Band students prepare for 15th annual Sweetheart Gala

Students perform during last year's Sweetheart Gala. The event is set to take place on Feb. 8 at St. Mary's Church.
Courtesy of Park City Bands

The first time Kyle Sedgwick volunteered for the Sweetheart Gala as a server, he watched the trumpet soloist in awe. He knew he wanted to be up there one day and play with them.

This year is his chance.

Sedgwick is one of about 20 students performing during the Sweetheart Gala, a dinner and dance party for adults during which students from Park City High School’s Varsity Jazz band perform. Proceeds from ticket sales, as well as a silent auction and opportunity drawings, are used to fund the band program. The 15th annual gala is set to take place Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church. The event is sponsored by the Park City Education Foundation.

Chris Taylor, a band teacher at the high school, said the entire band program is a part of the event, and the students are proud to see it all come together. Students who do not perform help set up for the event, greet guests, serve food, bus tables and take down the decorations at the end of the night.

Students and parent volunteers spend over half the year preparing for the gala. Students in the varsity jazz band spend months practicing every school day at 6:30 a.m., Sedgwick said.

He will be playing the trumpet at the gala, and is eager to put it all together.

“It’s going to be very exciting to actually be up there performing it rather than just sitting back and watching it,” he said.

Bret Hughes, a music teacher at the school, said one of the benefits of the event is that students get the chance to play different styles of music than they regularly do for competitions.

“This is an opportunity for them to access music that, as a jazz musician, they absolutely have to know, and, oh by the way, we are going to play it for an audience that is really going to appreciate it and enjoy it,” he said.

Sedgwick said he enjoyed learning new songs, several of which are songs professional bands play, like “Copacabana.”

“A lot of the songs sound like very difficult tunes, and they are difficult, but it’s fun to know that I actually can play that,” he said.

The students are expected to perform about 50 songs throughout the night.

Owen Nagel, a junior who will be playing the drums during the gala, is thrilled to be on the stage performing after two years of volunteering at the event.

“Watching the people from all around the community dance to the music and enjoy the event, that was really cool to witness,” he said. “People still enjoy this music and are willing to pay a lot of money to support us pursuing that, and that was inspiring to watch. Everyone was smiling the whole time.”

Hughes and Taylor said the performance is a great opportunity for all the students who participate to see what it takes to put on a real event.

The community benefits because they get a fun night out, Hughes said. They can get dressed up and appreciate a “century of music” while dancing. Community members are also able to see what their donations are going toward — to provide students with a quality music education, Hughes said.

Funds from the event will be used to purchase instruments, Hughes said.

Those interested in joining the online auction can do so at The winners of the auction will be announced during the gala. For tickets, and for more information about the event, visit


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