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Wealth of Musical Talent to Appear at Salt Lake Games - 2002-01-31

People around the world are anticipating the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which will get underway on February 8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. While musical entertainment has traditionally been a part of the opening and closing ceremonies, the festivities this year will include a wealth of performers. Each night during the games, visitors will be able to attend concerts by some of the biggest names in rock, pop, classical, jazz, country and folk.

Members of the pop group 'N Sync have already gotten into the Olympic spirit by participating in the official Torch Relay. An Olympic tradition since 1952, the relay began in November when the torch was lit in Olympia, Greece. Through a number of bearers across the U.S., the torch is now making its way to Salt Lake City.

'N Sync member Lance Bass was chosen by relay organizers for his work with Challenge For The Children, an organization that benefits several children's charities. Holding the torch, Lance ran for several blocks in Newport Beach, California. 'N Sync will be performing at Olympic Medals Plaza on February 23, and during the closing ceremonies.

The impressive line-up for the February 8 opening ceremonies includes country stars The Dixie Chicks and LeAnn Rimes; former member of The Band, Robbie Robertson; Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma; and British rocker Sting, backed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Renowned composer and conductor John Williams will also perform with the choir. He has written the official theme music for the 2002 Olympics, entitled Call of the Champions.

Each night during the Olympic Games, which run from February 8-24, artists will perform in the Olympics Medal Plaza in Salt Lake City. The series with the party atmosphere opens with The Dave Matthews Band, followed by Sheryl Crow, Train, Smash Mouth, Marc Anthony, 'N Sync, Barenaked Ladies, Foo Fighters, Brooks and Dunn, and Martina McBride, with several more to be announced. Alternative rock band Creed will take a break from their sold-out headline tour to play on February 19.

The nightly concerts at the Olympic Medals Plaza are free, and the venue can accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. The closing ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games promise to be a spectacular event, with jazz and swing from Harry Connick, Junior; a classical presentation from vocalist Charlotte Church; teen pop from Christina Aguilera and 'N Sync; and the mighty arena rock of Bon Jovi.

The "Queen of Soul", Aretha Franklin, has recorded a new song, called Carry The Flame, which is the official theme of the Olympic Torchbearers. Rocker Melissa Etheridge and pop legend Neil Diamond have teamed for a new version of Diamond's 1980 hit America, which will be played during television coverage of the games. Right after the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games on February 24, club DJ, producer and dance music star Moby will present an after-hours party in Olympic Park, where he promises to preview a few songs from his upcoming album, 18. Moby's "Concert For The Athletes" is expected to run well into the early morning hours.