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”.
Unfortunately, the following could only be viewed at the live performance:
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.
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!
…….. “SEARCH AND DISCOVER” ……. “THE MESSAGE IS THE MEDIA” ……. “WALMART’S DATA”
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.
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 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. 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. 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 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:
The month of March is a time when life begins anew, and the Virgin Valley is awash with the colors of flowery blooms and the sounds of love are in the air. This is the story of such an event, and it is presented here as an original Musical Melodrama by the Virgin Valley Theatre Group. “Wedding Bell Blues’ or “How the Virgin Valley go its groove on”. It is presented here in its entirety for those of you who were not able to see it live during its two-week run-in March at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
The musical is also a look back to an era that many of us can barely remember. The producer/writers have recreated that time and jolted our memories with the music and the dress and the mannerism of the sixties in a most effective way. The play acting is unique and genuine. The costumes although somewhat over the top, are colorful and quite amusing. The music is true to form. The songsters are very talented and bring back a few of the oldies that will make this ride through memory lane … memorable. The half time entertainment is a joy to watch.
Here a few out-takes and they feature the performances of the Choir “Do You Believe in Magic” performed by Jerrie Clark, Mitzi Bender and Susan Kjellson, “You’ve Got the Magic Touch” performed by Maria Palmer and “I Got You Babe” performed by John Sadler and Kathleen Bartley and a special presentation of the Lifelong Dancers doing the Loco-Motion.
The Producer/Writers Nancy Arnold and Susan Kjellson told us their story and how they helped the Virgin Valley “get it groove on”. Nancy was also the Director for the play. You can hear them speak of the passion and the joy of putting this wonderful experience together just for our listing and viewing pleasure. More importantly, they had fun doing it.
Please join me in giving our thanks to the actors, singers musicians and the many behind-the-scenes volunteers who put on this show for our enjoyment and entertainment.
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 opened with “A Symphonic Holiday” symphony on February 19, 2022, at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
Concert Master Walter White was featured and provided a violin solo playing “Czardas” by Vittorio Monti.
Dr. Selmer Spitzer conducted the orchestra and six pieces from the “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin were highlighted in the performance.
If you were not able to see and hear the symphony on February 19, 2022, here is a video of the entire performance for your viewing and listening pleasure.
Watch this space for information on the Symphony’s next performance on April 23, 2022.
They came to Mesquite from all around the country to participate in long distance running races on top of the Flat Top Mesa. Thirty-six runners gathered at the Virgin Valley water tank around sunrise and began their 50-km, 50-mile, 100-km and 100-mile (actually 104 miles) races by ascending the one-mile steep winding trail to the top of Flat Top Mesa.
Fast forward to late afternoon and the 50-km and 50-mile contestants who were nearing the finish line. Here are some thoughts from the finishers of those amazing accomplishments:
Following the sunset, the temperature plummeted, and the chill was further intensified by the winds kicking up from the northwest. Despite the cold, the dark and treacherous terrain, the runners continued their quest to throughout the night and the next day.
We returned the next day around sunset to cheer on the final runners along with their fans and supporters during this 35 hour+ push to the finish. The runners shared their experience with their comments:
The complete results of the 4 races and the 36 ultra-runners may be viewed on the ultrarunning website: Ultra Running Website
And so, the spring 2022 Flat Top Mesa Ultra Marathon comes to an end, and we celebrate this remarkable event and this beautiful end of the day with this:
The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra is back. It is the title of the Symphony’s first performance since March 2020 and a dazzling performance was turned in by the conductor Dr. Selmer Spitzer and the many talented orchestra performers.
Dr. Selmer Spitzer and his team of the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra (SNSO) have been providing a world class symphony for more than eight years. Much of the talent that is recruited by Dr. Spitzer is from the Mesquite, Moapa and Virgin River Valley. The November 13, 2021 “The Symphony is Back” provided a fantastic musical performance to a sold-out crowd at the Mesquite Community Theatre.
The performance was dedicated to Dr. Ann Rice. Dr. Rice has championed the cause of bringing world class entertainment to our local community and supported the symphony since its founding some eight years ago by serving on the SNSO board of directors and with generous financial contributions.
If you were not able to see and hear our symphony on November 13, 2021, here is a video of the entire performance for your viewing and listening pleasure.