SALT LAKE CITY — Two BYU graduates and rising musical talents are returning to Utah to take part in this year's Pioneer Day Concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Violinist Lindsey Stirling and tenor Nathan Pacheco will join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square at the Conference Center this weekend to celebrate Utah's pioneer heritage. The concert will be held at the Conference Center on July 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and will feature live streaming online and debut music from the two guests.
Stirling, who was a quarterfinalist on NBC's "America's Got Talent" in 2010, is known for her You-Tube videos.
Classically trained in violin, Stirling has used her talent to blend traditional violin with hip-hop and modern dance. The result is a truly unique style of music. More than 2 million YouTube users have subscribed to her channel, and her videos have been viewed more than 360 million times.
While a dubstep violinist and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may not seem a likely match, Stirling said she was excited to return to a more classical style while still giving the music her signature twist.
"It's definitely different than any performance that I've done for the past few years," Stirling said.
Pacheco is an accomplished singer and performer who has appeared in two PBS concert specials and is currently part of Disney's Pearl Series.
While Pacheco has sung for audiences across the world, he said he was particularly excited for the opportunity to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
"I think one of the reasons it's going to be such a special opportunity for me is because of what the Tabernacle Choir has meant to me all my life," Pacheco said. "I've never had an opportunity like it."
While this may be Pacheco's first time singing with the choir, it is not his first time working with conductor Mack Wilberg.
Wilberg was the BYU Men's Choir director when Pacheco was a freshman at BYU. It was the conductor's last year at BYU before taking a position with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
"I'm just really excited to sing with him again because it was an amazing experience back then," Pacheco said. "I've just been imagining how amazing it's going to be singing these songs and having the choir behind me. It's going to be something else."
The concert honors the Mormon pioneers who found the end destination to their westward trek on July 24, 1847, when they entered the Salt Lake Valley.
Both Pacheco and Stirling will be premiering new songs and arrangements during the concert.
Stirling worked with Wilberg to transform one of her original works into an orchestral arrangement. Stirling also created an arrangement of the song "Praise to the Man" for the violin that she described as an "Irish fiddle" piece.
"It was really fun and such an honor to work with Mack Wilberg," she said.
For Stirling, this opportunity is another way to share her faith. Stirling, who served a mission in New York City, said she has always been open about her faith and has seen music as a way to share it.
"(Music) makes it accessible to anyone," she said. "That's what I love about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."
While all tickets were distributed weeks ago in a lottery, interested parties may still have a chance to see the concert.
For the first time, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is broadcasting a live stream of the Saturday concert from its website at 8 p.m.
Those interested in attending the concert in person can also attempt to get last-minute standby tickets. The standby line will form at the north gate of Temple Square at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Whether watching from home or the Conference Center, viewers are in for a spectacular performance, according to Pacheco.
"I probably can't do justice to how excited I am. Because I really have been looking forward to this for a long time. And so I just hope that a lot of people are able to attend," Pacheco said. "I really think that it's going to be a magical evening and I hope that I am able to capture that moment alongside the (choir)."
Both Pacheco and Stirling will perform with the choir one more time during Sunday's "Music and the Spoken Word" at 9:30 a.m.
Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: harmerk