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Sting, Chicks, Rimes among opening ceremonies performers

SHARE Sting, Chicks, Rimes among opening ceremonies performers

Sting, the Dixie Chicks, LeAnn Rimes and Yo Yo Ma will be among the performers in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Games, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee announced Monday.

Just who would be performing in the ceremonies at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium on Feb. 8 was supposed to be one of the Games' best-kept secrets. But a few comments during the Golden Globes awards show Sunday night spoiled the surprise.

"We're not doing this to sell tickets," SLOC President Mitt Romney said, blaming the broadcast on NBC for having to name names now. He said organizers had received numerous calls from the media trying to confirm what they heard on TV.

The NBC broadcast apparently included a reference to Sting coming to Salt Lake City to take the stage on Feb. 8 as well as to other performers. The network holds the broadcast rights to the 2002 Games.

Other opening ceremonies acts announced Monday were Rita Coolidge and Walela, Robbie Robertson, the Deseret String Band/Bunkhouse Orchestra, Eclipse and the Cathedral of the Madeleine choir.

It had previously been confirmed that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony were also performing.

There are no more acts for the opening ceremonies to be announced. About the only secret left is the identity of the final torchbearer or torchbearers who'll ignite the caldron that will burn in the stadium throughout the Games.

Country trio The Dixie Chicks have won several Grammys and sold more than 11 million copies of their debut album "Wide Open Spaces." Country singer Rimes hit the country scene with her hit "Blue" and went on to win two Grammys including best new artist of 1997.

Coolidge has won two Grammys, and had the multiplatinum album "Any Time Anywhere" in 1978. Coolidge will perform with Walea, an American Indian group that combines their American Indian heritage with pop-gospel influences.

Robertson wrote the soundtrack for the film "Casino."

Former Police frontman Sting is one of the most popular recording artists of the past 20 years. He has won numerous Grammys and other awards including a Golden Globe Sunday.

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma has won 14 Grammys.

The Utah-based Deseret String Band/Bunkhouse Orchestra has played around the world including at the final medals ceremony in Nagano. Eclipse is a local a cappella group that won the 2001 Northwest regional a cappella championship.

To find performers for the ceremony, 12,000 auditions were conducted, out of which 4,000 performers were chosen, 98 percent of whom are from Utah. Cast members range in age from 6 to 91 years old.

Ceremonies producer Don Mischer said Monday the artists were chosen because they "have agreed to put themselves in an Olympic context. Whenever they are out there, they are out there for a reason.

Mischer said producers have been "very careful how the artists will weave themselves into the ceremony."

Romney said some 450 seats are still available for the opening ceremonies at a cost of $885. They are available by going to SLOC's Web site at www.saltlake2002.com.

Contributing: Sara Giles, Pete Thunell and Lisa Riley Roche

E-MAIL: bsnyder@desnews.com