Monday, April 20, 2015

Finale 2015 Dinner and Concert

Thanks to all involved in the dinner and concert on April 16 to honor veterans and active military.  We'll look forward to resuming music with the fall recitals starting Sept. 1 and the first fall concert on Oct. 8.  Keep in touch through this blog or

Thanks to Ladybug Nursery for providing flowers for dinner centerpieces.

Boy scouts helped with the posting of the colors at the concert.

OSU Manager Emily Hepworth and OSU President Harold Shirley at the dinner.
SUU Jazz Combo (photo by Tom Herb)

Soloists Nina Hansen and Ling Yu before the concert.

Harold Shirley, Nina Hansen, Ling Yu, Kathy and Scott Wyatt after the performance.

Soloists, SUU President Scott Wyatt and his wife with OSU Music Director Xun Sun.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Remembering the Bright Joy of Victory, the Dark Tragedy of Loss

By Bryce Christensen

“But westward, look, the land is bright!”  With these words, borrowed from the poet Arthur Clough, Prime Minister Winston Churchill concluded a pivotal 1941 broadcast, rallying the spirits of his fellow Brits with assurances that help from the radiant land to the west—namely, America—would carry them to victory over the Nazi forces threatening them.  Given the way American forces fulfilled Churchill’s hopes, it is entirely appropriate that when the Orchestra of Southern Utah (OSU) held a special commemorative concert at the Heritage Center on April 16th to celebrate Allied Victory in Europe seventy years ago, that concert began with a stirring rendition of America’s national anthem and concluded with a brilliant performance of two movements from a masterpiece focused on the bright Western land that so emboldened Churchill.   Written by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák while he was serving as director of the National Conservatory of Music of America, the New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9 in E Minor) was the perfect culmination of a concert remembering the unconquerable American spirit that triumphed over the ominous forces whose aggressions brought war to Europe and the Pacific.

Given the focus of the evening, it was very appropriate that that OSU hosted a special dinner before the concert, honoring veterans—especially World War II vets, now well advanced in years.   When OSU President Harold Shirley welcomed the audience to the concert, he asked the veterans of World War II to stand for a special round of applause.  He then recognized veterans from all the more recent wars.    These were men and women, Shirley reminded the audience, who had put their dreams on hold to keep the light of freedom burning.

After listeners had stood to affirm in united song their allegiance to the nation that rallies beneath “The Star Spangled Banner,” Shirley took a minute to make elucidatory remarks about the next number.  Indeed, on this special night, Shirley departed from his usual practice of simply welcoming concert-goers with a few introductory comments.  For this concert, he provided a bit of context before each of the program numbers.  So when OSU’s brass section launched into a luminous rendition of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the audience knew something about how Franklin Delano Roosevelt had inspired Copland to write this enduring tribute to the common man, who had answered the stern call of wartime duty.  Beginning with a radiant solo by Adam Lambert, this stirring number tapped into the singular power of brass instruments to galvanize listeners with unflinching resolve.   Augmenting the power of this particular rendition of Copland’s work were guest instrumentalists (notably, students from Southern Utah University) who joined the regular OSU brass musicians.  And as they listened to this musical paean to the ordinary American, concert-goers appreciated afresh  just how wonderfully different this democratic country is from the land of Aryan supermen that Hitler tried to construct in Germany.

The concert headline focused on the victory the Allies claimed in Europe in May 1945, a victory won largely by ground troops supported by air power.  But as Shirley noted in his remarks in introducing the next concert selection, American involvement in the war actually began in the Pacific, with the Japanese attack on the American naval base in Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and continued in the Pacific for four bloody months after the Germans had capitulated in Europe.  Largely to celebrate the wartime victories of the U.S. Navy, especially in the Pacific theater, OSU included in the evening’s program Richard Rodgers’ Victory at Sea.  Pulsing with the energy of valiant sailors, this spirited number afforded OSU’s gifted director—Xun Sun—and the skilled musicians under his baton ample opportunity to demonstrate their interpretive range.  Opening in a defiantly martial vein, the orchestra seamlessly segued into quieter and more melodic strains, then grew tense as if against rising threats, and finally gathered into an impressively triumphant conclusion.   As listeners rode this compelling musical narrative, they recalled America’s hard-won conquests at the Coral Sea, Midway, Leyte Gulf, and elsewhere. 

