5 things to enjoy in Park City during the Deer Valley® Music Festival

Park City is one of Utah’s hidden jewels. The people are friendly, the streets are historic, and there is always some fun event going on! Are you attending the Deer Valley® Music Festival and want to explore the city beforehand or do you want to stay and play after the concert? Here is a list of fun things to do during your Deer Valley® Music Festival weekend excursion.

#1 Enjoy the great outdoors

Park City is home to many incredible hiking and biking trails. You can take guided historical hikes, walk to scenic viewpoints, or push yourself to the limits with mountain peak trails. The Deer Valley Resort, alone, has 70 miles of biking trails that spread over 6 mountains! Come to explore the outdoors and then spend an evening relaxing at the Deer Valley® Music Festival.

#2 Relax at outdoor concerts

Park City’s music scene is thriving, with performances fitting every budget and preference. The Deer Valley® Music Festival is the summer home of Utah Symphony |Utah Opera (USUO). Escape into the music with Utah Symphony and world-renowned guest artists for a magical night on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort. You might even see us around town. This summer we’re hosting free pop-up community concerts featuring Utah Symphony ensembles, our Utah Opera Resident artists and more.

#3 Savor some fine dining

Park City has many food and wine events throughout the year. Summer is one of the best times to explore food-related activities the city has to offer. There are food tours of Historic Main Street, culinary classes, and wine tastings with Fox School of Wine, Park City Wine Club, and Utah Wine Tours. One popular local event is the Mines & Wines tour that explores artisan wines and local mining history every Saturday during the summer. Not to mention, Park City is home to some amazing restaurants. Spend the afternoon tasting and exploring history before enjoying an evening under the stars.

#4 Take an art stroll

Many art strolls and art festivals take place during the summer in Park City. The Last Friday Gallery Stroll is a fun and free event that takes place the last Friday of every month during the summer. At this event, you can walk through art galleries and experience the local art scene without breaking the bank. The Kimball Arts Festival is held the first weekend in August. This event includes kids’ art classes, “make it and take it” activities, vendors, displays, and more. Come to the Kimball Arts Festival and then enjoy a concert that night!

#5 Make some memories with your family

Many activities that take place in Park City are family friendly. One of the local favorites is the Park Silly Sunday Market that takes place every Sunday of the summer season. Main street is sectioned off for the event, food trucks and vendors sell wares, families, and children explore booths and activities, and Utah Symphony ensembles will perform on the outdoor stage. Experiencing the Utah Olympic Park is another way to thrill families of all ages. It’s a great place to enjoy exhilarating tubing, a high ropes course, zip lining, outdoor bobsledding, tour the Olympic facilities and museums, and more. Exploring the Utah Olympic Park is a family-friendly way to pass the time before your concert that evening.

With many activities and events to keep you busy, I’m sure your Deer Valley® Music Festival weekend excursion will be a big hit! Check out our concert schedule here.

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9 Inspiring Quotes from Thierry Fischer’s USU Commencement Speech

Photo credit: Utah State University

You can feel the anticipation in the air. Imagine the feeling of getting ready to graduate from college after four years of hard work and dedication and seeing your future in front of you. Perhaps there is a sense of fear for not knowing what it holds, but for anyone who has stared their future square in the face, they know the feelings of hope and excitement it brings.

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, Maestro Thierry Fischer spoke to a room of graduating Utah State University students and shared some inspiring words of wisdom. The university also conferred on him (as well as several others) an honorary doctorate to recognize his sacrifices and dedication to instilling positive change in the world.

Below are some of the most inspiring quotes from his speech:

#1 “I feel like the future of tomorrow is here in this wonderful stadium today. You are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. But to be a leader doesn’t mean you need to be famous—you are the leaders of yourselves and that’s what matters.”

#2 “How can I have an impact? Should I be a participant or actor? Those questions are a unique opportunity to make you see what a privilege it is to have questions. The questions should not be a burden—they are your opportunity to make the world better.”

