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Posted: 11:22 PM- Craig Jessop is passing the baton.

The music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir resigned today after nearly a decade at the front of the world-renowned ensemble.

"I now find myself at a major crossroads of life," Craig Jessop said in a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I intend to keep active in the musical world including teaching - the career that . . . originally began my musical journey. RaNae and I and our family are looking forward to spending more time together with our children and grandsons."

Associate music director Mack Wilberg will step in as interim choir director.

Jessop was appointed music director and conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in December 1999. He had been the choir's associate director since 1995.

Choir president Mac Christensen said Jessop's leadership leaves a lasting impression on the choir.

"Now the choir, with Mack Wilberg as the interim director, will move forward building on the foundation that both Craig and Mack and their predecessors have helped to lay," Christensen said.

Under Jessop's leadership, the choir and orchestra at Temple Square launched a private record label in March 2003 and released more than 10 albums; several reached No. 1 on Billboard's Classical Music chart.

The choir received numerous awards under Jessop's direction, including the Special Recognition Award from the International Radio and Television Society Foundation and the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush.

The choir and its "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in April 2004.