September: Celebrating the Cello, Cello players and Cello music with a Festival.

Actually, our sojourn into the world of the cello music began with trip to escape the oppressing heat in August of 2023. It seems like ages ago and is now only like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I want to recount the story of two lovers and lifelong friends who run away to a forest where fairies caused mischief with their magic. The magic has forever enhanced our humdrum daily lives and will remain a part of pleasant and joyous memories. But that tale will be told on another day.

We quickly fast-forward to September where we will tell a story that is currently unfolding at the Utah Tech University. Next weekend (September 15th and 16th) Professor Ka-Wai Yu will create, connect and celebrate a gathering of Cello artists by hosting a two-day Cello Festival at the Utah Tech University Eccles Fine Arts Center.

The event is open to celloists of all ages, who will celebrate the cello by engaging in cello competitions and performances. The public is invited to three concerts as well as lecture series featuring renowned celloists Horatio Contreras and Dr. Theodore Buchholz. Here are some details of this must-see entertainment.

An introduction to the Cello and the organizers of the Cello Festival event is in order.

The cello (/ˈtʃɛloʊ/ CHEL-oh), or violoncello (/ˌvaɪələnˈtʃɛloʊ/ VY-ə-lən-CHEL-oh, Italian pronunciation: [vjolonˈtʃɛllo]),[1] is a bowed (sometimes plucked and occasionally hit) string instrument of the violin family. Its four strings are usually tuned in perfect fifths: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3. The viola’s four strings are each an octave higher. Music for the cello is generally written in the bass clef, with tenor clef, and treble clef used for higher-range passages.
Played by a cellist or violoncellist, it enjoys a large solo repertoire with and without accompaniment, as well as numerous concerti. As a solo instrument, the cello uses its whole range, from bass to soprano, and in chamber music such as string quartets and the orchestra’s string section, it often plays the bass part, where it may be reinforced an octave lower by the double basses. Figured bass music of the Baroque era typically assumes a cello, viola da gamba or bassoon as part of the basso continuo group alongside chordal instruments such as organ, harpsichord, lute, or theorbo. Cellos are found in many other ensembles, from modern Chinese orchestras to cello rock bands.

Dr. Ka-Wai Yu who is the organizer, host and sponsor of this Utah Tech event. Dr. Ka-Wai Yu is an Associate Professor of Music at Utah Tech University, where he teaches cello and string chamber music. He previously taught at Eastern Illinois University and Indiana Wesleyan University. In great demand as a clinician, Dr. Yu has given master classes in numerous universities and institution in North America and Asia. . He has also taught in music camps and workshops in Illinois, Georgia and Michigan, as well as in Hong Kong. Dr. Yu is past president of the Utah Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. He co-founded the Cello Society of Southern Urah and directs the annual Cello Festival of Southern Utah. Currently the Principal Cellist of the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Yu has performed in Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

He is a vivid chamber musician and is a founding member of the Zion Trio and the period-instrument ensemble Cosmopolitan Baroque. He has appeared in the Aspen Music Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, among others.
Presented here is Dr. Yu’s interview with the Mesquite Weekly.

We also contacted the featured cello artists, and we enjoyed their candor and insights into the cello performing art in a chat via Zoom sessions.

Venezuelan cellist Horacio Contreras. Contreras has gained esteem through a multifaceted career as a concert cellist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and scholar. He has collaborated with prestigious institutions across the Americas and Europe as a concerto soloist, a recitalist, a chamber musician, and a master class clinician. Presented here are his insights and views on music and the cello.

Theodore Buchholz also talked to us via a Zoom session. Critically acclaimed for his “eloquent and expressive artistry,”

Theodore Buchholz has been lauded as a “virtuosic cellist” with a “warm beautiful sound.” He has performed in prominent venues from New York’s Lincoln Center to international halls in Tokyo, and in countless venues across the United States. His performances and recordings have aired on classical radio stations around the world. He performs on an exceptional cello made in 1877 by Charles Mennégand. Presented here are views and insights into his artistry.

A great weekend awaits us at Utah Tech. Please join the cellists in this Celebration and Festival. Here are some additional insights offered by Dr. Yu for successfully competing in the Cello competition.

Be sure to watch this space for a special report on the events of the Cello Festival and more from a magical place where there are “Concerts In The Barn”.

