Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Making Christmas Christmas with Handel’s Messiah

By Bryce Christensen

Writing about Handel’s Messiah, music critic Leonard Turnevicius asserted, “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a performance of the work.”  Fortunately, the hundreds gathered in Cedar City’s Heritage Center on the evenings of December 10th and 11th joyfully recognized that once again Christmas was Christmas as they thrilled to the magnificent strains of Handel’s masterpiece, performed for the 77th time in Cedar City.  Bringing together the vocal and instrumental talents of the Chorale and Orchestra of Southern Utah, this year’s rendition ratified the realty of the holiday for all who shared in it.
            Welcoming the audience, Orchestra President Harold Shirley promised a performance “approaching perfection,” a performance fully justifying the inclusion he noted of a printed program for the concert in the time capsule incorporated into the cornerstone of the newly dedicated Latter-day Saint Temple on Cedar City’s Leigh Hill.  The performances were indeed so marvelous that listeners might have forgiven Shirley for dropping the word “approaching” in characterizing them.
            The orchestra delivered nearly perfect sublimity in their offering of this Christmas-making music, that sublimity transporting the audience from the first majestic strains of the opening Overture.  Director Xun Sun conducted with such inspiring musical passion that listeners might well have supposed that in witnessing his ecstatic movements, they were seeing a modern David dancing once again before the sacred Ark of the Covenant.  In his opening remarks, Shirley identified Sun as a source of the orchestra’s energy.  And in these performances, that boundless source never once subsided, nor did the instrumentalists under Sun’s baton ever waver in delivering all that he asked of them.  The orchestra’s stirring musical instrumental mastery was, of course, most fully in the spotlight during the dignified opening Overture and the reflective Pastoral Symphony midway through Part I of the concert.  But the orchestra sustained that same impressive mastery while accompanying the Chorale’s vocal artists.
            The outpouring from these approximately 140 vocal artists swelled into a mighty river of celebratory sound in the irresistible choruses of this wonderful work.  Swept along by the currents of that river, listeners might well have recalled the aptness of the original 1742 review in the Dublin Review praising Handel’s work as a distillation of “The Sublime, the Grand, and the Tender, adapted to the most elevated, majestick and moving Words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear."  Superlatives fail to describe the way the Chorale and Orchestra together gave Handel’s “majestick and moving Words” both the polish and precision earned through long hours of practice and the unmistakable authenticity of emotions born in that very moment. 
In the heart-piercing pathos of “Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs,” the exultant joy of “Unto Us a Child Is Born,” the laudatory exclamations of “Glory to God,” and the rapt reverence of “Worthy is the Lamb That Was Slain,” the Chorale and Orchestra gave easily recognized numbers a fresh brilliance.  And in bracing “Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder,” singers and instrumentalists successfully ventured into a part of the oratorio often omitted from abridged performances of Handel’s great work.  
The performance of the Chorale so amazed listeners that when they rose to their feet for the “Hallelujah!” Chorus, they did so with an alacrity suggestive of more than venerable tradition. 
Complementing the excellence of the entire Chorale in performing the choruses was the praiseworthy merit of the solos rendered by the concerts’ eleven soloists, all deserving of favorable mention.
Alto Krysten Tomlinson delivered the recitative “Behold! A Virgin Shall Conceive” in the tones a celestial dulcimer before seamlessly segueing the more vigorous measures of “O Thou That Tellest.”
Soprano Leslie Perkins demonstrated comparable interpretive versatility in singing “There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Field,” “And the Angel Said Unto Them,” and “And Suddenly There Was With The Angel,” her voice so luminous in the final number that listeners could easily have supposed that Perkins herself qualified for inclusion in the heavenly host announcing glad tidings to the astonished shepherds. 
In notes of transcendent rapture, soprano Terri Metcalf-Peterson riveted listeners with “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion!”
In deftly modulated measures Alto Brook Allredge captured the emotional import of her scriptural texts in singing “Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened” and “He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd,” listeners sharing fully in the wonder of the first, the comfort of the second. 
Soprano Kristina Maggio gave compelling voice in “Come Unto Me” to the divine love that pleads with erring mortals, urging them to return to the supernal source of forgiveness and healing.
Lambent with gratitude, soprano Jaclyn Thomas rendered the air “How Beautiful Are the Feet” with unforgettable fervor.
And with a voice luminous with conviction, soprano Emily Diamond illuminated the priceless linkage between Christmas and Easter in her rendition of “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth.” 
Among the male vocal soloists, Ethan McBride left a lasting impression as a young talent already poised and fully in command of his exceptional artistic power.  In performing the recitative “Comfort Ye My People” and the air “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted,” McBride dazzled the audience with a voice at once strong and supple, delivering even the most challenging passages with effortless grace.
Likewise astounding as a young male vocalist was baritone Alex Byers, who amazed listeners with his masterful rendering of “Thus Saith the Lord,” “But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming?” and “Why Do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together?”   Delivering prophetic authority in the first, a probingly introspection in the second, and perplexed wonderment in the third, Byers left no doubt as to his artistic gifts.
Manifesting the confidence of a seasoned vocal veteran, tenor Shane Pierce invited listeners into the circle of light cast by his vocal lamp as he visited empyreal regions in “He that Dwelleth in Heaven” and galvanized those listeners with the rigor of “Thou Shalt Break Them.” 
Another experienced and mature performer, bass Richard Waldron plumbed the depths of a redemptive miracle in “Behold, I Tell You a Mystery,” his voice of forged steel plunging into the very shadow of death, before emerging in the dawning of Resurrection.  And in “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” Waldron sharpened his voice to a soul-piercing point, a lance that pierced unbelief with testimony of divine truth.  Augmenting the overwhelming force of this penultimate number, trumpeter Richard McMaster made his virtuosity with his brass instrument an arresting complement to Waldron’s skill with his voice. 
Chorale director Jackie Riddle-Jackson deserves high praise for preparing the singers under her direction for such an outstanding performance.  As the relative numbers of female and male singers in the Chorale as a whole and among the soloists made evident, finding talented male vocalists can prove more challenging than finding talented female vocalists.  But Riddle-Jackson is meeting this challenge, with the presence among the male soloists of two quite young luminaries indicating that she is doing so in ways that promise similarly favorable experiences for Messiah-lovers in the years ahead.   
And though bankers and insurance brokers may not take to the stage to sing, the State Bank of Southern Utah and the Leavitt Group merit the gratitude of all who attended this admission-free concert courtesy of these sponsors’ generosity.  These are sponsors who smash the negative stereotype of Scrooge-like business executives: these are community benefactors using their resources to allow all to experience music that truly does make Christmas Christmas.     

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Harold Shirley and Suzanne Tegland Honored at Utah Philanthropy Day

Present Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson with former Mayor Harold Shirley.

Diane and Harold Shirley with Dialea Shirley Adams and Eric Adams before the presentations
Suzanne Tegland was honored with Heart and Hands Award.

Thanks to the Cedar City people who came to the awards banquet.

Before the banquet the staff was unveiling their huge gingerbread house at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake.

OSU President Harold Shirley receiving the Public Service Award.
Suzanne Tegland coming forward for her volunteerism award

Last of the fall flowers outside

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Symphonic Sorcery

By Bryce Christensen
“Music acts like a magic key,” remarked Maria von Trapp, “to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”   The magical heart-opening power of music manifested itself in marvelous ways at Cedar City’s Heritage Center the night of November 9th, as the Orchestra of Southern Utah (OSU) welcomed a large Chorale to perform a concert on the theme of “The Magic of Mozart.”  Recently named as the 2017 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Public Service Award, OSU President articulated the theme of the evening in opening remarks in which he promised the exceptionally large audience a program alive with the “sorcery of sound,” albeit a sorcery wrought through the conductor’s baton rather than the wizard’s wand.

From the very first number, the audience indeed felt that beneficent sorcery.  With the inspiring passion that has characterized his directing style ever since his appointment as OSU’s Music Director and Conductor in 2003, Xun Sun opened the evening with Mozart’s “Overture to The Marriage of Figaro.”  A vibrant number that showcased the entire orchestra’s polished talents, this Mozart masterpiece shone with particular luster because of deft short solos by bassoonist Julie Kluber, clarinetist Sarah Solberg, oboist Patrice Ramsey, and flutist Ariel Rhodes.  Kluber’s mellow warmth perfectly complemented Solberg’s brighter and more incisive notes.  And the musical palette grew even more complete with the penetrating clarity flowing through Ramsey’s instrument and the silvery filigree provided by Rhodes. 

