Sunday, February 16, 2020

Celebrating the "Vistas" of the American West through Music and Art

Landscapes by Travis Humphries will be on display at the Vistas concert.
Conductor Adam Lambert
Conductor Carylee Zwang

Orchestra of Southern Utah Starts 2020 with a Western Themed Concert and Art Display 

By Tanisa Crosby

The Orchestra of Southern Utah is ready for their trek west with the first concert of 2020 themed “Vistas”, origins of the wild west. The concert takes place on February 20th, at 7:30 pm at the Heritage Center Theatre.

The “Wild West” is often depicted as vast expanses, with cowboys riding off on their horses. Big names that come to mind are Butch Cassidy, Buffalo Bill, Billy the Kid. Some might think back on the pioneers and their journey west, with oxen pulled wagons and heading into the prairies to settle into new territories. Western expanse often brings up depictions of the Grand Canyon, with red rock formations, deep canyon walls, rolling plains, and perhaps a rolling tumbleweed or two. Often the music that comes to mind includes fun Hoe Downs, with fast music, played around a fire, or wide intervals depicting the wide-open plains. With some fun pieces of music that really capture the essence of cowboys, the vast expanse of land, and a new piece written for the Orchestra, it is sure to be a concert no one will want to miss.

The concert will feature conductors, Adam Lambert and Carylee Zwang. Lambert will direct three pieces for this concert. Undertaking Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, which is a collection of pieces that really have that western feel to them. The Orchestra will feature well-known selections that include “Buckaroo Holiday”, “Hoe-Down”, “Corral Nocturne”, and “Saturday Night Waltz”. Another well-beloved piece that will be performed is The Cowboy Overture by John Williams. Written for the 1972 movie The Cowboys, this overture features a fun theme that can
be heard several times throughout the piece as it brings to mind many images of cowboys on their horses, galloping off into the sweeping landscapes.

The Orchestra will also perform a new piece written by Keith Bradshaw entitled Home on the Range. The piece plays on the classic western folk song “Home on the Range”, which is sometimes called the “unofficial anthem” of the American West. In 2010 it was chosen as one of the Top 100 western songs of all time. Zwang will conduct the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe. Written based on particular scenes typical of the Grand Canyon, the piece is beautiful to listen to. It consists of five movements, “Sunrise”, “Painted Desert”, “On the Trail”, “Sunset”, and “Cloudburst”.

Landscapes from local artist Travis Humphries on display in the lobby will highlight the beauty of the west at the Orchestra’s Vistas concert.

Lobby music will start at 6:45 with the Un4forgettable String Quartet.

Video links to preview the music at

The “Wild West” concert will take place on February 20th at 7:30 pm and will take place at the Heritage Center Theatre (105 N 100 E, Cedar City, UT, located behind Lins). Tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for students and can be purchased at the Heritage Theatre or online. Children 6 and older are welcome to attend. No babies please as the concert is recorded. For more information or to purchase tickets online go to ​

Tickets available:  Heritage Center Box Office

Lobby music begins at 6:45 p.m. before the concert.
Poster design by Rollan Fell

More information:
Rebekah Hughes, OSU Manager
Email: ​ ​

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Bring Family and Friends for a Western Adventure at Saturday Jubilee, Feb. 15

The Orchestra of Southern Utah Gallops into a Western Themed Children’s Jubilee
By Tanisa Crosby

Make sure to grab your cowboy hats and boots for a fun activity-filled Saturday afternoon. The Orchestra of Southern Utah (OSU) performs a concert for the Children’s Jubilee which will take place on Saturday, February 15th, at 1 pm. The Wild West event will take place at the
Heritage Center, located behind Lins.

Once a year, OSU puts on a very special concert that is unique and open for all ages. The concert is designed for families, with a special focus on children getting hands-on experience with music along with art, science, and other historical and cultural activities. This year’s theme is the Wild West and cowboys and cowgirls of all ages are invited to attend. Dressing up is encouraged.