Photo credit: Utah State University

#3 “It is time to share your voice. Talk about your dreams… your aspirations.”

#4 “The only person who can give you advice is yourself.”

#5 “If you feel discouragement, cynicism, sarcasm, let down—by your leaders or by yourself—from my experience with the symphony, these feelings are an opportunity and look for a vision. Look for the way you want to create your own life. No other destiny than you want for yourself. No dream you cannot reach. It’s a good time to be inventive.”

Photo credit: Utah State University

#6 “Think, hope, dream, dare—shoot for the today you want for tomorrow.”

#7 “This feeling of expressing yourself in a collective is something that that happens in the symphony every day. Never forget—you are not alone. Discovering what you can do for the world is the most important thing. You make your own future. You make your own destiny.”

#8 “You can’t have failures define you. You have to have failures teach you.”

#9 “Have fun. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Create possibilities in the world of today which is full of possibilities.”

Photo credit: Utah State University

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Deer Valley® Music Festival celebrates 15 years


During the summer months when Abravanel Hall lies quiet to the reverberating sounds of classical music, the hills surrounding Park City come to life as the Utah Symphony retreats to its summer home at the Deer Valley® Music Festival (DVMF). Founded in 2003, the vision of the Deer Valley® Music Festival is to deliver a high quality and musically diverse experience in casual settings of unparalleled natural beauty – full orchestra concerts take place at a stunning outside hillside venue located at Deer Valley Resort.

The six-week festival provides as many as 18 chamber music, classical, and pops concerts in several venues throughout Park City: the Deer Valley® Resort Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, St. Mary’s Church, and salon events in private homes in the Park City area.

Over the years, the festival has supported big-name stars including Earth, Wind and Fire, Tony Bennett, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Beach Boys, Jewel, and Broadway legends such as Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison and Leslie Odom Jr.

As part of the educational outreach mission of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the festival education events offered three sessions of Pro-Am Clinics, in which Utah Symphony members coached 49 area community orchestra musicians and music students from Park City High School in strings, woodwinds, and brass sections.  Over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, Summit County school participation in Utah Symphony | Utah Opera education programs totaled 1,710 students and 85 teachers from nine schools.

But what has been more telling is the explosive growth that has seen audience numbers increase by 80 percent since the festival’s inception back in 2003 – even the last 2017 season reported a ticket sales increase of 25 percent from the previous year. The festival began under the direction of Utah Symphony Music Director Keith Lockhart and Utah Symphony & Opera President & CEO Anne Ewers.

And the resulting economic indicators illustrate the positive impact of the festival on boosting the region’s local economy as it continues to attract concertgoers from outside the area in search of the outdoor orchestral experience. Of more than 47,000 tickets distributed during the 2017 season, 78 percent went to non-Summit County residents, the majority of whom resided in Salt Lake, Utah, and Davis counties.

These festival patrons continue to boost the Summit County tourist economy through activities surrounding their concert attendance. Of the respondents to a 2017 post-festival survey, 87 percent indicated that they had eaten at a Summit County restaurant in conjunction with a DVMF concert, 64 percent went shopping, 48 percent visited Park City’s historic Main Street, and 17 percent visited the Utah Olympic Park.

What does the continued growth trajectory and exciting future mean for the 15th anniversary of the festival? A hootenanny “Barn Bash” of epic proportions is being planned at Blue Sky Ranch in celebration of 15 years of summer music in the mountains. The Western-themed fundraiser will feature a musical performance by American country group, Asleep at the Wheel. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please contact Heather Weinstock at 801.869.9011 or email her at vipevents@usuo.org.

For more information, visit our website here.

As a resident of Park City, Director of Communications Renée Huang first fell in love with summer in the mountains while attending Deer Valley Music Festival outdoor orchestra concerts. As the festival celebrates its 15 year anniversary in 2018, she takes a look at the growth and impact it has had on the local economy.

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Get to know our volunteers!