Much of the puckishly mischievous magic emanating from the evening’s second number—“Non so piu cosa son,” from Act 1 of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro—came through the impish but beguiling voice of mezzo soprano Lindsey Lopez.  Singing in the persona of a libidinous and irresponsible teenage boy,  Lopez perfectly conveyed the adolescent petulance of this naughty young rogue, her voice (and gestures) charming an audience amused by the peevish perplexity of a hormone-driven young male somehow surprised that his reckless behavior keeps landing him in trouble.

The magic of the evening’s third number—Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in G Major­—modulated from that of comic playfulness to symphonic brilliance.  And though the orchestra proved itself more than equal to the challenge of conjuring magic through this masterful composition, the enchantress casting the truly irresistible spell was flute soloist Adrienne Tedjamulia Read.  Through her flawlessly executed trills and her sparkling rapid scales, the sound from her instrument so bewitched the audience that those listening gladly surrendered to its dazzling presence as its coruscating luminosity darted here and there like a fugitive sunbeam. 

After intermission, the orchestra welcomed to the stage an impressive composite Chorale of 180 voices, prepared for the evening by OSU Chorale Director Jackie Riddle-Jackson.  This wonderfully large ensemble of vocal talent brought together singers from Canyon View High School’s A Cappella Choir (directed by Alex Byers), Southern Utah University’s Opus Choir (directed by Krystal McCoy), In Jubilo Women’s Choir (directed by Jackie Riddle-Jackson), and the OSU Chorale.  As these talented voices joined with the OSU instrumentalists to perform Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, they delivered a work akin to magic in that it transcended rational understanding, surely a work exercising the heart-opening power van Trapp identifies as a magical attribute of music.  Still, the label magic­ does not truly apply to this Mozart meisterwerk, a composition too powerful, too profound, ultimately too sacred and holy to bear that label. 

Masterfully directing this soul-stirring number was guest conductor Dr. Ryan Murphy, associate director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a choir intimately familiar with sacred and holy music.  A commanding presence on the podium, Murphy wove choir and orchestra into a majestic musical tapestry, vocalists and instrumentalists in flawless harmony both in the intense passages conveying the fearful wrath of an offended God and the softer measures suggestive of the humble pleading of devout penitents.  Every voice, every instrumentalist deserves praise for this unforgettable musical outpouring. 

But five soloists truly shone on this night of exceptional music: In dark and taut solo measures, Michelle Lambert made her trombone a voice of haunting poignancy.  And what Lambert did with her artistically crafted brass tube, soloist Alex Byers did with his own powerful vocal cords, his deep-toned bass voice plumbing fathomless profundities.  Likewise moving was tenor Lawrence Johnson, his rich solos redolent with plangent pathos.  Listeners had further reasons to rejoice when the spotlight shifted to alto Taliah Byers, whose solos radiated the supernal hopes that sustain faith.  Completing the complement of outstanding vocal soloists, Terri Metcalf-Peterson transported listeners above the empyrean, into the realm of the angels, on her soaring soprano voice.

On a night dedicated to “The Magic of Mozart,” concert-goers relished astonishing musical magic—and more than magic.  In a concert that ranged from humorous light opera to somber religious devotion, OSU and the Chorale achieved excellence that would make a city of half a million swell with pride.  Residents of Cedar City can only marvel—and give thanks—for such incomprehensible musical wealth.  All of the musicians on the stage deserved the prolonged standing ovation the audience gave on this Thursday night.  Also meriting applause were the evening’s sponsors: In Jubilo and the George S. and Delores DorĂ© Eccles Foundation.   These sponsors could not have given the community more if they had found a Philosopher’s Stone. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mozart Concert Photos and Response

Photo from balcony by Seegmiller family.

Harold Shirley, OSU President, introduces the music.

Thanks to Heritage Center ushers and staff

OSU Manager Emily Hepworth and her friend Jennifer Maxwell provided pre-concert lobby music.

Teresa Redd, rehearsal and concert keyboard

Laura Bird backstage warming up by concert roses.

Julie Kluber and Shanan Arslanian warming up before the concert.

