Rock Canyon Park in Provo, Utah became the site where over a 1,000 participants dressed up to re-enact the largest nativity in the world. It was also the place where a new Guinness world record was made as angels, shepherds, and wise men dressed up as the characters in the biblical scene of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The previous record of 898 people was set last year in the United Kingdom for a live nativity. Guinness World Record judge Michael Empric determined there were 1,039 participants in the production, along with a camel, donkey, and sheep.
The event was part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ new Christmas campaign and music video called #ShareTheGift. Organizers wanted to bring people of different faiths and religions together for a special celebration of the birth of Christ.
Derral Eves, one of the events producers stated, “That the park became a concourse of angels; it was just like heavenly hills of angels.” And it definitely sounded like a heavenly chorus as songs were sung to welcome the newborn king. “It’s our statement to the world that we need to bring Christ back into Christmas,” Eves added.
Other prominent LDS YouTube stars braved the winter chill to participate in the event. Award winning singer and songwriter Alex Boyé was excited to help the LDS church get in on the social media event. He said, “Anything to do with the Church getting in with social media and culture, and just breaking through those barriers and helping people realize that we’re just fun, cool, normal people‒ that gets me really excited.”
Participants included Stuart Edge, BYU’s Studio C, David Archuleta, The Piano Guys, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir who were all a part of the large production. With a combined reach of around 15 million followers, producers said that each of these YouTuber’s will share the video on their channels.
Jeff Taylor was the creative director of the video. “It’s been an amazing process,” he said as he told how the video will consist of four main scenes and excited to attach his camera to balloons for an aerial view of the angelic volunteers. “The stars just really aligned,” Taylor said of the event. “We thought it would be great to bring people of all different faiths to come together. The Radiant Foundation is really hoping to bring believers of all stripes.”
Producer Derral Eves said it was a miracle making schedules work to bring the entire cast together, especially in only three weeks. “Multiple faiths came together to really show our devotion to Jesus Christ,” he said.
Even though the campaign is sponsored by the LDS Church, it is intended for all believers of Jesus Christ. “We wanted to do it simply to show the world what Christmas is all about,” said Derral Eves. “It is not all the presents, but it is about the true gift of Christmas — Jesus Christ.”
There were many people who devoted their time and talents to helping the Live Nativity unfold as 50 families helped sew costumes, promote the event on social media, and bring people together from all across the country to participate in the world record event. Sheri L. Dew, an American author, publisher, and president and chief executive officer of the Deseret Book Company also participated in the live nativity.
The event took about a month to organize with the full production to be posted on YouTube on December 12th.
For more information on the #ShareTheGift Campaign, go to: http://universe.byu.edu/2014/12/03/record-breaking-live-nativity-sets-the-stage-for-new-lds-music-video/christmas.mormon.org
YouTuber’s and musicians involved in the Live Nativity: