Saturday, March 30, 2013

Exciting Music and Talented Young Soloists

     Exciting music and talented young performers promise a great finale to the Orchestra of Southern Utah season. Hillary Dalton, Rylee Dalton, Kristen Nielson and Michael Wager have been selected through competitive audition to perform with OSU at the R.L. Halversen Young Artist Concert.  The concert is held Thursday, April 18 at 7:30 pm in the Cedar City Heritage Center, located at 105 North 100 East.
     OSU Conductor and Music Director Xun Sun conducts the Orchestra and young soloists for this special event, which features two sisters, a mother-to-be, and a young man who taught himself to read music.  The concert also includes performances by the Orchestra conducted by OSU Assistant Conductor Gerald Rheault and guest conductor Zheng Guo.
     Returning Young Artist Hillary performs the Sibelius Violin Concerto finale - she was featured as a Young Artist during the 2010 Halversen concert.  Hillary also performed as a soloist with the Southwest Symphony in the Salute to Youth Concert 2009.  She has been concertmaster and member of several youth orchestras including All-State, BYU Summerfest, Zion Youth Symphony, Red Cliffs Chamber and St. George Youth Orchestras, and has received top honors in many competitions and festivals.
     Hillary’s 14-year old sister Rylee sings La Boheme aria “Quando Me’n Vo” by Puccini. Singing has always been a major part of Rylee's life and she recently discovered her true passion—opera. Rylee has been awarded superior ratings in competition and a scholarship from the Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival. She has performed at many venues including Tuacahn Summer Arts Institute, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater, Recitals and Care Centers.
     Kristen plays Summer by Vivaldi.  Kristen began her musical undertaking with the violin when she was 6 years old. At age 8 she added the piano, and at age 14 she added the viola to her musical repertoire. Kristen attended the Intermountain Suzuki Strings, learning from world renowned music artists and teachers. She joined OSU in high school and has continued with the Orchestra through her recent graduation from SUU.  Kristen is happily married to her husband Wade and looking forward to the birth of her first child.
     Michael performs Elgar’s Cello Concerto, first movement.  Michael started teaching himself to read music at age seven, and soon thereafter began taking piano lessons. Later, he learned to play the violin, and in 2001, he began studying the cello. He is a senior at SUU, majoring in Music Performance. He has been a member of OSU since 2008, and has also performed onstage with the Utah Symphony, David Archuleta, and Kurt Bestor. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Violet, since 2011.
     Gerald Rheault directs the Orchestra in The Moldau (from Má Vlast) by Bedřich Smetana.  Smetana composed his popular Tone Poem Má Vlast (“My Fatherland”) in honor of his homeland Czechoslovakia.  The second segment, The Moldau, depicts an imaginary voyage down the river Moldau.
     OSU also performs Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2, Liszt’s most famous rhapsody of his 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies set, with guest conductor Zheng Guo of China directing.
     Major sponsors for this concert are the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Foundation through the Rotary Club and the Sterling and Shelli Gardner Foundation.  “Financial support from these foundations make it possible for us to keep ticket prices lower as well as perform in our beautiful Heritage Center.  We appreciate their support,” said Sara Penny, OSU Manager.
      The Halversen Young Artist Concert is held Thursday, April 18 at 7:30 pm.  Doors open at 6:45 with lobby music by pianist Mikael Thatcher.  Tickets may be purchased for $10 for adults, $5 for students (ages six and up), $30 for groups of six.  Tickets are available at the Cedar City Heritage Center Box Office by calling 435-865-2882 or online at Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.  Children over the age of six are welcome at all the concerts with adult supervision.  OSU requests that babies and children less than six years old not attend as evening concerts are recorded.
     For more information, please visit or call Sara Penny at (435) 586-2286.
Poster Design by Rollan Fell, The Print Shoppe

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Moldau - One of the Great Classics

You're invited to the performance on April 18 which features the Moldau directed by Gerald Rheault.  More information at

From Ken Hedgecock on "The Moldau":

That piece always has a special place for me.  

When I was in 3rd grade, Mrs. Shumway had all of us kids put our heads down on our desk, resting on our arms, and she played this entire piece for us.

While the piece played, I could hear the water forming on leaves, then becoming a small stream, then a river, the hunter's horns, a nearby village having a celebration, river rapids, etc.

When it was all over, Mrs. Shumway had us draw a picture of what we were thinking of while the piece was playing.  I, of course, drew a mighty blue river.  

But, more importantly, this piece "The Moldau" was the very FIRST piece of classical music I had ever heard...other than in cartoons, of course.

I was hooked from that moment on.

So whenever I perform this piece, I always think I have come full circle back to my very first experience of classical music.  Thus while others may think of hunter's horns, a village celebration, the river's white water and a slow flowing river...I always think of that little 3rd grader, with his head on his desk, experiencing classical music, for the very first time in his life in Amarillo, Texas.

Preview this wonderful piece. Moldau youtube with photos of Prague:

Countryside near Prague

Rivers converge in Prague

Architecture is maintained with exquisite detail in many parts of Prague.

 Come and experience one of the great classics with the Orchestra of Southern Utah, Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Heritage Center.

(Photos by Des and Sara Penny)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thanks to Boyd Redington for Jubilee Photos

Starting out on a snowy day and entering a tropical party.

SUU Animal Ambassadors had incredible creatures to share in the lobby.

Usborne Books with Jamie Egbert

Harold Shirley, OSU President, got into the pirate spirit for the Jubilee

Guest artists from Florida:  Caribbean Sound

SUU Science faculty and students provided exciting activities in physics, geology, astronomy, and biology.

Boy Scouts helped teach knots, essential skills for pirate ships

OSU Board member Laura Lee helped with bean bag toss games with lots of pirate loot for prizes.

Volunteers provided hair braiding and beads as well as face painting.

Lobby displays on the Caribbean helped create a children's science museum for the day.

Laurel Dodgion organized assemblies for nearly 3000 children as well making lobby displays and coordinating a food drive for Care and Share.  She is also the OSU Publicity Director.  Thanks to her for all the extra effort in making this a success.

The photos are crucial in helping us document our events for grant funding. We appreciate professional photographer Boyd Redington's willingness to help with our efforts.  We also appreciate over 40 volunteers involved in providing the art and science activities.  And, of course, we want to thank our wonderful musicians who create the music, Board members,  and the OSU support team. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Please support OSU by donating today or on the statewide day of charitable giving on March 22nd.  Donate here to help continue to make OSU a great success!