The Zion Trio brings musical art to SUU’s Thorley Hall for an evening of fine chamber music.

On March 10, 2023, the Zion Trio made an appearance at the Thorley Recital Hall on the campus of Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City Utah.

The players have fittingly incorporated the name of our magnificent national park into their own name. The Zion Trio, I suspect, have an affinity with the natural beauty of southwestern Utah and express it passionately with their musical art.
The selections of the evening program included piano trio concertos by Antonin Dvorak and Maurice Ravel.
The performances were well received and enthusiastically applauded by university students, faculty and community residents. The university frequently provides high-quality entertainment and extents their invitation to all with an appreciation for the performance arts.

The Zion Trio has been bringing major works from the standard repertoire for piano trio to southern Utah for several years. Their performances included works by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Piazzolla, Ravel, Shostakovich, and Paul Schoenfeld. The trio has recently performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Orchestra of Southern Utah and was featured at the Utah American String Teachers Association’s Midwinter Workshop.

The violinist is Paul Abegg, who is a Professor of Music at Utah Tech University where he is the Director of String Studies and conducts the University Orchestra.

Dr. Abegg has presented master classes and served as a musical adjudicator throughout the United States.
His students have won awards and have been accepted at prestigious music schools and festivals such as Boston Conservatory. Michigan State University, Indiana University, National Orchestral Institute and Brevard Music Center.
As a soloist he has performed throughout the United States as well as in Japan, Brazil, France and England. His chamber music experience in addition to the Zion Trio includes studies at Kneisel Hall (ME), the Colson String Ensemble in France among others. He served as a concert master of the Southwest Symphony for five years. Other orchestral experience includes performances with the Lansing, Jackson, Flint, Kalamazoo, Flagstaff, Utah, Ballet West, Phoenix, Spokane and the Malaysia Philharmonic orchestras. In 2007he performed in the Northwest Bach Festival under the direction Gunther Schuller. His participation in orchestra festivals include the Gilmore Piano Competition Orchestra (MI), Pine Mountain Music Festival ((MI), Brevard Music Center (NC), National Orchestral Institute (MD), Great Music West Festival (UT), Bear Lake Music Festival (UT), and the Grand Teton Music Festival Seminar (WY).
Dr. Abegg has recorded extensively for film and television scores. He has performed with Celtic Woman, Mannheim Steamroller, Donny Osmond, Peter Cetera, Natalie Cole, and Marvin Hamlisch and classical artists which include Audra McDonald, Leon Fleischer, Marilyn Horne, Peter Serkin, Ellen Zwilich, Fredricka Von Stade, Mark O’Connor, Peter Schickele, Elmer Oliveria, Cathleen Battle, and Gil Shaham.

The cello is played by Dr. Ka-Wai Yu who is a Associate Professor of Music at Utah Tech University, where cello and string chamber music.

He previously taught at Eastern Illinois University and Indiana Wesleyan University. In great demand as a clinician, Dr. Yu has given master classes in numerous universities and institution in North America and Asia. He is the Director of the Castle Rock String Camp. He has also taught in music camps and workshops in Illinois, Georgia and Michigan, as well as in Hong Kong. Dr. Yu is past president of the Utah Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. He co-founded the Cello Society of Southern Urah and directs the annual Cello Festival of Southern Utah. He also serves on the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra President’s Advisory Council. Currently the Principal Cellist of the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Yu has performed in Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. He is a vivid chamber musician and is a founding member of the Zion Trio and the period-instrument ensemble Cosmopolitan Baroque. He has appeared in the Aspen Music Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, among others. His performances have been broadcast on RTHK and WILL-FM. His transcription of Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto for cell and string quartet has been published by A-R Editions, Inc.
Dr. Yu obtained his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where hie studied with cellist Brandon Vamos of the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet. He also holds a Master of Music in Cello Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Music with first-class honors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His major mentors have included Helga Winold, Csaba Onczay, David Starkweather and Ming-Yuen Chueng. He has also studied chamber music with members of the American String Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, Pacifica Quartet and Parker Quartet.

The Pianist is Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel. Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel feels equally at home in a wide range of musical genres.

He was recently featured as soloist in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Orchestra of Southern Utah. Christian is a founding member of Southern Utah University’s Faculty Jazz Combo Kind of Blue and frequently performs with Jazz ensembles and musicians throughout southern Utah. Praised as “a master of contrasts” (Aalener Nachrichten) and for his ability to “put the audience into a state of sheer awe” (Gmünder Tagespost), Christian’s performances have taken him all over the United States, to South America and to Europe. He is a founding member of Southern Utah University’s faculty jazz combo Kind of Blue and he frequently perform with various jazz ensembles and combos.
Christian has performed on public radio and presented at state, regional, national and international conferences. David DeBoer Canfield (Fanfare Magazine) remarked abput his Albany Records CD Set No Limits recording with clarinettist Dr. Jessica Lindsey that the “piano parts are superbly rendered by Christian Bohnenstengel, whose artistry also greatly impresses me”. His latest recordings are Jazz Hands II with the Shawn Owens Project Trio and Southern Utah Jazz Collective.
Dr. Bohnenstengel has been the Director of Keyboard Studies at Southern Utah University (SUU) since 2011. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Missouri Western State University. He earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His primary teachers include Jerry Anderson and Mark Clinton, piano, and Quentin Faulkner, harpsichord and organ. Christian founded the MTNA collegiate chapter at SUU, and he served as chair for collegiate programs on the UMTA state board. He also served as secretary for the Southwest Chapter of the College Music Society and serves on the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra’s President’s Advisory Council.

The Mesquite Weekly is proud to present the Zion Trio’s performance at Thorley Hall on March 11, 2023.

You may view their fine performance in its entirety in the provided video presentation.

The first half of the performance is a composition by Antonín Dvořák for piano, violin and cello, the Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90, B. 166, (also called Dumky trio from the subtitle Dumky). It is among the composer’s best-known works.
It is also a well-known example of chamber music that significantly deviates from the traditional structure of classical chamber music, both in terms of the quantity of movements and the formal organization of those movements.
Dumky, the plural form of dumka, is an Ukrainian term. Originally, it is the diminutive form of the term Duma, plural dumy, which refers to epic ballads, specifically a song or lament of captive people. During the nineteenth century, composers from other Slavic countries began using the duma as a classical form used to indicate a brooding, introspective composition with cheerful sections interspersed within.
Dvořák completed the trio on 12 February 1891. It premiered in Prague on 11 April 1891, with violinist Ferdinand Lachner, cellist Hanuš Wihan, and Dvořák himself on piano. The same evening, Prague’s Charles University awarded the composer an honorary doctorate. The work was so well received that Dvořák performed it on his forty-concert farewell tour throughout Moravia and Bohemia, just before he left for the United States to head the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The trio was published while Dvořák was in America and was proofread by his friend Johannes Brahms.
The piece is in six sections:
I. Lento maestoso — Allegro quasi doppio movimento (E minor – E major)
II. Poco adagio — Vivace non troppo — Vivace (C♯ minor)
III. Andante — Vivace non troppo — Allegretto (A major – A minor – A major)
IV. Andante moderato — Allegretto scherzando — Quasi tempo di marcia (D minor – D major)
V. Allegro (E♭ major – E♭ minor)
VI. Lento maestoso (C minor – C major)
The composition features six dumky episodes throughout. The initial three dumky are connected together without interruption in the harmonically complementary keys given above, in effect forming a long first movement. The final three dumky are presented in unrelated keys, thus giving the overall impression of a four-movement structure.
The form of the piece is structurally simple but emotionally complicated, being an uninhibited Bohemian lament. Considered essentially formless, at least by classical standards, it is more like a six movement dark fantasia—completely original and successful, a benchmark piece for the composer. Being completely free of the rigors of sonata form gave Dvořák license to take the movements to some dizzying, heavy, places, able to be both brooding and yet somehow, through it all, a little lighthearted.

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (/d(ə)ˈvɔːrʒɑːk, -ʒæk/ d(ə-)VOR-zha(h)k; Czech: [ˈantoɲiːn ˈlɛopold ˈdvor̝aːk] (8 September 1841 – 1 May 1904) was a Czech composer.