We have over 600 volunteers annually that work as hosts, gift shop volunteers, light walkers, supernumeraries, docents, special events, Youth Guild, Guild, Gala, ushers, ticket takers, and more. We couldn’t function without the endless hours they dedicate to Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. Enjoy getting to know two of our wonderful volunteers and join us by emailing volunteers@usuo.org.

Anne Polinsky is a Utah native and has lived here and in Idaho.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in accounting but is now retired. She also volunteers for several other local organizations, including Sundance Film Festival and Park City Art Festival.

How long have you been a USUO volunteer and what do you love most about being volunteering here? Carolyn Holloway was the person who first got me involved and we think it’s about 2006, so just over a decade! I enjoy working with the other volunteers and the patrons.  It’s nice to see the outreach that USUO does, and the younger people from Youth Guild and students attending performances.

Do you have any memorable moments or concerts? What made them so enjoyable? I think one of my favorite concerts (among many) is the first time I saw Pink Martini at Deer Valley and how the audience reacted to their talent.

Why is it important to you that you have classical music and opera in your life? I made a New Year’s resolution a couple of years ago to have more music in my life and this was a perfect way to do it. It not only helps with relaxation, but I’ve read that it also helps one’s brain from deteriorating, and who doesn’t love that?


Whit Wirsing was born in Roanoke, Virginia. He has a degree in philosophy from Virginia Tech and a degree in Spanish from the University of Utah. He teaches English as a second language for the Granite District and Continuing Education department at the University of Utah and Lumos School. He is the author of the “Ultimate Spanish Phrase Finder” published by McGraw Hill in 2009. Whit is most often seen at the symphony intermission receptions acting as the head “sommelier.” His beautiful origami cranes add a bright spot to the tables.

How long have you been a USUO volunteer and what do you love most about being volunteering here? I’ve been volunteering since September 2011. I enjoy several things about volunteering.  I want people to enjoy the experience of coming to the symphony, to have a good time, and want to come back.  Second, I like the people that I work with.

Do you have any memorable moments or concerts? What made them so enjoyable? I remember the night of a post-reception when the whole orchestra, the staff and the board were in attendance.  The champagne was flowing, and everyone was in high spirits. Another night that was memorable was about 3 years ago when it was a Latino night.  I loved that because I speak Spanish, and the Latino community that likes classical music fits like glove with the rest of the music-loving community. 

Why is it important to you that you have classical music and opera in your life? My grandmother was a concert pianist.  She mostly played with symphonies in the Roanoke and southwest Virginia area, but once she played Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations.  I have a CD of it, and my CD is no better than what my grandmother played that night.  My mother also played the piano (she died when I was 12), and both my aunts played.  So it’s in the blood.  I can’t imagine life without it.  And we are the organization for people whose love of music is in their blood. 


Melissa Robison is our Front of House and Publication Manager who also managers our Volunteer Network and has the pleasure of working with over 600 volunteers each season.

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What to pack in your Deer Valley® Music Festival picnic basket

This summer will be filled with sun, songs, and snacks for us! One of the best parts of the Deer Valley® Music Festival is enjoying tasty snacks while listening to live music. Do you know what you’re going to put in your picnic basket? If not, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks for local purveyors who pack some punch to whet your festival foodie appetite.

Cremenelli Fine Meats

Creminelli family legend alleges that they’ve been crafting meats in Italy since before the 1800s, but it was Master Artisan owner and founder Cristiano Creminelli who brought that age-old tradition to Utah. With that kind of history and dedication to their craft, you’d better believe that their artisanal charcuterie products are good! They have great on-the-go options which will fit perfectly in your DVMF picnic basket.

Beehive Cheese Co.

If you’re looking for the perfect thing to pair with your meat plate, Beehive Cheese Co. has just the thing for you. Since 2005, brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford have perfected unique, award-winning offerings like the Barely Buzzed which is hand rubbed with espresso and lavender, and the Hatch Chile with a sweet spicy kick, all made in their Northern Utah facility.

Red Bicycle Breadworks

You can’t have a meat and cheese plate without good bread to go with it. Since you’re already in Park City for the Deer Valley Music Festival, stop by The Market for their “crack bread” that has a buttered popcorn flavor from olive oil and sea salt.

