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Choir to begin tour

Some 85,000 people in four states are about to have what organizers describe as the musical experience of a lifetime as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square, goes on its Pacific Northwest Tour June 17-July 2.

Craig Jessop, the choir's music director, said of the tour program, "You couldn't go anywhere and have this type of wonderful, elegant evening of a full symphony orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It's unique in the world and it makes a first-rate presentation, wherever we go."

Brother Jessop's claim is backed up by the positive response of audiences in California last February when the choir and orchestra did a similar program in the arena at San Diego State University, which was described as "a knockout," and then in Los Angeles for the National Association of Choral Directors Convention, one of the most prestigious events to which any choral group could be invited to perform. Praise from association members ranged from "outstanding" to "superlative."

"Our program is going to be a variety of what we do best," Brother Jessop said, explaining that each concert will open with a set of three hymns, which will be followed by a set of folk songs from around the world, and then two American folk hymns. "The second half is all-American, kind of red, white and blue," he said. Among highlights will be "Call of the Champions," which John Williams wrote for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was recorded by the choir and performed dozens of times throughout the Games.

While referred to as the "Pacific Northwest Tour," the first two performances will be in land-locked Idaho. The first concert, at the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center in Pocatello, on June 17, is sold out. The tour with continue in Idaho with a performance in Boise's Taco Bell Arena, June 18, and then will move on to Washington with performances in the Spokane Arena, June 21; and Seattle's Paramount Theatre, June 23 (this performance is sold out).

One performance will be held in Oregon, at Portland's Rose Garden Arena, on June 25. The next three performances will be in California: Oakland Coliseum, June 28; San Jose's H.P. Pavilion, June 30; and Sacramento's Arco Arena, July 1. The tour will wrap up in Nevada with a performance at Lawlor Arena in Reno, July 2.

Except for the two sold-out venues, tickets are still available through various on-line ticket agencies, at selected bookstores in each market, at the venues, and also on-line through www.mormontabernaclechoir.org.

Mac Christensen, president of the choir, described some of the preparations being made to ensure that audiences will see and hear the choir at its best. "We have new sound equipment and the best sound people available," he said. "Wherever people are sitting in the audience, the sound will be absolutely wonderful."

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