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Pioneer Day: Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Lindsey Stirling

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Courtesy photo "Hip-hop violinist" and YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling

By Cathy Reese Newton

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jul 17 2013 06:38PM
Updated Dec 7, 2013 11:35PM

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s annual Pioneer Day concerts are turning into the summer version of the choir’s Christmas extravaganzas.

Hip-hop violinist Lindsey Stirling and pop-opera tenor Nathan Pacheco are the choir’s guests this weekend, and the free tickets to the event in the 21,000-seat LDS Conference Center were gobbled up quickly.

"Lindsey and Nathan are the kinds of artists that young people have on their iPods," choir president Ron Jarrett said in a news release. "We consciously chose these two artists to appeal to a younger generation, and young people responded eagerly. Our ticket supply disappeared before our eyes."

Not that fans of the choir or its guests should stay home if they missed out on tickets, he added. There will be a standby line at the north gate of Temple Square both nights, plus overflow seating in the LDS Tabernacle, where the event will be broadcast live. There’s also a ticket giveaway on the choir’s Facebook page.

Jarrett has courted a younger, more diverse audience since being appointed to his post last year. "If it has a beat and can be the basis for a good message, you might be surprised at what comes out of the choir," he told The Salt Lake Tribune at the time. In addition to encouraging the choir to broaden its musical scope, he has led an increased push in social media. Saturday’s performance will be live-streamed, a Tabernacle Choir first; Stirling and Pacheco also participated in a Google+ hangout with fans earlier this week.

Stirling has put studies at Brigham Young University on hold since the popularity of her album and videos skyrocketed last year. "Crystallize" was YouTube’s eighth-most-viewed video of 2012, with more than 42 million views; her album went to No. 1 on the Billboard dance/electronic chart shortly after its release.

"I’m in a career I didn’t know existed," she told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this year.

Pacheco, a BYU music graduate, has released a classical-pop crossover album and toured with New Age superstar Yanni as part of Yanni Voices.

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