The Mighty 5 Tour – a celebration of 75 years of symphonic excellence in Utah – allows patrons a chance to relax under the night sky and soak up the sounds of the Utah Symphony, while surrounded by the unparalleled landscapes offered by five of Southern Utah’s national parks.
Saturday’s show marks the final night of a tour that began August 11 in Teasdale, Utah with Capitol Reef National Park as the ensemble’s backdrop. Since then, the group has traveled to Arches, Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon National Parks, before finally landing in Zion Canyon National Park for their grand finale.
Among the playlist titles for the evening, a press release reported that the 75-piece orchestra would be performing movements from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and will also include several vocal selections from Utah native, soprano soloist Celena Shafer.
Beginning at 10 a.m., Zion National Park Natural and Cultural Resources Division Chief Fred Armstrong said the Aspen Wind Chamber Ensemble would perform outside of the main visitor’s center located just inside of the Park. After taking a one-hour break at noon, he said the group would resume playing for two more hours offering park goers a chance to preview the magic ahead for the evening.
Additionally, the release reported that members of the Utah Symphony-Utah Opera’s education department would “set up camp” at the visitor’s center and host free interactive activities that highlight the birdsongs of native species found in the park. Aspen Winds – who will imitate sounds of nature with their instruments – will also perform 15 and 30-minute concerts for the midday crowds.
Armstrong said the Zion canyon setting is an ideal location to create lasting memorable experiences for both audience members, and those performing on the stage. He said the inspirational landscape been a source of creativity in the arts for centuries, and the opportunity to perform in such a unique environment offers musicians a chance to connect with that.
“Musicians have been inspired through the years by the colors,” Armstrong said. “And the textures, and the sound, and the feeling of the wind blowing through the canyon – all of these things evoke emotions that cause composers to write music in a certain way and a certain style, and it’s amazing for a musician to get to put yourself in the space.”
Although the show is free, tickets are required to gain entrance to the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater. The five-day-long tour – featuring one new venue each day – sold out in record time, but the release reported that unclaimed tickets would be rereleased at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the event at the venue.
“More than 6,000 tickets have been distributed to date,” the release reported. “Additional stand-by tickets may be available starting at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of each concert – ticket holders are recommended to be in their seats by this time, at which point those waiting without tickets will be permitted to enter pending additional space at the venues.”
According to the release the Utah Symphony-Utah Opera is looking to strengthen their bonds with the communities in Southern Utah and also do their part as cultural ambassador’s for the region by helping to increase tourism and economic development in the area.
Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer said that when she first moved to Utah she was “awestruck” by the visual landscape and the “pristine natural landscape” of the Southern Utah national parks.
“One could almost imagine an accompaniment of classical music echoing off the red rocks and canyons,” she said. “The Mighty 5 Tour is a great opportunity to combine the beauty of nature and transcendent energy of sound, and I am excited to celebrate both by performing a program of illustrious works for park visitors and members of the local communities.”
Those unable to make a personal appearance could follow the Mighty 5 Tour online at Spotify.com, or visit utahsymphony.org/mighty5 for the most up-to-date information from Utah Symphony’s daily “Journal,” which features photo galleries, behind-the-scenes videos and blog entries from musicians, volunteers and fans.