Utah Symphony will ‘Swing’ in the holidays at the Eccles Center
Park City is the perfect spot to celebrate the holiday season.
With the snow and the lights that are on the trees, across Main Street and at the resorts, the town becomes a wonderland, said Parkite Carey Cusimano, vice president of development for the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley Music Festival.
She is also looking forward to the Utah Symphony’s "Holiday Swing" concert that will be performed at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Dec. 15.
"Bringing the symphony, which is a world-class orchestra, to my own community and to have our local families experience it means so much to me," Cusimano said during an interview with The Park Record. "The concert happens right in the middle of this magical season and it kicks in the holiday spirit. I feel like it’s a good fit for our Park City folks."
The concert will be performed at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake on Friday and Saturday before it comes to Park City on Sunday.
"We try to bring the performances we do in the valley up here when we get a chance," Cusimano said.
The performance will feature trumpeter ron Stripling, pianist Bobby Floyd, percussionist Robert Breithaupt and Denson Angulo on the upright bass.
Stripling is known for his work as a soloist for the Boston Pops and the Count Basie Orchestra, while Floyd made a name for himself opening for Spyro Gyra, Smokey Robinson, Stanley Clark and George Duke.
Angulo, who teaches jazz bass at the University of Utah, has toured with Bob Mintzer, Bob Berg, Randy Brecker, Victor Wooten and Gregg Bissonette, to name a few. And Breithaupt has served as the executive director of The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus since 2001 and has held the chair as the drummer of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra since 1981.
"We’re excited to bring these musicians with us to Park City," Cusimano said. "This is a great fit in community."
The performance will feature a mix of light classical and swing arrangements of holiday favorites.
"The musicians will perform a Leroy Anderson version of ‘A Christmas Festival’ and a traditional version of ‘What Child Is This,’" Cusimao said. ""They’ll also perform Billy Hayes and Jay Johnson’s ‘Blue Christmas,’ a traditional version of ‘Joy to the World’ and, of course, ‘Silent Night.’"
Other works on the program are Victor Herbert’s "March of Toys" from "Babes in Toyland" and orchestral versions of "Sleigh Ride" and Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas."
Still, Christmas isn’t the only holiday that will be represented during the concert.
"They will also do the traditional Jewish song ‘I Have a Little Dreidel,’" Cusimano said. "So the concert has a nice overall holiday feel to it, and there is nothing like hearing some of these pieces done with orchestra and some done to a swinging jazz band."
Jerry Steichen, Utah Symphony’s Principal Pops Conductor, will direct the show.
"People love to see Jerry and he had a great rapport wit the audience," Cusimano said. "He’s a great presence for our organization and is the perfect fit to be at the helm of this concert."
The Utah Symphony and guest musicians won’t be the only performers Sunday night.
Thanks to a partnership with Park City School District, a few members of the Park City High School music department will perform in the lobby before the concert from 6:45 p.m. until 7:15 p.m.
"It’s exciting to have these young musicians performing as a prelude to the concert," Cusimano said.
Also, the Utah Symphony will collect cans of food for the Christian Center of Park City in the Eccles Center lobby.
"I know (executive director) Bob Hartner and the organization have their Operation Hope food drive, which is always a big project, but we still wanted to give something back to the community and work with the Christian Center to collect some goods over the holiday season," Cusimano said. "It’s a special time of the year and people are in the giving mood."
Also, the founders of the Christian Center, Jim and Susan Swartz of the Swartz Foundation, also founded the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival that takes place during the summer.
"So we thought it would be great to give back to the community and to work with an organization that has ties with us and helped us get more exposure in Park City," Cusimano said.
This is the first time the Utah Symphony, a nonprofit organization, has partnered with another nonprofit organization for a Park City holiday concert.
"We haven’t done that in the past so this is new for us, but we do try to partner with other nonprofits throughout the year," Cusimano said. "We’ve partnered with the Kimball Art Center for a number of events."
This is the third year the Utah Symphony will perform a holiday show in Park City.
"It’s become a nice tradition for the community and lets people know that the Utah Symphony performs year round and loves playing in Park City," Cusimano said. "The holiday season in Park City is so special. You’ve got the snow and the lights. It’s so festive and fun and this adds to it all."
The Utah Symphony will perform "Holiday Swing" with trumpeter Byron Stripling, pianist Bobby Floyd, percussionist Robert Breithaupt and Denson Angulo on the upright bass at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting http://www.utahsymphony.org or calling 801-355-ARTS. Adult ticket prices start at $18 and there are student discount tickets available for $10. For more information, visit http://www.utahsymphony.org.
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