Though heartfelt, the euphoria that swept through the country in 1945--when German General Alfred Jodl surrendered to Allied forces--was tinged with deep sorrow, sorrow for all who had perished in the global conflagration that began in 1939 but especially deep sorrow for six million Jews who had died in the Nazi Holocaust.  Seventy years later, joy at the American triumph over tyranny is still muted by sober remembrance of these six million.  It was therefore entirely fitting that Shirley voiced outrage over this wartime atrocity, vowing that “Never again!” must be Americans’ iron response.  Giving force to that vow, OSU dedicated two concert selections to the Jewish victims of the Nazis’ murderous hatred.   Before intermission, the audience heard the first of these two numbers: Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, a poignant evocation of the prayer-like utterance with which Jews begin Yom Kippur.  Featuring a masterful cello solo by Nina Hansen, this number carried listeners into the reverent circle of devotion where Jews mark a holy day of Atonement.  Evincing exceptional instrumental mastery, Hansen drew from her cello a lacerating lament, a musical keening born of sorrow at how the Nazis lethally violated the Jews’ sacred circle of faith.

The final selection before intermission—Maurice Jarre’s Theme from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’--carried listeners back to a World War I battlefield far from Europe.   As an evocation of heroic bravery in difficult circumstances, however, this piece reminded readers of how America’s World War II soldiers—like the British officer T.E. Lawrence in World War I—courageously faced danger in lands far from home.  The orchestra fully captured the exotic mood of this cinema number, a number seething with percussive energy.

After intermission, the orchestra turned again to the tragic loss of life in the Holocaust.  With tender and sensitive expression, Xun Sun and the orchestra made Ernest Bloch’s “Prayer for Jewish Life Suite” a musical fusion of piety and pathos.  This evening’s performance of this selection featured a memorable solo by guest performer Ling Yu, who had herself transcripted the score for the viola.  Rendering this number with deep poignancy, Yu moved her listeners to profound and mournful reflection on the terrible atrocity that the Nazis committed against the Jewish people.  With consummate artistry, Yu coaxed from her viola an outpouring of sorrow drawn from a bottomless well of emotion. 

Everyone in attendance at the concert will remember the sobering musical meditation they shared on the Holocaust, but everyone will also remember the revitalized hopes for life and freedom that surged with the orchestra’s performance of the evening’s final number, the Second and Fourth Movements of Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Mellow euphony marked the Second Movement, a euphony woven together in alternating passages by the string and wind sections, drawing strength from the brass section.  In the Fourth Movement, the signature refrain of this special number sounded forth with new and irresistible force, swelling to impressive majesty in its climax.  Himself a naturalized American citizen, OSU conductor Xun Sun directed the orchestra with great fervor in this number as he drew from OSU’s three score talented musicians a thrilling effusion of all that makes New World America the land that Lincoln called “the last best hope of earth.”  

The audience left the Heritage Center after the concert, deeply grateful for the musical talents of those who had melded in this impressive 70th-year memorial of the end of World War II.  They left grateful, too, for the generous financial contributions of the sponsors (the Sterling & Shelli Gardner Foundation and the Charles and Gloria Maxfield Parrish Foundation), who made this concert affordable for hundreds.  But at a time when living veterans of the War are dwindling, the audience left especially thankful for those who bore the heat of perilous battles seven decades ago.   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Silver and Gold Soiree: Silent Auction and Raffle to Benefit the Orchestra of Southern Utah

Friday, May 8, 2015
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Iron Gate Inn and Winery
100 N. 200 West
Cedar City

$5 per person
Call Emily Hepworth at 435-233-8213 for tickets
Credit cards accepted
(Tickets are required and must be purchased in advance.)

The Orchestra of Southern Utah continues to increase the offerings of live music, but tickets alone cover less than 10% of annual costs and we are hesitant to raise those prices because we want to keep the music accessible for our community.  Additional funding is therefore essential to helping the orchestra thrive and your support is much appreciated.

Live Music:  
5:00 p.m. String Quartet under direction of Chelsea Gardner
5:45 p.m. Brass Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Bob Gordon
6:30 p.m.  Violin Duo: Ling Yu and Sara Penny

Art for Silent Auction:
OSU is honored to have received several high quality pieces of art in support of our fundraising efforts from Lane Twitchell, a visual arts professional who works in New York City on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.  He has produced a body of museum quality paintings over the course of his focused studio career as well as design work and commercial imagery for publications and corporate clients. To see additional works: 

Lane is a part of the talented Dalley family which has done remarkable work in building the arts in Cedar City and throughout the country.  His great-uncle was Orien Dalley who did great deal for music in southern Utah and nationally, from the 1920s and through his whole life.  After Orien retired, he donated a collection of string instruments of all sizes to SUU which we have used over the years to build our orchestras.  He also donated a music collection to SUU which is housed in Special Collections.  In addition to a stellar career at the University of Michigan, he helped found Interlochen Center for the Arts, and was a student of Jean Sibelius in Finland.  He taught at SUU before Mr. Halversen came to Cedar City. Orien is buried in Summit, Utah, where he was born.  The extended family is amazing with prominent musicians like his children John Dalley (of Guarneri Quartet) and Melinda Wagner (who has been a faithful supporter of OSU for years).

Other family members include Marlo Madsen Ihler, Messiah soloist this season, and Marni Madsen Maxwell, both of whom are great additions to the cultural life in Cedar City. Their grandparents Bert and Ada Carpenter were supportive of the arts and Bert sang on KSUB radio and for numerous community events during his life.  Ada’s sister, Iva Bringhurst, played piano for many community events, including singing at the Senior Center for several years. Other Dalley family musicians were Analee Carpenter Lee who was a Halversen soloist on piano and her father Jerry Carpenter and her brother John Carpenter who have sung in the Messiah choir.

"Color Country Clan" enamel and pencil on paper in a two part configuration. 18" x 18", 2011.
This work is a drawing resulting from the artist's City Windows project, which produced a set of ornamental windows for a homeless shelter in New York City.  It is part of the Liberty Island series of works, which bears the motif of a family of sea birds with The Statue of Liberty on the horizon.  Its unusual diamond composition makes for a dramatic physical presence and hopefully it's color will add a note of delight to the home of an OSU benefactor.  ($1,000 minimum bid)

Lane Twitchell is a Brooklyn NY based visual artist with deep connections to the artistic communities of Cedar City.  From his Mother, Mary Dalley (Cedar High Graduate) he developed a great love of The Festival City.  His Aunt Ada Carpenter taught at S.U.U. and was a department chair.   Both of these Wayne County born ladies were related to Orien Dalley, their Uncle who was instrumental (literally!) in developing The Orchestra of Southern Utah.
Based on this love of the tradition of the arts in Southern Utah, and his pride as the great-nephew of Mr. Dalley, Mr. Twitchell has generously donated some works as benefit incentives for the OSU.

Works from the series "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" various editions, including one full set of three laser cut paper over giclee print, 12" x 12", 2002.
This body of work was produced in association with Cedar City native Glen Nelson. Glen is a 25 year New Yorker who has made great strides in developing various artistic projects with many roots leading to The Beehive State.  This project was Mr. Twitchell's mediation on the theatrical life in New York.   The works included a handmade booklet describing them in detail. A photocopy of which has been provided to OSU for interested collectors.

Mona Lisa Noon by Lane Twitchell

"Ooh La La" (Salt Lake City!) colored pencil on photocopy, 11" x 17", 1983
As a young teenager Mr. Twitchell would visit Cedar to attend The Utah Shakespearean Festival. During this period of time, he developed his intense interests in the visual arts. This work, available for a very modest contribution to the OSU, is a "fan-boy" donation from the teenage artist still alive in the now experienced New York Professional.  It constitutes a note of solidarity with the artists of Cedar City, a very special and nurturing place.
It's Mr. Twitchell's hope that this gesture can bring some attention and energy to an organization greatly shaped by a dear member of his Mother's Family, the descendants of James Dalley of Summit.

Call For Art and Auction Items

Artists are invited to contribute works for this event.  

In addition to art OSU would also appreciate service certificates such as hair cuts, car detailing, or oil change, as well as gift certificates for restaurants, clothing stores, department stores, and other items.  Both large or small donations are welcome. Contact OSU Manager Emily Hepworth at 435-233-8213 for more information and to arrange donations.

Several OSU Musicians and community members are also contributing for the Silent Auction.  

Watch here as we add items.

Soiree directed by Suzanne Tegland and Ariel Wolter Rhoades
with assistance from Aaron and Emily Bradley.

Fine art photographer Gregory Mauger, of P&G Photography, and acclaimed framer, Sean Arnold, of The Art Center, are proud to support the Orchestra of Southern Utah.  
Title: Virgin River Narrows
Limited Edition #7/20. COA attached to back of the picture. Photo is officially sold out. This is the only copy available not through a third party. Custom framing and matting, including museum glass.

Retail Price: $695.00 

Antique Czechoslovakian crystal earrings
Handmade pitcher by Cedar City local, Zach Kunz. It is porcelain fired in a cone 10 salt firing. It is also dishwasher and microwave safe.

Blanket donated by OSU patron
Handcrafted earrings donated by Artisan's Gallery

Blanket donated by OSU Musician Kaer Neumann

Quilt donated by LuAnne Brown, OSU Concertmaster
Emily Hepworth shows an artistic handbag donated by Steve Yates of Artisan's for the Silent Auction.

"Bryce Glow" by Sara Penny, photograph

Friday, April 3, 2015

Make Reservations Now for Special Dinner and Concert Honoring Veterans and Active Military

The Orchestra of Southern Utah Hosts Dinner for Veterans on April 16th
December 7, 1941 marked a dark day in American history.  Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the loss of over 2,500 lives, Congress declared war on Japan, and by extension, Nazi Germany.  The war continued for over three years and more than 400,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and military personnel lost their lives or remained missing in action by the end.  Finally, on May 8, 1945, the enduring determination and sacrifice of American veterans was rewarded with the news that the war with Germany was over.  Victory in Europe had come! 
 On May 8, America will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Europe.  With appreciation and thanks to veterans, the Orchestra of Southern Utah would like to extend an invitation to a complimentary dinner and concert in their honor.  The dinner will take place at 6:00 pm on Thursday April 16th at the Heritage Theatre in Cedar City and is free for all military veterans and those on active duty.  For all others, admission to the dinner is $3 for those with a season ticket, $13 for dinner and single ticket.  Concert tickets remain $10 for adults and $5 for students with six tickets for $30. Veteran and active military concert tickets are discounted to $5.
Due to limited seating, a ticket will be required for each person.  Tickets may be reserved by phone at 435-233-8213 or purchased at Heritage Theatre box office.  They are available on a first-come, first-served basis so please request your tickets early.  Following the dinner, the Orchestra of Southern Utah will perform the concert Remembrance of Victory in Europe.  OSU concerts are recorded, we request that children under the age of six not attend.   Music includes the Star Spangled Banner, Victory at Sea written by Richard Rodgers, Fanfare for the Common Man written by Copland, two movements of the New World Symphony by Dvorak, Prayer by Bloch and Kol Nidrei by Bruch.  Soloists are violist Ling Yu and cellist Nina Hansen. The themes from the movie Lawrence of Arabia represent the 100 anniversary of World War I.

We are assembling a slide show presentation to recognize our military serviceman for their incredible gift to our country.  If you know a veteran or an individual on active duty, please send a picture to Emily Hepworth, OSU manager, at