Ellie Seegmiller is one of our newest OSU musicians, warming up on viola.
OSU Music Director Xun Sun directing the "Overture to Marriage of Figaro"
Dr. Xun Sun

Lindsey Lopez, mezzo-soprano soloist

Adrienne Tedjamulia Read, flute soloist
Dr. Ryan Murphy, guest director for Requiem

Soloists: Terri Metcalf-Peterson, Taliah Byers, Lawrence Johnson, and Alex Byers

Recognizing Jackie Riddle-Jackson at the end of the concert.
Thanks to everyone involved in the massive undertaking.  We appreciate all of you.  
CDs and DVDs available:  

A couple of the written responses:

Hello Alex and Chorale leaders,
Last night's performance of the Requiem was spectacular!  It was one of the best choral performances I have ever heard.  The acoustics were great, the singers knew their stuff.  The performance was expressive, compelling and technically perfect, as far as I could tell.  And the orchestra did it's part well.

Earlier I had hoped to sing with you but I just couldn't make the rehearsals.  Only my son Devon in Acapella Choir represented our family.  However in a way I'm glad because I got to sit back and hear it.  

The singing was full of that beautiful chiaroscuro ringing sound, great balance powerful dynamics.  Great expressiveness.  I cannot think of one aspect of the singing that could have been better.  The soloists were also amazing.  And even when singing together the sound of harmony was sweet.  That can be hard to do with soloists singing in full voice.  Alex, since I know you personally, let me say that even though I have heard you sing before, you surprised me by the great bass resonance and masterful quality of your performance.  

I have never written a gushing letter like this before, but I just thought you deserved to know my experience in the audience.  This performance absolutely exceeded my expectations.  The announcer was right that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  For me it was, and I am very glad I didn't miss it!

Thank you for all of your hard work that it took to make it happen!  Please pass my comments on to Jackie and the others who were so vital to last night's performance of Mozart's Requiem.
 Kind regards,
Dave Thomas

Dear All,
What a wonderful past few days, and so transformative for both choir and orchestra!!!
It has been a night of reflection and a morning of thought.
So many people have texted and emailed their thoughts of this venture, all have been positive, all have been encouraging and many have wondered how we were able to bring in someone like Ryan Murphy.

Because of so many who have worked to make this happen, it was successful and it was fun, because Ryan Murphy is who he is, because he is generous and willing to work with everyone it helped to create an environment of learning and confidence for all. His preparation was astounding we felt that he knew what he wanted and where he was taking us, that was a learning lesson for me especially. The choir and orchestra responded and grew in a few short days more than was truly imaginable, it was successful.

 Emily made so many efforts to create space for us to rehearse in and to insure that both choir and orchestra were well taken care of.  Sara worked to have advertising that met the needs of what it takes to advertise an event in Cedar City,
Rollan was tireless in creating posters and programs even though the process was trying because we were so demanding:). Sheri, Judy and Harold helped to make sure that any need from food to gift baskets and so much more like scores and details were all taken care of. Jason of the Heritage and his staff are true professionals and they help us to shine, even when we aren't perfect.

Teresa Redd worked tirelessly to play very difficult music, she was able to see this process through and to keep her wits about her under some personal difficult family challenges.
Melissa and Suzanne stepped in and were there for everything that is needed, they are minutemen (women) that I can call on to take care of things that would seem impossible in the moment, like seating and things that others cannot see, they do it with grace and tact, those are truly great qualities to have.

It took the generosity of the other conductors, Xun Krystal and Alex to work through difficult passages and unfamiliar text and tempos that are unrelenting and pushy, not to mention just plain hard.

And again, Ryan! wow! it would not have been a possibility if you had not been willing to sacrifice time, work and family and then the unknowing of what we would be and where we would have to go to create some great music, we are truly blessed by your ability and preparation and willingness.

My husband in his text to me last night wrote the following:
"It clearly took a lot of work for both the orchestra and the choir!  Neither one has ever done that piece and will not likely do it again!  The Mozart Requiem has an ethereal quality to it that transcends the players performance!  Terri's very bright and pure pitch reflected that as much as anything against the backdrop of that choir, who being made up of students and townspeople, made heaven sing!  It isn't Bach's B minor, and it doesn't have tone themes of Brahms or the dramatic flare of Verdi, but it does have the very sobering introspection of a young talented artist dying before his time and the genius of turning music into the solace of that last great mystery no man but one has solved!"

My sincere and deep appreciation to all of you for all you have done to create something that will be a great memory for so many, and not only a memory but a growing experience that we could not have gotten any other way.