The Chocolate Conspiracy

Top your basket off with a little dessert! The Chocolate Conspiracy offers sweet treats for the true chocolate enthusiast. Load up on candy bars, truffles and more.

Garwood’s Ginger Beer

If you’re feeling adventurous, wash down your concert snacks with local Salt Lake-produced Garwood’s Ginger Beer. They are a “symphony in a bottle” according to the owners, so it’s a perfect pairing for your concert experience. You can buy these tart, non-alcoholic drinks at places all over the valley like Liberty Heights Fresh, The Hive Winery, and Harmons.

Now that you have your snacks planned, which concerts are you going to?

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Pardon Our Dust: Abravanel Hall Plaza Construction

The plaza in front of Abravanel Hall is getting a much needed makeover this year. Most of the concrete and the fountain in the front will be removed to make way for new greenery, sidewalks and walkways. The new plans call for better lighting and sign fixtures as well as grey and white concrete with accents in warm tones including browns and gold.

Abravanel Hall Courtyard

Abravanel Hall Courtyard

Abravanel Hall Courtyard

Abravanel Hall Courtyard

This does mean that access to the plaza and east entrance to the lobby will be cut off until Spring 2015. A safety fence will stretch along South Temple, West Temple and the lawn, removing access through the front doors. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to enter Abravanel Hall. There are three entrances to the lobby of Abravanel Hall. To enter directly into the lobby and bypass the congestion at the ticket office, go up the stairs near the ticket office and enter through the doors on the lobby’s west side. Another option is the main entrance to the ticket office, which can be found on the north side, with access from South Temple. If you already have your tickets and want to avoid the stairs by taking the elevator, we recommend going down the alley on the west side of the building entering through the west doors. The UTA Temple Square Trax stop is located right across from Abravanel Hall and there is a crosswalk to the west that will take you directly to the entrances which will be open. If you have difficulties walking or navigating, we suggest that you park near the Salt Palace or at the Plaza Hotel.


Abravanel Hall Entry Map

Abravanel Hall Entry Map during Construction

The plaza will be closed through Spring 2015, so please plan your trips accordingly.

If you have any problems with getting into Abravanel Hall, call the ticket office for detailed descriptions on perfect parking areas and entering the Hall during construction.

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Mother Nature and Music: A Mighty 5® Fan Account from Andrew Wilson

Two of my absolute favorite pastimes are: 1) spending time enjoying the great outdoors and 2) experiencing live music. These are also two of the main reasons why I love living in Utah, am proud to be a Utahn, and that I thoroughly enjoy my job. When there were rumblings at work that we were putting together the Mighty 5® Tour, my interest was piqued and I kept my fingers crossed that I would be able to assist with the tour and hopefully go along! Flash forward and now I’m in Moab staring out my hotel window at the redrock that I began a lifelong fascination as a kid. The icing on the cake? I get to share this experience with my mum at my side, as she decided to join in and volunteer for the tour!

rock formation

Don’t sneeze! An awesome example of the great rock formations in Southern Utah!

Contine reading

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There is absolutely no way that the Mighty 5® Tour could happen without having volunteers to help run and organize the show. The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera have always been deeply indebted to our volunteers and this experience is no different.

I had the chance to talk to Melissa Robison our Volunteer Coordinator, and Publication and Front of House Manager. She has been working hard on working with and training volunteers to make the Mighty 5® Tour spectacular.

Also, if you want to volunteer (and get into these sold out shows), you can still sign up! Just contact Melissa (her number is at the bottom).

USUO: How do you get enough volunteers to make everything work?
Melissa: When we decided we were going to do this tour, we knew it would be impossible to take our awesome volunteer network with us. Fortunately for us, our Education Department already reaches down to Southern Utah, so we decided to look at local volunteers. We created a flier and sent it out to the Chamber of Commerce and arts and local schools and reached out that way to gather volunteers. We did a lot on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, too. Contine reading

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