The Children’s Jubilee will open at 1 pm with hands-on activities throughout the lobby.
From a fun western-themed photo booth to booths designed for hands-on learning. There will
be instruments for children to try and animals to see, along with gold mining, and a variety of
other fun activities designed for families to enjoy.

At 2 pm, the concert hall doors will open for a short concert put on by OSU. Adam
Lambert will direct this concert and will conduct Aaron Copland’s Rodeo and Cowboy Overture
by John Williams. These pieces really capture the Western essence of music, with wide
intervals, brassy tones, and some great “Hoe-Down” sections that will have audiences tapping
their feet and clapping along with the music. The event doesn’t end after the concert, as booths
and activities will continue after the concert until 4 p.m.

The Orchestra of Southern Utah invites families and those still young at heart to come
journey into the Wild West at the Children’s Jubilee on Saturday, February 15th starting at 1 pm. This
concert will take place at the Heritage Center Theatre, located on 105 N 100 E, Cedar City, UT,

Tickets are $5 for adults and children; families can also get a free ticket if they
bring in 3 cans of food to donate. Babies are welcome to this concert and have free admittance.
To purchase tickets online and for more information go to Purchase Tickets


More information:
Rebekah Hughes
Phone: (435) 590-6829

Thanks to all of the Community and SUU Partners providing activities:  

Cedar Music Store
The Rock Club
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Arts Council
Frontier Homestead State Park: Gold Panning
Taylor Adams Photo Booth
SUU Native American Student Association
Frontier Homestead: Wagon game
Ferrin Creations by Maylene Ferrin: Crocheting
SUU Animal Ambassadors
Tina Calamity: Native American stories
Richie Stubbs: roping
SUU Planetarium
SUU Rodeo team: hobby horse races
SUU Rodeo team: rubber band gun target practice
SUU Geology Club
SUU Tri-Beta
SUU Frehner Museum of Natural History
Usborne books by Kaylie Johnson
Face Painting by Lydia Brescia
Russ Fawson Saddles: leatherwork
Frontier Homestead: Yarn Dolls
Art Fusion, SUU

Preview the music: Video links
Tina Calamity will be telling Native American stories. (photo from OSU recital)

Photos from 2019 Jubilee:  It's a party and you are invited:

OSU musician Kodi Oveson

Storytelling corner

Art activity sponsored by Cedar City Arts Council

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Head to the Wild West for February OSU Concerts

Children's Jubilee rides into town on February 15.  We are headed to the Wild West with music from Rodeo by Copland and the Cowboys by John Williams. You are invited to dress up in Western clothes if you want.
     Lobby opens at 1 p.m.
     Concert designed for families starts at 2 p.m.
     Hands-on science, art and music activities continue after the concert until about 4 p.m. thanks to many SUU and community partners
  • $5 per person, babies are free. 
  • One free admission with 3 cans of food for Care and Share.

For the evening concert, we are adding the Grand Canyon Suite by Grofe plus a new arrangement for orchestra of Home on the Range by Keith Bradshaw. The Vistas concert is set for February 20, 7:30 pm, at the Heritage Center Theatre (105 N 100 E, Cedar City, UT, located behind Lins). Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and can be purchased at the Heritage Theatre or online through the Heritage Center website. Children 6 and older are welcome to attend with adult supervision. No babies please as the concert will be recorded. For more information contact OSU Manager Rebekah Hughes at (435) 590-6829 or

Preview the music at video links

Monday, December 23, 2019

Thanks for Keeping the Music Going

Many thanks to those who support the Orchestra of Southern Utah with service, funding, and many talents. It is a large undertaking to have a symphony orchestra and we couldn't do it without your help.  Your year-end donations are greatly appreciated. For more information contact OSU Manager Rebekah Hughes at
Online donations are appreciated at Online with credit card donations

Using Required Distributions to Help Your Orchestra
Patrons who are 70 1/2 or older may direct all or part of the IRS' required annual minimum distribution from a traditional IRA to the Orchestra of Southern Utah  This reduces your taxable income.  For further information on reducing income: link for using RMD for charity

Donor Advised Funds
To take a charitable deduction through a Donor Advised Fund: More info on Donor Advised Funds
As always, contact your accountant for current information.

