Rich Wyman returns to Park City for two Holiday concerts
For the past few months, Park City resident Rich Wyman, an award-winning singer, songwriter and performer, has played public and private shows in Nashville, Austin, Chicago, Denver, New Mexico, Salt Lake City and Billings, Mont.
He also just returned from a summer-long stint as the lead pianist in a show at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
So he’s looking forward to doing a couple of concerts in his home town over the next two holidays when he performs on Christmas and New Year’s Eve at Canyons’ Hyatt Escala bar and restaurant.
The pianist is scheduled to perform on Christmas from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and on New Year’s Eve from 6:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Wyman’s wife, singer Lisa Needham, will perform with him on New Year’s Eve.
"I love playing in that place no matter what the audience situation is," Wyman said during an interview with The Park Record. "It’s in the bar and restaurant and has great acoustics. The walls are made out of cork or something and it really soaks up the sound. And I just zone out.
"There are certain rooms where I play and think to myself that I would love to set up a bunch of microphones and record," he said. "This is one of those rooms."
Wyman has performed at the Hyatt Escala many times in the past few years thanks to his relationship with general manager Claudia Wattenberg.
"I met her at a party a couple of years ago right when she had taken the job at the Hyatt," Wyman said. "And since then, I’ve been playing there a lot."
He started the winter of 2011 and then played more shows the following summer.
"They reached out to me, depending on their situation, and asked if I can play some dates," Wyman said. "They called me earlier this year about New Year’s Eve."
Although Wyman had received offers to play on the road that time, he really wanted to stay in town for the holidays.
"So I said, ‘Yeah. Let’s do something,’ and we made a deal," Wyman explained. "After we got the New Year’s Eve show set, they asked if I would like to play Christmas Day.
Since I’m Jewish, playing on Christmas wasn’t a big deal to me," he said. "So I said, ‘Sure.’"
These two performances marks the first time Wyman will play at the Hyatt Escala since 2012.
"It’s been a year and a half," he said. "And I’m glad to be back for Christmas and New Year’s week to play in a room that I like to play. Hopefully the locals that have been missing me will come up."
One of the reasons Wyman has not been able to perform locally was the Venetian show in Las Vegas he did this past summer.
"It was like I was born to be there," he said. "It was all entertainment all the time and I’m an entertainer."
Wyman was the lead pianist out of three who performed Thursdays through Sundays.
"I switched off with another pianist, who worked Monday through Thursday," Wyman said. "We also had a violinist come on and musical-theater singer."
The concerts took place in an atrium.
"It was the most beautiful stage I’ve ever played on," Wyman said. "The stage was built at the foot of the waterfall in an atrium and they had scaffolding covered with ivy, fruit and grapes."
Above the musicians was a chandelier that was suspended from a 70-foot-high ceiling.
The ceiling was about 70 feet high.
"We played between 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. in half-hour intervals," Wyman said. "We finished early enough that I was able to go see show shows, check out some bands and restaurants.
"So I got to get to know the local musician scene so well," he said. "It was like a working vacation."
The only drawback was the summer heat.
"The average temperature was 110 degrees," he said. "My condo was just a few blocks away, but I found myself driving to the venue because it was so hot. But I would love to play Las Vegas again."
In the meantime, Wyman is happy he will play a few shows locally.
"It’s nice to be close to home for these shows," he said.
Award-winning pianist Rich Wyman will perform Christmas and New Year’s Eve at Canyons’ Hyatt Escala Hotel. For more information, visit http://www.richwyman.com.
Park City’s Memorial Day Service will extend into a plaque-placing ceremony at Squatter’s Roadhouse Pub