Rich Wyman returns to Park City for a pair of shows
There was once a time when Park City audiences would have the opportunity to see locally based recording artist Rich Wyman perform all around the area at any given time.
These days, Wyman barely has time in his crazy touring schedule to even spend time with his family, but he does it, and he’s also able to schedule a couple of shows this month at Molly Blooms for his fans.
The first will be Saturday, June 21.
"That will be a dueling pianos with my friend Mike Rogers," Wyman said during Park Record interview. "We’ll get crazy and have some fun with the audience."
The second show will be a week later on June 28.
"This will be a chance for people to just see me," Wyman said. "I don’t do much of that as I used to, especially around here, so I’m planning to play my originals and some requests that people want to hear."
One reason why Wyman spends so little time performing shows in Park City is because of his schedule.
"Earlier this month, I played an a cruise ship out of Long Beach," he said. "I played 12 out of 14 nights. I play from 9:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. straight through."
The ship embarked on a three-day cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, Mexico, and back and then took off for a four-day run from Long Beach to Catalina to Ensenada and back.
"We did this four times, and it was great because they had this rocking bar with the piano sitting on top of a round stage and the people sitting around it," Wyman said. "I broke 11 piano strings. I was a little disappointed I didn’t break one the last night I played."
After the cruises ended, Wyman took off to Ireland for a week, where he performed three concerts in Dublin and Clonmel.
"I stayed with friends and the last night I was there, and at the end of the run, I did a 4 ½-hour show," Wyman said.
From Ireland, the award-winning pianist flew to Holland and recorded his new album in Arnhem.
"The album is going to be called ‘Live from the Heart II,’" he said. "I did an album called ‘Live from the Heart’ back in 2002 with a live audience and we decided to do the same thing again."
Wyman played two shows, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
"The engineer is mixing the songs and sending them to me," Wyman said. "We recorded 24 songs and I think this is going to become a double CD."
The recording sessions were exactly what Wyman wanted.
"Sometimes in a studio, it’s hard to capture the energy of live stage, so we brought the audience to the studio for that energy," he said. "We had some great microphones and did some pristine recordings and I think these songs will capture the pure and honest Rich Wyman performance."
The album won’t be released until after the first of the year, Wyman said.
"That’s because I’m so busy this summer," he said. "Also, Holland is a big target audience for me. I won’t be going back there until next spring."
Wyman is also working on a plan to break into Italy, Germany and Scandinavia.
"So I’m going to do some bookings for those areas as well," he said.
In the meantime, Wyman is boosting up his dueling-pianos concerts throughout the country.
"I work with a promoter called Kirk Garrett and he books us all over the place," he said. "Last weekend we went to Colorado to do some dueling piano shows and we’ve played everywhere from Dallas to Chicago to Orlando."
Next month, Wyman and Garrett will embark on a three-week tour that will take them up-and-down the California coast to Nevada to Utah.
"I’ll leave July 3 and will be back on July 27, before I leave for Barcelona," Wyman said.
While in Barcelona, Wyman will perform on a Norwegian cruise ship for the whole month of August.
"Each week we will go from Barcelona to Rome up to Venice and Naples and Cannes and back to Barcelona," he said. "That will be great. I’ll play four nights a week in this dueling-piano show that will feature three pianists. So I’ll be on stage for an hour or an hour-and-a-half each night."
Last year, Wyman performed all summer in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he’s going back for a few days beginning on June 22 to perform at the East End Lounge at the Encore in the Wynn Hotel.
"This is one of my favorite places to play," he said. "It’s one of the most beautiful rooms I have seen. It’s like out of a dream, like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and it’s very colorful and has waterfalls."
The lounge itself features two grand pianos sitting face to face, and playing a dueling-piano show is a different experience.
"The shows that are done at New York, New York or Harrah’s or even Keys on Main at the Tavernacle in Salt Lake is like playing drunken party, sing-a-longs," Wyman said. "The East End and Wynn are high end, so people just sit and listen and make requests. There is no shouting and screaming, which is nice because it’s all about the music."
In addition to these shows, Wyman and Garrett have begun performing at nursing homes.
"I was inspired by a movie called ‘Alive Inside’ that I saw at the Sundance Film Festival this year," Wyman said. "Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory," which won Sundance’s Audience Award for U.S. Documentary, was directed by first-time filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett.
Rossato-Bennett followed social worker Dan Cohen as he went to nursing homes and gave patients iPod Shuffles that contained their favorite music.
"To see what music could do for people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s was amazing," Wyman said. "But the film also showed, in a sad way, what has happened to nursing homes and how they’ve become these for-profit places where they pack people in and let them sit and die."
Wyman and his wife, Lisa Needham, have performed at nursing homes before, and saw how appreciative the patients and staff were, so when Garrett asked Wyman if he had an idea for a benefit concert, Wyman mentioned nursing homes.
"Kirk arranged one and it was incredible," Wyman said. "Some people were in tears. Some were up dancing and some were clapping."
Garrett was blown away from the patients’ reactions, Wyman said.
"The music made them feel alive and happy, even for just an hour," he said.
The duo has already performed a couple of nursing homes and will do one in Provo in a couple of weeks.
"We’ll do some on our upcoming tour in California," Wyman said. "Kirk has decided to book more of these. So whenever we can do them, we will."
Park City audiences will get a chance to see Rich Wyman performing a dueling-piano show at Molly Blooms, 1680 W. Ute Blvd., at Kimball Junction, on Saturday, June 21, with Mike Rogers at 7 p.m. Wyman will also perform a solo concert at Molly Blooms on Saturday, June 28. For more information, visit http://www.richwyman.com.
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