Music links Park City’s past and present
August 20, 2010
Besides mining and skiing, there’s one thing that has always drawn people to Park City. From the first outdoor concerts at ParkWest to outdoor concerts nearly every night of the week, music is a cornerstone of Park City’s past, present and future.
"Living in Harmony: Music Makes Community," a new exhibit at the Park City Museum, pays tribute to the town’s long and storied musical history. The exhibit is a follow-up to the Smithsonian Institute’s "New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music" exhibit, which was shown at the Museum last spring. It will be on display in the Changing Gallery through Nov. 1.
"Music’s such a huge part of Park City today and I think it always has been," says Museum archivist Emily Beeson. "We have the history to back up this exhibit, and it’s also an area where we want to learn more."
The exhibit will grow over the next few months as more interactive components are added and locals get the chance to contribute their personal stories, mementos and memorabilia. "We’re hoping this will be an evolving exhibit," Beeson says.
Items currently on display include pieces from the museum’s collection as well as items borrowed from Park City old-timers and their families.
The museum is requesting that residents bring in any artifacts they have that pertain to musical history. "There has to be more stuff out there," Beeson says. "This is one of the few exhibits where people can loan items that are guaranteed for display."
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As the exhibit stands, it guides visitors through different stages of Park City’s musical history starting with the Park City Military Band, which was comprised of miners who moonlighted as musicians.
One member, Oliver Allen, famously played tuba despite battling lung sarcoidosis. The Military Band dissolved in 1913 and was reorganized as the Park City Independent Band, which remained a fixture at community events.
In the 1930s, two of the Sundquist brothers joined Tex Ross to form the Park City Wranglers, which became one of the most popular groups in town. Ross, who is now in his 90s, lives in Vernal but made a special trip to the museum recently to experience the nod to his legacy.
Another section of the exhibit celebrates the Byron Jones era of the mid 20th century. Jones served as the Park City High School band teacher for more than 20 years and increased membership from nine students to 100 in a short amount of time. Photos of the band traveling to and performing at the 1950 East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco provide a glimpse into the height of Jones’ tenure.
In honor of KPCW’s 30th anniversary, the exhibit features photos and relics from the station’s early broadcast bunker. KPCW helped bridge the gap between miners and hippies, Beeson says.
Miners were notoriously intolerant of "longhairs" who came to Park City to be ski bums. "Music was the one thing that brought them together," Beeson says. On a side note, she adds, some of those former hippies are now the leaders of the town.
A members’ reception for the "Living in Harmony: Music Makes Community" exhibit will be held on Friday, Aug. 27, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Guests will be privy to a sneak preview of the 2011 traveling exhibitions from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution. Tickets are $70 per person. RSVP by calling 649-7457.
To become a member of the Park City Museum, download an application at http://www.parkcityhistory.org . For information about loaning items for the exhibit, contact Beeson at firstname.lastname@example.org .