Jackie Riddle-Jackson

Monday, October 23, 2017

*Magical Mozart* on Nov. 9

“It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a Mozart!”
By Tanisa Crosby

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once said: “Music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.”  His world was in a time period of change; the Baroque Musical era was drawing to a close and audiences were looking for a fresh take on music as the Classical era was born.  He wrote more than six hundred pieces of music range from operas to symphonies, feature solo instruments and religious music, chamber music and one of the firsts to write for the piano.  Mozart would later become one of the greatest composers of his time, which makes him the perfect focus for the Orchestra of Southern Utah prepares for a concert dedicated to Mozart’s work.

The Orchestra will feature various works written by Mozart including Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G Major, The Marriage of Figaro Overture, Non so piu cosa son from Le Nozze di Figaro, and Requiem.  Adrienne Read (solo flute) and Lindsey Lopez (Soprano) will be featured during this concert and will be accompanied by the orchestra directed by Xun Sun.  

The Orchestra will be joined by the OSU Chorale, In Jubilo, CVHS A Cappella, and SUU Opus for the Mozart Requiem which will be conducted by Ryan Murphy, Associate Director of the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra of Temple Square.  In Jubilo is a major sponsor for this concert.  Jackie Riddle-Jackson, the OSU Chorale Director, has been working hard
with the vocalists and soloists in rehearsing for this concert.

Magical Mozart is set for Thursday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Heritage Center (105 North 100 East, Cedar City, UT – located behind Lin’s).  Children over 6 are welcome with adult supervision. Babies and younger children are requested not to attend because the concert is recorded.  Ticket prices are Adults $12, Students $6, and Groups of up to 6 for  $40.  Tickets are available now by either phone (435-233-8213) or by purchase at Heritage Center/Festival Hall Box Office.

Listening Club blog has preview listening links: http://osulistening.blogspot.com/2017/11/magical-mozart-listening-previews.html #OSUCedarCity

Ryan Murphy was appointed Associate Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on March 27, 2009. In this capacity, he is responsible to assist Mack Wilberg, music director, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in rehearsals, concerts, tours, and the weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word. He also serves as the conductor of the Temple Square Chorale, the preparatory ensemble for new singers in Choir service.
Dr. Murphy has extensive choral conducting and professional musical theater experience. Prior to his appointment, he conducted six choirs in the Boston area, including two choirs at the prestigious New England Conservatory Preparatory School. He served for four years as the choral director at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, an internationally recognized secondary school affiliated with the New England Conservatory. He was the music director of the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in the St. George, Utah, area from 2005 to 2007 following five seasons as music director at the Sundance Institute in Provo, Utah. While in Boston, he maintained an active performing schedule, including collaborations at the Tanglewood Summer Festival.
Dr. Murphy graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in piano and organ performance and pedagogy. He holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in choral conducting from Boston University, where he studied with Dr. Ann Howard Jones.
Ryan and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.
 Adrienne Tedjamulia Read, MM, has been praised for her rich tone, performance finesse and energetic technique. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty at Southern Utah University, lecturing in Popular and World Music, and serves as piccoloist in the Orchestra of Southern Utah.  Adrienne has taken part in various competitions and been selected as a first-place winner for the Utah Music Educators Association Competition, Utah Flute Association Sonata Competition, and the Utah State Fair Music Competition. She has played in a wide array of master classes for top artists such as Carol Wincenc (Juillard), Linda Chesis (Manhattan School of Music), Robert Langevin (principal flute, New York Philharmonic), Jim Walker (former principal flute, LA Philharmonic), Ni Yizhen (China Philharmonic Orchestra), Han Guoliang (Beijing Central Conservatory of Music), and others.  As a concerto soloist, Adrienne has been featured with the Utah Valley Symphony, the Utah Flute Association Concerto Winner’s Concert, the Snow College Symphony, and now the Orchestra of Southern Utah.

