Bandleader marks seven Christmas seasons in town
Songwriter and composer Kurt Bestor, known for his extravagant “A Kurt Bestor Christmas” concerts throughout the West and Salt Lake City has found his niche in Park City with low-key, annual unplugged performances at the Egyptian Theatre.
Bestor, who usually performs with full orchestras and a group of guest artists, has ended his holiday run with these intimate Park City concerts.
This year’s Egyptian Theatre performances will run from Friday, Dec. 22, through Monday, Dec. 25.
“My Christmas, and I’m not saying this to pander, is a true Park City Christmas,” he said. “This is where I spend Christmas with my family. While Santa will come to our house in Salt Lake, our Christmas day and night is spent in a wonderful way in Park City.”
This year’s concert will feature new arrangements of old favorites, a sing-along and break-out solos from Bestor’s band – multi-instrumentalist Daron Bradford, bassist Matt Larson and guitarist Mike Dowdle.
“They are incredible musicians, and I really haven’t showcased them in the past,” Bestor said. “So this year I made a real point to feature them in the different songs.”
Bradford will perform a couple of solos on soprano saxophone and Dowdle will play acoustic guitar solos, according to Bestor.
“Matt will play piano, so I can pull out my flugelhorn, which I have never done in Park City,” he said.
Bestor didn’t know Larson even played piano.
“I knew his father Craig, who passed away a few years ago, played wonderfully,” Bestor said. “So one day I asked Matt why he didn’t play piano like his dad, and Matt said, ‘I play piano.’”
Bestor said he is looking forward to the solos.
“These guys are world-class musicians and it will be a time when I can close my eyes and enjoy their mastery,” he said.
Bestor began playing the Egyptian Theatre shows seven years ago when the theater’s manager, Randy Barton, invited him up.
“At first I thought it was too close to Salt Lake City, but it turned out these concerts have their own flavor,” Bestor said. “The Egyptian Theatre seats a few hundred people and it’s cozy and feels right. It’s like I’m playing in my living room with a bunch of close friends.”
The bandleader also found that many people who attend the Salt Lake City shows come up for the Park City shows.
“That way they can eat at the nice restaurants, and feel a whole different vibe,” Bestor said. “The shopping is done and it’s the perfect day to hear Christmas music.”
While he celebrates seven years of Park City shows Bestor is celebrating 30 years of “A Kurt Bestor Christmas.”
“Thirty years of doing anything is pretty daunting, but it’s so nice,” he said. “When I first started, it was just me and Tchaikovsky and Mannheim Steamroller would come into town. But now, it’s wall-to-wall Christmas, and it’s nice to see the change and see the population find their own niche to celebrate the holidays in their own way.”
Songwriter and composer Kurt Bestor, known for his extravagant Christmas concerts in Salt Lake City and northern Utah will continue his acoustic Christmas performances in Park City from Friday, Dec. 22, to Monday, Dec. 25. Friday and Saturday performances will start at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday performances will start at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $34 to $50. They can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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