Dvořák frequently employed rhythms and other aspects of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia, following the Romantic-era nationalist example of his predecessor Bedřich Smetana. Dvořák’s style has been described as “the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them”.
Dvořák displayed his musical gifts at an early age, being an apt violin student from age six. The first public performances of his works were in Prague in 1872 and, with special success, in 1873, when he was 31 years old. Seeking recognition beyond the Prague area, he submitted a score of his First Symphony to a prize competition in Germany, but did not win, and the unreturned manuscript was lost until it was rediscovered many decades later. In 1874, he made a submission to the Austrian State Prize for Composition, including scores of two further symphonies and other works. Although Dvořák was not aware of it, Johannes Brahms was the leading member of the jury and was highly impressed. The prize was awarded to Dvořák in 1874 and again in 1876 and in 1877, when Brahms and the prominent critic Eduard Hanslick, also a member of the jury, made themselves known to him. Brahms recommended Dvořák to his publisher, Simrock, who soon afterward commissioned what became the Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. These were highly praised by the Berlin music critic Louis Ehlert in 1878, the sheet music (of the original piano 4-hands version) had excellent sales, and Dvořák’s international reputation was launched at last.
Dvořák’s first piece of a religious nature, his setting of Stabat Mater, was premiered in Prague in 1880. It was very successfully performed in London in 1883, leading to many other performances in the United Kingdom and United States. In his career, Dvořák made nine invited visits to England, often conducting performances of his own works. His Seventh Symphony was written for London. Visiting Russia in March 1890, he conducted concerts of his own music in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In 1891, Dvořák was appointed as a professor at the Prague Conservatory. In 1890–91, he wrote his Dumky Trio, one of his most successful chamber music pieces.
In 1892, Dvořák moved to the United States and became the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The President of the National Conservatory of Music in America, Jeannette Thurber, offered Dvořák an annual salary of $15,000 – an incredibly lavish sum for the era (equivalent to $488,556 in 2022), twenty-five times what he was paid at the Prague Conservatory. While in the United States, Dvořák wrote his two most successful orchestral works: the Symphony From the New World, which spread his reputation worldwide, and his Cello Concerto, one of the most highly regarded of all cello concerti.
In the summer of 1893, Dvořák moved from New York City to Spillville, Iowa, following the advice of his secretary, J.J. Kovarík. Dvořák had originally planned to come back to Bohemia, but Spillville was made up of mostly Czech immigrants, and thus he felt less homesick; Dvořák referred to it as his “summer Vysoka.” This is where he wrote his most famous piece of chamber music, his String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, which was later nicknamed the American Quartet. Shortly after his time in Iowa, Dvořák extended his contract at the National Conservatory for another two years. However, the economic crisis of April 1893 resulted in Thurber’s husband’s loss of income, and directly influenced the National Conservatory’s funding. Shortfalls in payment of his salary, along with increasing recognition in Europe and an onset of homesickness, led him to leave the United States and return to Bohemia in 1895.
All of Dvořák’s nine operas, except his first, have librettos in Czech and were intended to convey the Czech national spirit, as were some of his choral works. By far the most successful of the operas is Rusalka. Among his smaller works, the seventh Humoresque and the song “Songs My Mother Taught Me” are also widely performed and recorded. He has been described as “arguably the most versatile… composer of his time”.
The Dvořák Prague International Music Festival is a major series of concerts held annually to celebrate Dvořák’s life and works.

The second half of the evenings program is a Maurice Ravel Piano Trio for piano, violin, and cello. It is a chamber work composed in 1914. Dedicated to Ravel’s counterpoint teacher André Gedalge, the trio was first performed in Paris in January 1915, by Alfredo Casella (piano), Gabriel Willaume (violin), and Louis Feuillard (cello). A typical performance of the work lasts about 30 minutes.

In composing the Trio, Ravel was aware of the compositional difficulties posed by the genre: how to reconcile the contrasting sonorities of the piano and the string instruments, and how to achieve balance between the three instrumental voices – in particular, how to make that of the cello stand out from the others, which are more easily heard. In tackling the former problem, Ravel adopted an orchestral approach to his writing: by making extensive use of the extreme ranges of each instrument, he created a texture of sound unusually rich for a chamber work. He employed coloristic effects such as trills, tremolos, harmonics, glissandos, and arpeggios, thus demanding a high level of technical proficiency from all three musicians. Meanwhile, to achieve clarity in texture and to secure instrumental balance, Ravel frequently spaced the violin and cello lines two octaves apart, with the right hand of the piano playing between them.
Inspiration for the musical content of the Trio came from a wide variety of sources, from Basque dance to Malaysian poetry. However, Ravel did not deviate from his usual predilection for traditional musical forms. The Trio follows the standard format for a four-movement classical work, with the outer movements in sonata form flanking a scherzo and trio and a slow movement. Nevertheless, Ravel manages to introduce his own innovations within this conventional framework.
The Trio is written in the key of A minor and consists of four movements:
I. Modéré (A minor – C major)
II. Pantoum (Assez vif) (A minor – F♯ major – F♯ minor – F major – A major)
III. Passacaille (Très large) (F♯ minor)
IV. Final (Animé) (A major)