Overview of OSU for 2019:

Celebrating our 30th year as a non-profit independent orchestra.

Evening concerts included many styles of music, soloists, community musicians, and even a children's choir for the Peter Pan piece.

School assemblies under the direction of Melissa Leavitt

Children's Jubilee for all ages included music, art and science activities with many thanks to the SUU and community partners that make this magical afternoon possible.

Participation in the SUU STEAM Festival with the study of vibrations, sound, and instrument demonstrations.

Fall recital series engaging many community musicians

VIP passes made possible by sponsors for 4th and 9th grade students

Largest Messiah Chorale in our history with community vocalists and the Canyon View High School Choir for 2019 performance.

Musician accomplishments:

RaKell Heaton, violin, has been chosen to participate in a Carnegie Hall honors orchestra performance in January 2020.

Autumn Firth and RaKell Heaton played in the Utah All-State Orchestra for Cedar High.

Music Director Xun Sun guest conducted in Ukraine.

Sara Penny gave the keynote address at the state chapter of the American String Teachers Association.

Jazz Alliance formed in Cedar City with support from OSU musicians

Continuing Service:

Marin Colby directs the Southern Utah String Festival and many OSU musicians serve as judges and helpers.

Many OSU musicians are active teachers to help prepare the next generation.

Carylee Zwang directed orchestras for Cedar Valley Community Theater as well as for Peter and the Wolf with the Cedar City Junior Ballet.  OSU musicians played in these productions.

Numerous performances with other arts groups, including performing in the annual Independence Day Interfaith Alliance concert.

We are probably missing some of the activities of our musicians because they are so active in the community.  Feel free to help us complete this entry. Email updates to

As always, thanks to everyone who makes the Orchestra of Southern Utah a reality.

2019 Handel's Messiah

Halversen soloists with conductors

Michelle Ramos adding dance to Tchaikovsky in Feb. concert

Melissa Leavitt led school assemblies for OSU

Children's Jubilee with a concert followed by science, art and music activities 

Many SUU and community helpers participate in the Jubilee

Cellists at Children's Storybook Jubilee

Royalty at the Jubilee

VIP passes for 4th and 9th graders

Southern Utah Handbells at one of the fall recitals

Teresa Redd and Jackie Riddle Jackson at one of the recitals

OSU President Harold Shirley with guest soloist Ling Yu and Diane Shirley

After the successful Nov. concert
More photos available on previous blog posts.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Many Thanks to All Involved in the 2019 Messiah Performances

Maggie Swain: It was a wonderful event! Thank you, not only the performers and the conductor and the concert hall employees but to the sponsors who made this possible for us to enjoy!

OSU: These performances are made possible thanks to sponsorship from State Bank of Southern Utah and the Leavitt Group plus the volunteer services of the orchestra and chorale.  We appreciate everyone involved in this longstanding tradition.

CDs and DVDs are available for order.  Contact
Thanks to Rollan Fell for this overview of the orchestra and chorale.

OSU Manager Rebekah Hughes captured the joy with which Xun Sun directs
Beverly Jan RobbinsI always said the audience was missing the best part - his excitement and obvious love of the piece!

Canyon View Middle School students provided lobby music for Sunday
Teresa Redd, at the piano, directs this orchestra. She had student Gavin Brown  conducting some of the pieces

Photos below by Rollan Fell from Monday's performance:
Southern Utah Handbell Choir directed by Donna McNabb provided lobby music on Monday evening.

Chorale warm-up before the performance

Harold Shirley introduced the performance.

Recognizing the Chorale directors: Alex Byers and Jackie-Riddle Jackson

Recognizing the full orchestra, chorale, and all of the soloists after Monday's performance.
Photos by Sara Penny:
After Sunday's performance, the Cedar City Interfaith Alliance provided homemade cookies

Photos by Asher Swan:

Xun Sun and performers accepting audience applause

Soloists and directors after the performance.