Before coming to Cedar City, Adrienne was an adjunct flute instructor at Brigham Young University & Snow College and served as acting principal flute of the Utah Valley Symphony & the Salt Lake Pops Orchestra.  Additionally, she has maintained a private teaching studio since 2003, with her students receiving awards and superior recognition in festivals throughout the state.  Adrienne’s passion for chamber music leads her to collaborate and perform with local artists, and in 2016 she was a founding member of the West Winds Flute Trio.  She received her education at Snow College and Brigham Young University, and her primary teachers include Dr. Jennifer Grim, Dr. April Clayton, and Dr. Elaine Jorgensen.  Beyond music interests, Adrienne enjoys hiking and can often be found exploring the beautiful red rock country of southern Utah with her husband Nathanael and their son Rhythm Anthony.
Lindsey Lopez is a Vocal Performance major currently attending Southern Utah University. Although her emphasis and current study is in opera, she originated from the theater and has experience in acting, prop work, costuming and makeup design.  As an ensemble and soloist performer, she has performed and studied privately for six years now.  Lindsey currently studies voice under the direction of Carol Ann Modesitt and is an active soloist on campus and in the community.  Recent performances include; Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus”, Mark Adamo’s “Little Women” in the role of Jo and Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” in the role of Dido.
Lindsey would like to thank all of those who have supported her on this rather long journey!  Thank you to my professors that keep me in line, Modesitt who puts up with me, my mother for loving me and for my grandfather and Angel of Music who now watches over me in heaven.  This one is for you Grandpa!
Terri Metcalf-Peterson, soprano, is a recitalist and frequent soloist with opera companies, symphonies, and choral groups. Appearances with the University of Northern Colorado Opera, Grand Junction’s High Desert Opera, and Colorado Opera Troupe include the roles of Le Prince in Cendrillon, Sorceress in Dido and Aneas, Desdemona in Otello, Musetta in La Boheme, and Nella in Gianni Schicci. Terri often performs the full soprano role in Handel’s Messiah. 2015 marked her seventh season with the Boulder Colorado Messiah Chorale and Symphony. 

The Southwest Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Southern Utah regularly feature her in concerts. Other performances include soprano solos in Mozart’s Requiem with the Centennial Philharmonic, and in Christmas concerts with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Denver Brass and Cherry Creek Chorale. For six years Terri was a resident artist at the Denver School of Arts, and she now teaches private vocal lessons at Dixie State University and Southern Utah University. After completing her Masters of Music at UNC and as winner
of the Rocky Mountain Competition, Terri returned to UNC to perform Barber’s Summer
in Knoxville with UNC’s Symphonic Band. Terri recently starred in the role of Dolly in
Hello Dolly in Cedar City, Utah. Currently she is pursuing a doctoral degree in music from UNLV and touring a recital of female composers which was recently presented at the state-wide Utah Women’s Higher Education Convention.
Taliah Byers, mezzo-soprano, holds a degree in Music Education from Southern Utah University and is currently a private voice instructor in the Cedar City area. Her students have received high accolades at Region and State festivals. As a soloist, she has been featured numerous times in performances of Handel's Messiah. While studying at SUU, she played lead roles in the operas The Proposal and Trial By Jury.  In 2011, she was a member of the chorus on a Grammy-nominated recording of Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. A long-time Cedar City resident, she now resides in Enoch with her husband and three daughters. 
Dr. Lawrence Johnson has sung extensively throughout the Midwest and Southwest, as well as such diverse venues as Munich, Germany and Disneyworld.  Mr. Johnson was an international finalist in the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice competition in Philadelphia.  Other awards include the Wisconsin State NATS Winner and Chicago regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.  Mr. Johnson has had the privilege of working with such distinguished luminaries as Sherrill Milnes, Mignon Dunn, Martin Katz, Elly Ameling, Geoffrey Parsons, and Tony Randall. Possessing degrees in both voice and piano performance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Northwestern University, Mr. Johnson has also accompanied and conducted numerous concerts, operas, recitals, and shows.  Dr. Johnson currently serves as SUU music department chair. 
Alex J. Byers is an active educator, performer, and composer. He currently teaches choir and guitar at Canyon View High School. His groups have been noted for their expressiveness and consistently receive high ratings at Region and State festivals. As a performer, Mr. Byers has performed lead roles in the operas Don Giovanni (Leporello and Masetto), Die Zauberfloete (Papageno), and The Old Maid and the Thief (Bob). He has also been featured as a soloist in performances of Messiah, Rene Clausen's A New Creation, Charpentier's Te Deum, and Schubert's Mass in G. Mr. Byers' compositions have been featured in the OSU Halversen Young Artist Concert and the Utah ACDA chapter conference (1st place prize). He regularly composes for his choirs at CVHS and has recently been commissioned by OSU to write for their Glorious Galaxies concert. Mr. Byers currently resides in Enoch, Utah with his wife and three daughters.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

OSU President Harold Shirley to Receive State Service Award

Harold and Diane Shirley with composer Mark Dal Porto and his wife Tracy Carr, Nicki Frey, Jackie Jackson, and Emily Hepworth.

