Back home in Ohio I worked for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, conducted by John Morris Russell. When I was leaving Cincinnati, John reminded me that he guest-conducts the Utah Symphony in the summer, and that some time Dan and I ought to come out for a concert. Not the type to turn down that kind of invitation, Dan and I made plans to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah around June 30 to for Deer Valley Music Festival‘s Patriotic Pops concert.
I snapped so many pictures in Utah that I have broken this post into two: one about our adventure and the friends we had a chance to meet up with, and one focused more on the architecture and artwork around beautiful Salt Lake City.
First off, always let Dan choose the hotel. We stayed at the Peery. (Our hotels always look spendy, but Dan is also king of bonus points and rewards memberships. We stay in plenty of Holiday Inns, then splurge on fantastic places when we have earned enough points.)
After checking in and showering (much needed, as we had camped overnight) we headed back out of Salt Lake and to Park City, where the Deer Valley Music Festival takes place. The amphitheater sits at the base of a ski slope, and people lay blankets along the slope to watch the concert. When we arrived, I was delighted to find that we had actual reserved seats much closer to the stage. This turned out to be a major boon when the sun dipped behind the mountains — the temperature plummeted, and we were able to use the blanket we’d brought to stave off the cold. (Deer Valley knows what it’s doing — they opened up a gift shop selling blankets and hoodies and I’m sure they were printing money.)
John’s concert was fantastic. He wove together traditional patriotic jingles (God Bless America and the like) with songs about immigration, the Peace Corps, and even a reading of part of the Gettysburg Address. It felt like a much fuller look at the American experience than I am used to hearing, and it was welcome.
Afterwards John invited us backstage to say a quick hello. After this performance in Utah he would be heading to Cincinnati to conduct the Pops’ July 4th concert. Having the chance to see this concert in Utah helped hold off a bit of the homesickness.
John was not the only friend I was hoping to see in Salt Lake — my friend Abby lives there with her wife, Carling. They were in town and free for lunch, so we met at one of their favorite restaurants, Rye. (Delicious.) I have known Abby for about as long as I’ve known Dan (9ish years?) but I had never had a chance to meet Carling before. We had a wonderful time catching up and then inveigling a stranger to snap a photo for us. (The sign is from a bike store which, of course, we visited.)
Left to our our own devices, Dan and I headed to The Leonardo Museum. Their website, which is bright and active and engaging, oversells the experience a bit — many elements of the exhibitions were not functioning and the museum lacked a bit of overall flow. That said, it’s a children’s museum, and between large aircraft and rooms full of LEGOs I imagine it’s many a kid’s dream come true.
It felt a shame to leave Salt Lake without seeing — well, the Salt Lake, so we took a minor detour on our way out of town. A handful of people had ventured into the water but we found it too overrun with insects. We were content with a quick photo and an early start on our drive back to Colorado.