Former Parkite Elizabeth Hareza returns to play a string of Utah concerts
Elizabeth Hareza is coming home.
The Nashville-based singer-songwriter who lived and performed in Park City from 2012 to 2018 has booked a string of concerts that include a handful of private and public gigs, including an apres performance at the Silver Lake Lodge, a double bill with Shannon Runyon at High West Distillery and open mic shows at The Cabin. (See accompanying box).
“I am so grateful to everyone who opened their doors for me to play again, and that includes the venues and other musicians like Shannon who had my back,” Hareza said.
Hareza took off to Nashville last October, but took a two-month stop in Pittsburgh.
“That’s where I am originally from, and I haven’t been home for the holidays in more than a decade,” she said.
During those eight weeks in the Steel City, Hareza got involved with the local songwriter community and visited friends and family before beginning 2019 in Nashville.
Nashville had called to Hareza ever since she visited five years ago, and she kept trying to figure out how to move there.
“The thing was, I loved Park City so much that it was hard to make that leap,” she said. “I spent time to see what was best for me, and realized if I want to pursue a career in music that I needed to go to a music town.”
The songwriter resolved that dilemma through personal reflection.
“I tried to make things happen in Park City, like Robyn Cage, who kicks butt with her knowledge of online processes and how to get her music to the world from the comforts of her own home,” Hareza said. “But I realized my gifts and calling are more social, which means I need to go out into the thick of things.”
Hareza has thrived on the creative atmosphere of Music City from the moment she arrived.
“Everyone here is a musician,” she said. “Your barista; your car mechanic – have written a hit song. It’s pretty trippy and amazing, and I’ve been writing a lot of new songs.”
• Saturday, March 2: Silver Lake Lodge with Shannon Runyon, 1 p.m.
• Sunday, March 3: High West Refraction in Wanship for brunch, 11 a.m.
• Monday, March 4: Open mic host at The Cabin, 9 p.m.
• Thursday, March 7: High West Distillery on Park Avenue, 2 p.m.
• Thursday night, March 7: Snowed Inn Sleigh Company, time TBA
• Friday night, March 8: National Ability Center’s Red, White and Snow private event with Shannon Runyon
• Saturday, March 9: Snowbird’s Aerie at Cliff Lodge, 8 p.m.
• Monday, March 11: Open mic host at The Cabin, 9 p.m.
• Tuesday, March 12: Snowbird’s Lodge Bistro, 6 p.m.
• Wednesday, March 13: Snowbird’s Aerie at Cliff Lodge, 7 p.m.
For information, visit elizabethhareza.com
Hareza is also working with a marketing firm to rebrand herself.
“We’ve been stirring a few ideas in a pot,” she said. “As a musician, you are trying to reach a billion people who you will never be able to hug or shake hands with. So I have to let go of things that I feel I can’t do.”
Hareza’s six years in the Wasatch Back prepared her for the move to Nashville.
Six months after arriving in Park City in 2012, she was accepted into Class 20 of Leadership Park City, a program that encourages and trains future community leaders.
“That was a big deal because some people have waited a couple of years go get accepted into it,” Hareza said. “So it was something I didn’t take lightly.”
That class included now-prominent Park City figures like KCPW’s Christie Dilloway, Sandy Flury, administrator of the Peggy Bergmann Ballet West Academy, and Beth Armstrong, who is now executive director of the People’s Health Clinic.
“Having the opportunity to interact with so many of the local leaders with so many backgrounds changed my life,” Hareza said. “What I learned from the friendships I have made with the people in that class opened my eyes to the possibilities of community. And community has always been a passion of mine, because there is enough things in this world the pull people apart.”
The lessons Hareza learned through the leadership group helped her start an ongoing songwriters group in Park City with fellow singer-songwriter Bill McGinnis.
“Bill told me he tried to start a music circle, but something was missing,” Hareza said. “When we started talking about doing it again, we were able to come up with a plan together.”
During the group, local songwriters meet to co-write songs, bounce ideas off of each other and give constructive criticisms, Hareza said.
Spending time in Park City also helped Hareza develop self-confidence, which she said is required in order to live and work in Nashville.
“You can’t be too cocky, and you can’t be too meek,” she said with a laugh. “You have to be open to learning.”
While exploring Nashville’s music scene, Hareza realized many of Park City’s musicians would feel right at home in Tennessee.
“That has been an inspiration,” she said. “I see people here who play on Broadway and they’re no different than the people I saw rocking it out on Main Street in Park City. I want to get a nonstop train from Park City to Nashville so we can all experience this.”
Still, making a living is difficult for an upstart musician in Nashville.
“You don’t get paid to play in Nashville, unless you can write a good song,” she said. “Yes, there are business opportunities here. You can work for management companies and do other things to make money. But playing three-hour gigs is not one of them.”
That’s why she wants to play in Park City again.
“I was playing four to five times a week and getting paid for it in Park City,” she said. “And since I have to pay rent, I have to get back there and pack in the gigs.”
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In the closing scenes of the about-to-be released documentary “Public Trust,” environmental journalist Hal Herring says this of the battle over public lands: “You only have a right to what you are willing to fight for.”