were at the actual concert.”

Did you have a hand in choosing the songs for the album?

“I sang five songs in the whole event. One of them is Los Pastores a Belen. I sang the song in Spanish because I wanted to show my Latino heritage. The four other songs, with new arrangements, were Silent Night and The Cat and the Mouse Carol which I did solo; and Joy To The World and Gesu Bambino which I sang with the choir.”

As a kid, what was your favorite Christmas song?

“Silent Night. I just love Silent Night.”

Do you spend Christmas now in a different way from how you did when you were not yet famous?

“You know, these past few years I’ve been too busy working and travelling but as in the past, I make sure that I’m home for Christmas.” (Proceeds to sing I’ll Be Home For Christmas). “There’s nothing more meaningful than spending Christmas with your family.” (And then he sings again, “I’ll be home for the holidays…”)

How do you spend Christmas?

“We usually go to my grandpa’s house. We have family picture. That’s some kind of a family tradition. We have some kind of a talent show where members of the family compete against each other. Then we exchange stories. It’s fun getting the family together. That’s why I love Christmas.”

What’s your most memorable Christmas?

“I think it was last year. We had a lot of relatives visiting from out of town, from all over the US. They came to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert and then they stayed for Christmas.”

What’s the most memorable Christmas gift that you’ve received in all your life?

“When I was a kid, my aunt gave me a computer game. I really loved it! I remember how much fun I had playing the game.”

Are you expecting any special gift from anybody this Christmas?

“Uhm, I’m not really expecting anything. It’s usually I who give gifts. I can’t think of anything that I want. I’m happy with what I have.”

And what you have is so many, so much.

“You know, when the fans give me presents, they really give a lot. Hehehehe!”

What gift are you preparing for your special someone, if you have any?

“Actually, I’m not very keen about giving gifts. But I’ll try to look for something that I can give to my sisters and my brother.”

What about Charice, your friend? Aren‘t you giving her something this Christmas?

“I haven’t given gifts to my friends before. More than giving gifts, I usually pay them a visit. For me, the best gift is when you go visit someone. Either it’s I visiting my friends or it’s them visiting me.”

Would you like to greet your fans here in the Philippines?

“Hello to all my fans in the Philippines. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Happy holidays!”


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