SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox says that Utah Symphony's "Forever Mighty" tour will merge world-class music with the magnificent landscapes of Utah in a way that inspires the soul.
The Utah Symphony announced the tour on Thursday as part of Utah's 125th-anniversary celebration. The return of the symphony tours signify that the arts and cultural sector of Utah are on the road to recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jill Remington Love, the executive director of the Utah Department of Culture and Community Engagement.
"We are ready to create again and to attend these live events. Utah's 125 years of statehood has given us an opportunity to bring new towns together to celebrate at a time where we need community connections. Thrive125 celebrates statehood in that way and in a way that matters to all Utahns. The celebrations have included a broader array of voices and has given us the opportunity both to explore the history and create the best of Utah," Remington Love said.
The orchestra will travel to rural communities throughout the state to perform in front of some of Utah's most scenic backdrops. Cox said that the decision to travel to those communities demonstrates an attempt to close the arts and cultural divide between rural, urban and suburban America.
"There is an assumption that sometimes this type of art is kind of highbrow and just for the wealthy or the super educated and I'm trying desperately to change that. Throughout history, the arts have been a way to inspire, a way to help people learn, a way to help people dream and to connect with one another, and we need that. We need that regardless of how much money you make, regardless of your education status. We all need those opportunities to connect with each other and learn," said Cox.
Cox pointed to the cost and distance of events as a potential barrier. The Forever Mighty tour concerts are free for citizens across the state, something Cox said is remarkable.
I've often said that the magnificent landscapes of Utah inspire the soul and the music of the Utah Symphony inspires the soul. And when you put those two things together, magic truly happens.
–Utah Gov. Spencer Cox
"I applaud the Utah Symphony, for their willingness to travel across the state, bringing free concerts to celebrate Utah's western heritage, its national parks and natural beauty, the arts, and so much more," said Cox.
He continued, "I've often said that the magnificent landscapes of Utah inspire the soul and the music of the Utah Symphony inspires the soul. And when you put those two things together, magic truly happens. Nowhere else really in the world can a local world-class symphony unite with such a diversity of landscapes in such a powerful way."
The tour dates and locations are as follows:
- Aug. 10: Cache Valley, at the foot of the Wellsville Mountains at the American West Heritage Center
- Aug. 11: Helper, on Main Street
- Aug. 12: The rim of Bryce Canyon, at Ruby's Inn
- Aug. 13: Kanab at Angels Landing, in a natural amphitheater at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- Aug. 14: O.C. Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale, with the cliffs of Zion Canyon as a backdrop
Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer said that Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and "Nimrod" by Edward Elgar are among the pieces being performed by the orchestra.
Fischer said he choose Beethoven's Seventh because it's his most "optimistic" and hopes that the choice will bring a special energy to the audience. The Utah Symphony also chose "Nimrod" because it's usually played to commemorate and honor those who've died.
"We wanted to show our thoughts and solidarity with all the families in America who suffered the hard way in the last 16 months," said Fischer.
A 22-year-old Utah native, Aubree Oliverson, will also be joining the Utah Symphony on tour for the concerts in Wellsville, Bryce Canyon and Springdale. The violinist made her solo debut with the Utah Symphony at the age of 11.
Tickets for performances are free and available Friday, May 28, at noon at utahsymphony.org.