Joseph Maurice Ravel (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor.

He is often associated with Impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France’s greatest living composer.
Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France’s premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire; he was not well regarded by its conservative establishment, whose biased treatment of him caused a scandal. After leaving the conservatoire, Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity and incorporating elements of modernism, baroque, neoclassicism and, in his later works, jazz. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of development. Renowned for his abilities in orchestration, Ravel made some orchestral arrangements of other composers’ piano music, of which his 1922 version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is the best known.
A slow and painstaking worker, Ravel composed fewer pieces than many of his contemporaries. Among his works to enter the repertoire are pieces for piano, chamber music, two piano concertos, ballet music, two operas and eight song cycles; he wrote no symphonies or church music. Many of his works exist in two versions: first, a piano score and later an orchestration. Some of his piano music, such as Gaspard de la nuit (1908), is exceptionally difficult to play, and his complex orchestral works such as Daphnis et Chloé (1912) require skilful balance in performance.
Ravel was among the first composers to recognise the potential of recording to bring their music to a wider public. From the 1920s, despite limited technique as a pianist or conductor, he took part in recordings of several of his works; others were made under his supervision.
Apart from a one-movement Sonata for Violin and Piano dating from 1899, unpublished in the composer’s lifetime, Ravel wrote seven chamber works. The earliest is the String Quartet (1902–03), dedicated to Fauré, and showing the influence of Debussy’s quartet of ten years earlier. Like the Debussy, it differs from the more monumental quartets of the established French school of Franck and his followers, with more succinct melodies, fluently interchanged, in flexible tempos and varieties of instrumental colour. The Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet (1905) was composed very quickly by Ravel’s standards. It is an ethereal piece in the vein of the Pavane pour une infante défunte. Ravel also worked at unusual speed on the Piano Trio (1914) to complete it before joining the French Army. It contains Basque, Baroque and far Eastern influences, and shows Ravel’s growing technical skill, dealing with the difficulties of balancing the percussive piano with the sustained sound of the violin and cello, “blending the two disparate elements in a musical language that is unmistakably his own,” in the words of the commentator Keith Anderson.
Ravel’s four chamber works composed after the First World War are the Sonata for Violin and Cello (1920–22), the “Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré” for violin and piano (1922), the chamber original of Tzigane for violin and piano (1924) and finally the Violin Sonata (1923–27). The two middle works are respectively an affectionate tribute to Ravel’s teacher, and a virtuoso display piece for the violinist Jelly d’Arányi. The Violin and Cello Sonata is a departure from the rich textures and harmonies of the pre-war Piano Trio: the composer said that it marked a turning point in his career, with thinness of texture pushed to the extreme and harmonic charm renounced in favour of pure melody. His last chamber work, the Violin Sonata (sometimes called the Second after the posthumous publication of his student sonata), is a frequently dissonant work. Ravel said that the violin and piano are “essentially incompatible” instruments, and that his Sonata reveals their incompatibility. Sackville-West and Shawe-Taylor consider the post-war sonatas “rather laboured and unsatisfactory”, and neither work has matched the popularity of Ravel’s pre-war chamber works.

* Dvorak and Ravel information was sourced from WIKIPEDIA.

Next on the Mesquite Weekly is a symphony presentation conducted by Selmer Spitzer at the Mesquite Community Theatre on February 18, 2023, which also features the music work of Antonín Leopold Dvořák. Be sure to watch this space for some of the fine entertainment provided by Dr. Spitzer to our community for more than ten years.

Unleashing Hell from the “Gun Safe Zone” – Revisited Again, Again. Again and Again!

