Under the stars at Deer Valley

Tabernacle Choir, Utah Symphony perform together at ski resort

PARK CITY, Utah — It is safe assumption that mountain ski resorts and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are two of Utah's best-known and most valued assets. Remarkable, therefore, that the choir had never performed at any of the famous resorts in Utah's Summit County.

That changed on July 28 when the choir, under the baton of music director Craig Jessop, teamed with its occasional collaborator, the Utah Symphony Orchestra, for a concert under the stars at the Deer Valley resort.

Part of the orchestra's summer-long Deer Valley Music Festival, the performance was attended by casually dressed spectators who relaxed on blankets and lawn chairs and munched on picnic fare while reveling in Stravinsky, Dvorak, Rachmaninoff and Rimsky-Korsakov.

Perhaps the most memorable offering of the evening was not on the printed program, but rather a surprise encore: a performance of John Williams' "Call of the Champions," the theme song composed expressly for performance by the choir and symphony at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Director Jessop acknowledged what the audience already knew and appreciated: that there was no more appropriate setting for the performance of the song than Park City, where many of the events of the 2002 Games occurred.

With the setting sun casting a subdued and placid light over the mountain amphitheater, the choir and orchestra opened the concert with two works by Ralph Vaughn Williams: "O Clap Your Hands," a musical setting for the 47th Psalm, and "Serenade to Music," with words from Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice."

The program then turned again to the Book of Psalms for Igor Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms," spotlighting the 39th, 40th and 150th Psalms.

"Three Glorias" combined works by Anton Dvorak, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

For the second half of the concert, the choir and orchestra led off with the famous Leroy Robertson arrangement of "Come, Come, Ye Saints," followed by Ennio Morricone's "On Earth as It Is in Heaven."

The Mack Wilberg arrangement of "Four American Folk Hymns," presented during the choir's recent Pioneer Day Concert in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, rounded out the program and included the popular "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

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