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Star in the East

The Tabernacle Choir & Orchestra at Temple Square perform "Star in the East".


Music: American Folk Carol
Text: Reginald Heber
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

This American folk carol was first published in the 1830s. Most of the lyrics were penned by Reginald Heber, a poet, hymnwriter, and Anglican cleric who served for a number of years as Bishop of Calcutta during the 1820s. But the carol’s opening verse, “Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator,” is by an anonymous author, with Heber’s text, including the refrain, constituting the remainder of the lyrics.

Mack Wilberg’s arrangement, written especially for this concert, turned this folk carol into a candle-lit processional for the Choir, which entered from the back of the Conference Center in a stately procession toward the stage. An excerpt from Robert Frost’s beloved poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” recited by acclaimed actor Richard Thomas, complemented the folk origins of the carol’s music.



Hail the blest morn, see the great Mediator
Down from the regions of glory descend.
Shepherds, go worship the Babe in the manger,
Lo, for His guard the bright angels attend.

Brightest and best, all ye angels of morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid.
Star in the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer was laid.

Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies His bed, with the beasts of the stall.
Angels adore Him, in slumbers reclining,
Wise men and shepherds before Him do fall.

Then, let us yield Him in costly devotion
Fragrance of Eden and offerings divine,
Gems from the mountains and pearls from the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine.