The Great American Road Trip: Best of Bluff

If you’re stopping by Bluff on your way to the Utah Symphony’s Great American Road Trip performance here are some great places the locals recommend visiting.

Enjoy a meal at the Comb Ridge Bistro

This American style café has a long-standing tradition in the Bluff area. Established in 2005, Comb Ridge used to be a Navajo Twins Trading Post in the early 1970s. With excellent service and ambiance, the Bistro’s menu offers delicious food for every meal and includes a wide selection of alcoholic beverages for your enjoyment. The Comb Ridge Bistro supports the work of talented local artists displaying various landscape paintings, Navajo inspired artwork, and traditional stone jewelry.

Visit the restored Bluff Fort Historical Site

The Bluff Fort visitors center offers free guided tours daily with engaging staff ready to show you around and answer your questions Learn the history of the Mormon pioneers, who settled in Bluff, through audio-visual displays, a fully loaded covered wagon, and photography of the early residents and more. Take the chance to dress in pioneer attire and take a picture pulling an authentic pioneer handcart.

Walk the Hole In the Rock Trail

Through some of the most rugged and unforgiving terrain in North America, the Hole in the Rock Trail was built by the pioneers in 1879-80. The trail received its name from a crevice the colonizers utilized to gain access to the Colorado River gorge. Make unforgettable memories with a visit the trail! Marvel at its beauty and remember the challenges overcome by the original Bluff settlers.

Are you still not convinced this will be the best musical road trip of your life? Just take a look at this:


See you on the road!

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Get the Most out of the Great American Road Trip

It’s just not summer without an unforgettable road trip – and this summer, we’re embarking on an adventure to southern Utah. Pack a bag and plan for our concerts in Springdale, Bluff, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Goblin Valley State Park, and Vernal Brewing Company.

To make your trip even more memorable, here are our recommendations:

First Things First

Forget about the concert hall because we’ll be performing in the great outdoors! Since we’re outside, you won’t want to forget about the necessities. Bring something to sit on (a camping chair or blanket), a sweater for when it gets cold, bug repellant, sunscreen, and an umbrella (just in case!)

Pack a Picnic

The best part of being in an outdoor venue is that you can bring snacks. You could always bring sandwiches and celery sticks, or you could always make your picnic special by trying a new recipe or picking something up from a favorite local spot like Swig in St. George.

Make Memories

You’ll want to remember this extraordinary experience! Don’t forget to pack your camera and (dare we say it?) a selfie stick so you can capture incredible memories at the concert. We love connecting with people at our concerts, so follow and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and tag your photos with #utahsymphonyroadtrip.

Tune into a Playlist

What’s a road trip without the perfect playlist? Whether you’re traveling from Salt Lake to Springdale or from Blanding to Bluff, we have the ideal music to set the mood for your journey. Get a preview of our repertoire for the concert or listen to a list of music inspired by the majestic night sky of southern Utah.

Stay for a Star Party

The best part about being in southern Utah is being under the stars. Take your concert experience to a new level by staying after the concert for a star party. This collaboration between us, the University of Utah’s Consortium for Dark Sky Studies, and the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative will allow you to explore the night sky through lectures provided by park rangers and local astronomers, as well as have viewing opportunities on high-powered telescopes.

Register for a star party here.

You won’t want to miss these free concerts and star parties, so get your tickets here. Bon voyage!

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Beautiful Music, Stunning Vistas: A Mighty 5® Fan Account from Jeff Albertson

It’s not often I have the time, or the inclination, to see a symphony. As a former Navy deep sea diver, survival instructor, and pilot rescue swimmer, my interests were strictly in the physical world. My hobbies have always been in that direction as well. Then we (my wife and I) had a child, and my world grew. I now have four amazing kids, all different, all disparate in their interests. But that first one, while into many things, found her passion in the arts. It’s because of that interest I learned about symphony and opera; wonderful art forms I knew nothing about.

Fast forward to the present. My purpose for being in Utah is to move my second youngest daughter to college at Utah State (GO AGGIES). In the course of that process, we are spending time with my oldest, who now works for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera.

Ashley and Jeff Albertson

Ashley and Jeff Albertson exploring the national parks during the Mighty 5 Tour.

We have hiked the wonderful trails of Arches National Park. The Red Rock. The Delicate Arch. The massive, stunning vistas. Amazing. Humbling. And the Utah Symphony was in the midst of its Mighty 5® Tour. Symphony concerts set around the various parks; the concert I saw in Moab was stirring and beautiful. And as limited as my knowledge of the classics is, I found myself familiar with nearly every piece. Voices of Spring, sung by Celena Shafer, was not only strong, but also so appropriate given the setting. And Summertime (from Porgy & Bess) is always a personal favorite. I’d advise anyone to take some time to go see the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera in a venue near you, or in their Salt Lake City home.

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VIP at the Mighty 5®

Natalie Cope is the Special Events Manager for the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. It is her job to coordinate events and activities for our VIP guests. The Mighty 5® Tour has given our VIP patrons a wonderful opportunity to explore the natural beauty of these national parks. I spoke with her on Tuesday morning about the VIP events of the tour.

USUO: What are your duties for the tour?
Natalie: I have planned all VIP activities and excursions through the tour. That includes dinners receptions, the outdoor things we’re doing like hiking and horseback riding, and post-concert receptions.

USUO: What are some of the VIP events being held at Mighty 5® this year?
Natalie: Last night, we did a reception at the Historic Gifford Homestead at Capitol Reef. It’s an intimate setting and picturesque. It feels cozy because it isn’t as busy as the rest of the park. The people at the park went above and beyond with flowers and decorations. There were hummingbirds flying around the tables. It was beautiful. There were even deer just wandering around; they were not afraid of us at all. They like the fruit trees that grow there. The Superintendent of Capitol Reef came out and had some remarks. It was really great. All the VIPs walked over to the Chamber concert at Fruita Campground afterward.

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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Singing is for the Birds

Nature is infused with music. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that music mimics nature and nature inspires music. It’s no wonder to me that nature has been inspiring music for such a long time. Violins, violas, cellos, and bass often attempt to recreate the sounds of a storm, of rain and wind blowing through the trees, or the trickling of a stream, or the mighty roar of a river. Animal noises (including bullfrog and toad croaks) are pumped out from trumpets and trombones and tubas. And birdsongs are delicately played by flutes, piccolos, pianos and harps.

Next week, during the Mighty 5® Tour, the USUO Education Department will be showing the national park guests how to mimic nature by recreating some of the local birdsongs in a series of activities held at the Visitor Centers. These activities will include learning to sing or play the birdsongs on a large piano mat and learning to identify local bird species based on their looks and on their sound. The Education Team (including Paula Fowler, Beverly Hawkins, and Tracy Hansford) will also teach park guests how to make their own imitation of the birdsongs. Here are some samples of what birds the lessons will feature. Follow the links to the pages to learn more about the birds and hear their songs. Contine reading

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The Music of the Mighty 5® Tour

Landscapes and nature have always been an inspiration for music. Next week is your chance to be inspired by nature as the Utah Symphony with Utah native, Soprano Celena Shafer embark on the Mighty 5® Tour, a five day trip around the Mighty 5® national parks in Southern Utah. “The Mighty 5® Tour is a great opportunity to combine two kinds of beauty: nature and sound,” Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer says. “Here in Utah we have the unique and wonderful fortune of being surrounded by five amazing national parks, and with this tour we plan to celebrate by mixing all the elements of nature with beautiful sounds.”

The performance is a collection of music inspired by nature. There is no better way to open the show than with the brass fanfare that opens the Festive Overture by Dimitri Shostakovich. The quick-paced woodwinds and strings that follow will beautifully complement the majesty and grandeur of the national parks. This is a piece that was written on the fly. Shostakovich wrote it in three days in 1954 for a concert held at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the October Revolution. Contine reading

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