Federal and state legislatures have liberalized gun laws and revised current laws pertaining to dangerous weapons. Recently, existing laws which prohibit a person from carrying guns, including assault weapons, without a permit or any restrictions, have been overturned and churches, schools, universities and even bars are no longer gun free zones.

It is almost impossible to buy assault weapons illegally.
Read more

OSU Rocks Cedar City with “Rock Gold” Spectacular

The Orchestra of Southern Utah performance on February 11, 2023 at the Heritage Theatre was a historic event that literally rocked Cedar City. It was more than just a rocking Rock and Roll trip down memory lane. The magic of the Orchestra, the SUU Choral groups and an assemble of rock performers and their accompanists, the theater lighting and special effects teams turned the show into “Rock Gold” (24k).

The theatre was packed, sold out, and buzzing with excitement in anticipation of this well-advertised standing room only event (word of mouth and the families of the 100-plus performer). If you were among those who could not get a ticket, or you missed Rock Gold you may watch the show here.


Creativity, hard work, diligence and a successful search for excellence resulted in 24k Rock Gold. Hats off to the producers Rebekah Gonzales and Carylee Zwang for all the hard work in this beautiful, spectacular, dazzling, inspiring and entertaining piece of musical and visual art. The producers hope to do more events as entertaining in the future, drawing on local talent and again “bringing down the house”.

The following are excerpts or short outtakes from the Rock Gold concert :

And some more from the OSU YouTube channel:

The Virgin Valley Theatre Group Does “The Hallelujah Girls”

The Virgin Valley Theatre Group performed “The Hallelujah Girls” a hilarious comedy play at the Mesquite Community Theatre During January and February 2023.

The Hallelujah Girls was directed and we believe, also produced by Joy Craig, who was also responsible for the very funny introduction at curtain time.

The cast included some familiar faces from prior shows and a few newcomers adding even more sparkle to the twists and funny turns of this play.

An abandoned church-turned-day-spa is the setting for this hilarious southern comedy. The feisty females of Eden Falls, Georgia gather every Friday afternoon at SPA-DEE-DAH! where unexpected twists and turns challenge the women to overcome obstacles and launch their new, improved lives. This side-splitting, joyful comedy will make you laugh out loud and shout, “Hallelujah!”

If you didn’t see this fun show at the theatre, well then here it is in all its glory. En Joy!











After nearly a year in the making, the play you have been waiting for has finally arrived.

CES 2023 Has Returned to Las Vegas and it is “Face to Face”

Returning to Las Vegas Nevada in January 2023 is the magical, fabulous, wonderful and awe-inspiring wow facture, for now and the near future CES 2023. The Consumer Electronics Show is an annual event returning to Las Vegas after a short absence in 2021 and a relatively small gathering in 2022.

The show is back, promising to be better than ever and “Face to Face” in 2023.
Las Vegas hotels filled up quickly and the strip vehicular traffic was heavy, at times hardly moving. We managed to obtain a hotel suite on the eve of CES 2023, overlooking the strip and the lights of the city center hotels and many more. Here is an introduction and a preview by the Mesquite Weekly editor and publisher Hrothulf.     Enjoy the video!    Enjoy the Show!

Media Day One – Tuesday January 3, 2023

CES Media day one essentially entailed the opening grand event and preview of the latest and greatest – CES Unveiled. Come join us for a walkthrough of that evening’s main event.



Next up is Gary Shapiro, CEO of Consumer Technology Association (CTA) the organization that brings us CES, with opening remarks for the 2023 Show.





Media Day Two – Wednesday January 4, 2023

On the second Media Day I again made my way to Mandalay Bay.

There to see Hisense!





Up next is Kal Penn hosting the Panasonic Press Conference at the Manadalay Bay. Penn is an actor, a White House staffer and an advocate of human sustainability. Penn will present an image of Panasonic which shows the company’s goals to impact the globe and its residents in a positive manner by sustainable means.


After having lunch at the Mandalay Bay we moved on to the Aria. A change of venue and a change of direction brings us from corporate presentations to discussion panels. We divided our attention between discussion topics on technological impacts on how we shop (search and discover), the media we use (rehash of what is hot and cold) and how Walmart sees and uses data.
It is as always about information gathering and analyzing data with a new twist that will turn us all on our heads. Although focus on AI was not on this discussion, you can bet that AI is here and you aint seen notin yet!


