Rachel Potter to kick off the 15th annual Deer Valley Music Festival | ParkRecord.com

Rachel Potter to kick off the 15th annual Deer Valley Music Festival

Singer Rachel Potter, known for her appearances in “X-Factor” and touring nationally with “Wicked,” will kick off the Utah Symphony’s 15th annual Deer Valley Music Festival with “A Patriotic Celebration” on Saturday.

Memories converge for singer Rachel Potter when she hears patriotic music.

"I think a lot about experiences of watching fireworks with my family when I was growing up," Potter said. "I think of family members who are no longer with us, and what a great time we all had together."

The Broadway, country music and "X-Factor" star hopes to help her audience members forge new memories when she opens the Utah Symphony's 15th annual Deer Valley Music Festival with "A Patriotic Celebration" at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, at Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater.

The performance will feature traditional patriotic and musical theater songs, all of which Potter said can touch the hearts of her audience.

"I think there is something very special about patriotism and having strong connections, both emotionally and physically, to the place you are from and (that) formed you," she said about her love of patriotic music. "Even though we have never experienced times of turmoil in comparison to many people in the world, there is a sense of gratefulness that we have for being so lucky to be Americans, for better or for worse."

Some of the songs on the program will include "God Bless America" and Ray Charles' arrangement of "America the Beautiful," Potter said.

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She first heard it in the movie "The Sandlot," which was filmed in Salt Lake City.

"I was a kid when that movie came out, and I remember being so moved by it," she said. "It's one of my favorite versions."

The challenge of singing such iconic songs is to stay true to the sentiment, but also give them a Potter stamp, the singer said.

"Obviously, I'm not Ray Charles, but I'm going to try to pay homage to his version," she said. "As an artist I have a specific Rachel Potter way of singing. I will automatically and naturally put my own spin on things."

The program's show tunes include "Get Happy," from the Judy Garland film "Summer Stock," "All that Jazz," from the musical "Chicago," and "Let It Go" from "Frozen."

"They are all pretty uplifting and positive," Potter said. "I think the show tunes tug at people's hearts because they are part of a larger story and have strong emotional impact, especially if you have seen the show. These songs, like patriotic songs, can bring you back to that time in your life when you first saw the musical or heard them."

Potter is known as a country music recording artist and for her appearances on "X-Factor." Other fans know her for touring with the Tony Award-winning Broadway show "Wicked."

Potter said she always knew she wanted to be a singer, and she used to watch country music videos on CMT.

"I loved the stories the songs and images would tell," Potter said. "They were like little movies."

Her love for Broadway music came while she attended University of Central Florida and from working at Disney World.

"I was introduced to musical theater at that time, and I fell in love with it because that outlet was another way of telling stories," she said.

A few years later, Potter found herself playing Glinda in the national touring production of "Wicked."

"That musical is an incredible production and I have some fond memories of being part of it," she said. "It taught me to trust the words on the page, and that I didn't have to put too much glitter in the songs because the songs and the story were so well written. I hope to be able to go back and do it again because I don't feel like I'm finished with it."

In the meanwhile, Potter is grateful for being part of the Deer Valley Music Festival's Patriotic Celebration.

This is my second time coming to Utah, and I'm excited to go back because Deer Valley is so gorgeous," she said. "I hope I can make everyone feel good and present some heartfelt patriotic songs."

Rachel Potter will perform “A Patriotic Celebration” on opening night of the Deer Valley Music Festival at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater. Tickets range from $37-$94, with youth tickets are $15. For information and tickets, visit http://www.deervalleymusicfestival.org.