Harold Shirley recognized 
with the 2017 Lt. Governor’s Public Service Award
By Tanisa Crosby

Harold Shirley is being awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Public Service Award for 2017 on Nov. 16 in Salt Lake City.  "Civic Engagement is defined as promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. The Lieutenant Governor’s Public Service Award honors an individual who has improved his or her community through BOTH political and non-political processes. Minimum qualifications are 5 years of continuous or near continuous service”  Only one award is given per year and this is a high honor.

During his time in Cedar City, Harold Shirley worked in the Iron County School District as an English teacher at Cedar High School.  He served as a City Council member and served as Mayor of Cedar City for 12 years.  Shirley is a current member of the Master Singers, where he has also been the assistant conductor for over 15 years, and serves as the Orchestra of Southern Utah’s President of the Board.  Harold was instrumental in the building of the Heritage Center when he was serving as Mayor of Cedar City, Utah, which has since become a hub for the arts.  He has shown great acts for service in teaching and in the community, always willing to serve those around him.  He also raised a family, consisting of nine children, on a teacher’s salary.  He has done small and large acts service to promote the arts and helping touch the young minds of children, exposing them to great literature and art.

“Harold Shirley was supportive of initiating a RAP tax (Recreation, Arts, and Parks) that has enabled many local arts groups to flourish and raise standards of performance and engaged participation.” says Sara Penny, a member of the Orchestra of Southern Utah and the Cedar City Arts Council Board. “The Orchestra of Southern Utah, Utah Shakespeare Festival, local choirs, dance and theater groups are in a more stable position because of this crucial funding. Community involvement in the arts continues to grow and has become an important economic driver thanks to inspired leadership from Harold Shirley and others who share his vision.”

R. Scott Phillip wrote that Harold is a “renaissance man in the truest sense of the word.  He seeks knowledge whenever and wherever he can, so in turn he can transform that knowledge into giving back.  He is extremely well rounded and offers enlightenment to anyone who seeks it.  Harold is not afraid to be who he is, and comfortable in his own skin.”  Phillip went on to say that Harold has helped to support scouting and many other activities that have benefited the children in Cedar City and has also served on the Utah Board of Water Resources representing southwest Utah for 15 years “He attends multiple functions each year,” says Phillip, “to support children, cultural organizations, building projects, beautification, cemetery restoration, and historic preservation …Harold is a doer and does not rely on others to carry out his dreams.” 

Since his move to Cedar from Texas 50 years ago, Harold, his wife, Diane, and his entire family have truly embraced Cedar City and the State of Utah as their own. The members and board of the Orchestra of Southern Utah would like to congratulate Harold Shirley on this great honor.  He has served the community and helped to sponsor the arts in Cedar City.  His service for OSU has helped the Orchestra to be a semi-professional group and he has helped the group to receive national recognition. We applaud him for his dedicated service and wish him the best in his future endeavors. Thank you, Harold Shirley, for your continued service and support of the arts and the community and for touching the lives around you in such a positive way.

For more information on the Utah Philanthropy Day awards luncheon contact osucedarcity@gmail.com or 435-233-8213. For more information on the sponsoring state organization: https://www.utahphilanthropyday.org/news.  

For "Flickers" Silent Movie concert

Recognizing June Thorley with Legacy Award

With grandchild at Pirates Jubilee

Supporting R. L. Halversen soloists backstage

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thanks on a Phenomenal Opening Concert

"The music last night lived up to its name - Phenomenal!  Every selection was great," wrote Barbara Kuehl, OSU patron.  Thanks to everyone involved.  

Photos courtesy of Ryan Larson:

OSU directed by Xun Sun

Parowan High Band directed by Trevor Walker

Photos by OSU Musicians and Patrons:

Lobby music

Parowan High School musicians under the direction of Trevor Walker

2017 OSU directed by Xun Sun by Des Penny
OSU and Parowan High combined directed by Trevor Walker by Des Penny