Thats a wrap on the CES 2023 Media Days! We will move on the CES 2023 conference and will be bring you latest and greatest new innovations, gadgets and other stuff that will razzle and dazzle and will get your mojo moving again. Watch this space for so much more to come during the next few months until we do it all over again in January 2024.

OSU’s 2019 “Messiah” – Encore – Great Past Performances for a Festive Season

In December of 2019, I had the privilege of attending a rehearsal session of Handel’s Messiah and meeting the Orchestra of Southern Utah Administrator, Patron and Historian, Sara Penny. We spoke with Sara and talked at length about the Orchestra of Southern Utah origins and historical events. Sara provided an overview of those who contributed to the unique character of Cedar City’s musical excellence and community participation. From Fiddlers Canyon, to the Heritage Center concert hall; from the beginnings of the Orchestra of Southern Utah and to the many accomplishments, accolades and awards.

Earlier that day I visited the Main Street park and came upon a statue of one of Cedar City’s most prominent citizens, Helen Foster Snow. Ties to the Orchestra of Southern Utah as Sara Penny explained, are established and play out in relationships that are nurtured and transcend the boundaries of both time and place. A unique interplay of Cedar City’s communities and families with their local government and businesses and a strong relationship with the Southern Utah University College of the Performing Arts provides an unparalleled measure of musical success and excellence.

Please join me for a visit with Sara Penny. You may note some of the rehearsal music playing in the background, so listen and watch this interview!





The Players

The most notable of the players, is of course, from a time long ago.

George Frideric Handel
(German: Georg Friedrich Händel; pronounced [ˈhɛndəl]) (23 February 1685 — 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727.[1] By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Within fifteen years, Handel, a dramatic genius, started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class with Alexander’s Feast (1736) which was well received. Handel then made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique ended. The pathos of Handel’s oratorio is an ethical one, they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity.[2] Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, not only because of his Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrument interest in Handel’s opera seria also revived. Handel composed forty operas in about thirty years; some are considered masterpieces, with many sweeping arias and much admired improvisations. His operas contain remarkable human characterization by a composer not known for his love affairs.

The more current players and performers are:

Dr. Xun Sun – Conductor
Dr. Xun Sun has served as the Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah since 2003. Dr. Sun has made many appearances over the years in concert series and educational programs. Under his leadership, the OSU world premiered the symphonic suite Spanish Trail Suite by Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In June 2008, the League of American Orchestras presented OSU with an Award of Excellence in the Annual Gold Book Online competition and an Audrey Baird Audience Development Award, making OSU the only orchestra to receive these awards from the League of American Orchestras that year.
Dr. Xun Sun is also the Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University. As a tenured faculty member, his teaching duties include that of conducting the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble. In addition, he teaches courses in Advanced Instrumental Conducting and Applied Instruction of Violin at the Music Department. Dr. Xun Sun has been named The 30 Professions of the Year of 2015 by Musical America. He also received award of 2015 Educator of the Year Award from American String Teachers Association Utah Chapter, and 2014 Board of Trustees Award of Excellence by Southern Utah University.

Professor Xun Sun has continually broadened his professional career as an orchestral conductor. His most recent performance was conducting Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony and Hubei Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the world renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra in recording a new CD of title on America Journey , music by American composers Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Lviv Philharmonic in the 8th International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine. Mr. Sun also conducted Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susanna, the opera of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. In 2011 he conducted the world premiere of the Modern Dance Drama Helen’s Dream combined production of SUU and Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre of China. As the founder and director, Professor Sun continues to teach the annual Hunan Conductor’s Workshop in Hunan, China.

Jackie Riddle-Jackson – Chorale Director.                 A native of Cedar City, Utah, Jackie was appointed Director of Orchestra of Southern Utah Chorale in 2015. In addition to her community conducting responsibilities she teaches applied voice, music for the elementary teacher and class voice at Southern Utah University.
Mrs. Jackson is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing.


                          Gary Player – Trumpet                                           Gary Player a Southern Utah University Alumni is featured in this 79th. performance of Messiah and is being honored for his dedication to this and many other Orchestra of Southern Utah and Southern Utah University concert performances.


       Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel – Harpsicord           Dr. Bohnenstengel brings his keyboard skills to Handel’s Messiah and a harpsicord performance which embodies the instruments role in the classical baroque musical sound of the 17th and 18th century.

