Mile Post: The show goes on
2021 marked the return of the performing arts to Park City. The coronavirus pandemic swept the rug out from under such organizations as the Park City Institute, the Egyptian Theatre, Mountain Town Music and the Park City Beethoven Festival. But these local performing arts nonprofits, along with the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival and the Deer Valley Concert Series, orchestrated the return of a full summer of performances that included blues great Robert Cray, the Beach Boys and the Park City Follies.
Park City Institute, after scheduling, postponing and rescheduling its Main Stage fall and winter lineup and its Big Stars Bright Nights summer series, took a leap of faith and kicked off the summer with Parsons Dance on July 3 at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
The season continued without a hitch for the nonprofit, apart from the postponement of an event features author Stephanie Land due to the Parleys Canyon Fire.
“We are so proud of the diverse lineup of performances we were able to present at the Eccles Center over this past summer,” said the nonprofit’s executive director Ari Ioannides in an open letter to patrons. “Thanks to patrons like you, we were able to join us for a safe and satisfying summer of live entertainment.”
The series also featured a free performance of Americana group Upstate on July 10, as a way to thank patrons for sustaining the Park City Institute during the pandemic.
Park City Institute also partnered with the Park City Beethoven Festival for Chamber Music at the Eccles series held on Sunday afternoons.
Performances started with the music of Beethoven synchronized with Charlie Chaplin’s most famous silent film, “The Gold Rush,” and continued with other live performances by The Reverón Trio and virtuoso pianist Stephen Beus.
The series was so successful that both the Park City Institute and Beethoven Festival decided to continue their partnership through the winter, said Beethoven Festival founder Leslie Harlow.
“The Park City Institute has been really great to work with,” Harlow said. “They are really into the concerts. They are enjoying them, too.”
In addition, the Park City Beethoven Festival, which celebrated its 38th anniversary this year, presented a summer-long string of in-person performances for its Chamber Music in the Park series at City Park and the Beethoven at the Barn series at McPolin Farm.
The concerts were held with one stipulation that all attendees would follow the festival’s COVID-19 protocols, said Harlow.
While the Beethoven Festival enjoyed in-person performances, the Egyptian Theatre, which had been shuttered since March 2020, also sprung to life.
The theater’s annual musical-spoof fundraiser, “Park City Follies,” opened with a string of sellout performances in the 351- seat venue.
After canceling shows every few weeks during COVID-19, the Egyptian Theatre now has an itinerary of rescheduled dates through August 2022.
“We booked our shows in reverse, meaning we started booking shows for next summer, and then scheduled the other shows closer and closer to our opening date,” Barton said.
Barton did that in case he has to cancel any more shows as the season progresses.
Mountain Town Music, the nonprofit that usually schedules up- wards of 250 free concerts in Summit County every year, found a way to help mitigate the coronavirus shutdown.
It produced the Door 2 Door concert series, which features local musicians playing live music on the back of a flatbed trailer.
The trailer would be set up in different neighborhoods through- out the county, and people could enjoy the music while socially distancing themselves.
This summer Mountain Town Music began booking regular performances at Main Street’s Miners Park, Park Silly Sunday Market, City Park, the Great Lawn at the DeJoria Center in Kamas, Woodenshoe Park in Peoa and on the Park City Library patio. It was also instrumental in working with the Park City Beethoven Festival for the Chamber Music in the Park series.
In addition, the nonprofit’s director Brian Richards continued to work with Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort on their concert seasons.
Richards was elated to finally book live shows again.
“Getting together to experience live music is important for our well-being, and people are ready to dance,” he said.
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