Because I was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus during the 1995-1996 season, I was lucky enough to be a performer in Opening Ceremonies of the Atlanta Summer Olympics. I found a video of Celine Deion singing “The Power of the Dream” on YouTube. There was a discussion about whether she was performing live or not. I knew a little bit about this, since I was there and knew just enough to be able to answer the questions the commenters were posing.
The whole experience was really cool. When you watch the video, you’ll see that I’m one of the people standing behind Ms. Deion (Hahaha!) in a choir robe on the ramp. It was quite the vantage point. At this time in the proceedings, Mohammed Ali had already lit the olympic torch, and the parade of nations was complete. It was an incredible place to be, and despite the cheesiness of the Babyface/Foster music (which we recorded in Symphony Hall about a month prior), watching this video this morning made me cry. Just because being in such a place at such a time amidst such an incredible confluence of energy was overwhelming. I love people. I love being where the action was. And on that day, in that place, that was the place to be. Watch it, and at around 2 minutes, listen and imagine how cool it all was for me.
Below the video, you’ll see my responses to the commenters queries about what was live and what was prerecorded.
OK, this is crazy, but I’m actually one of the performers in this. I sang in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus during this time. I am one of the people in a choir robe on the ramp behind Celine Deion. We prerecorded everything so that no matter what technical things went wrong, there would be something to play on air.
What I recall is that those recordings of us (the chorus) were blended with the mics that were on us in the actual stadium. For the soloists, however (Celine Deion, Jesse Norman, etc), the recordings were only in reserve for use in case the mics were failing to feed into either the stadium or to the live feed.
It all went as planned, and so I believe what you are hearing is, in fact, live Celine. What you are hearing from the orchestra and chorus is all recorded, but inside the stadium, it was both the pre-recorded stuff and the live performance.