      Alex Byers – Assistant Chorale Director                            And the Byers Family – Soloists (Alex, Tahlia, Jessie) and Chorale (Lee, Luene)
The Byers family brings their vocal talents to Messiah and their dedication to this musical art form by inspiring, teaching and developing ongoing musical involvement of the families and communities of Cedar City and its surrounds. The traditions of musical performance and dedication to the musical art form is woven into the fabric of the community and is expressed by its families.

And the More Than One Hundred Singers and Players

The dedication of the more than one hundred singers and players who come together to dazzle audiences around Christmas time with a spectacular performance of Haendel’s Messiah is indeed a remarkable and unique phenomenon.

Almost at curtain time we had the privilege of talking to just a few of the folks that helped in making this 79th Orchestra of Southern Utah performance of Handel’s Messiah a dazzling and beautifully amazing event. Please join me and Rebekah Hughes OSU Manager, Dr. Xun Sun OSU Musical Director and Harold Shirley OSU President for brief comments and an introduction by Harold Shirley of this 79th performance of Handel’s Messiah.

The Oratorio – Handel’s Messiah

And now, please kick back, relax and enjoy the full presentation of “Handel’s Messiah” from the Cedar City, Utah Heritage Center 2019 Performance. Please note, Handel’s Messiah is a TWO HOUR performance and is presented here in its entirety. Please watch all of it.

Please visit the Our Desert Symphony Orchestra Archives for more great performance from our local Symphony Orchestras:

The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra Present a Salute To America’s Veterans

The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra opened its 2022-2023 season with a “Salute to Veterans and their Families” at the Mesquite Community Theatre on November 12, 2022.

In the event that you were not able to attend in person, the Mesquite Weekly is proud to present a video recording produced by Paul Broussard for your viewing pleasure:








Dr. Selmer Spitzer conducted the orchestra who performed a concert program appropriate for a “Salute to Veterans”.












The players were:














Special Guest Musicians:

With the passing of the seasons, we also must say farewell to Dr. Ann Rice, a dear and dedicated friend to the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.

Competitive Primary Races Lead to Slight GOP Voter Share Gain

June was primary election month with the competitive and most visible races concentrated in the Republican primary. Because of this, voter registration numbers for June saw the Republican Party increasing voter share across the board with minor parties losing. Non-Partisan fluctuation was mixed. Voter share of those not registered as either Democratic or Republican remains the largest voting block statewide and in Clark and Washoe counties. Non-Partisan remains the largest group among voters 18 to 34 years of age and when combined with minor party registration is hovering around 50 percent.

Douglas Goodman provides additional details of voter registration and party affiliation trends on the “Nevadans for Election Reform Website”:

Competitive Primary Races Lead to Slight GOP Voter Share Gain

On July 3, 2022, Nevada Voters First turned in over 266,000 signatures to bring top-five open primaries and ranked choice voting to Nevada. We only needed 140,000. Once verified, the referendum initiative will be on the ballot in November.

This is a significant step forward for representative government in Nevada and the voters will decide in November. An informed vote will assure progress towards representative government for voters and not for the big money interests and legislative influence. Watch this site for more about that.

We first reported on the lack of representative government in Nevada when we covered the 2018 primary elections. Here is that blast from the past whose reality still haunts our election system today.

Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra Closes the 2022 Season with “A Symphonic Tribute to Peace”

The Mesquite Weekly proudly features the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra and presents a musical tribute and our hats off to the folks who bring big city symphony performances to our small corner of southeastern Nevada and the Virgin River Valley. The 2022 season closed with “A Symphonic Tribute to Peace” on April 23, 2022, at the Mesquite Community Theatre.


Dr. Selmer Spitzer conducted the orchestra and five pieces from the “Les Misérables” by Claude Michel Schoenberg were highlighted in the performance.

If you were not able to see and hear the symphony on April 23, 2022, here is a video of the entire performance for your viewing and listening pleasure. This is the final concert for the 2022 season.

The 2023 SNSO season will open in November 2022, and we hope to see all of you again this fall.

The SNSO finale featured an encore performance of “Do You Hear the People Sing” from the popular musical “Les Misérables”. The concert snippet is presented here for your viewing pleasure: