When we first started working with Ranger Melonie, she mentioned that she had to go to symphony practice. As a person who has played in symphonies, I questioned Melonie about this. Melonie lives in Fredonia and has played in the Symphony of the Canyons since she was in High School. When she is home over the summers, she continues to play in it.
Just the name of this group is very evocative. The Symphony of the Canyons. They practice in Kanab, the center between Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon. Musicians are volunteers from all over the area and the conductor is the pharmacist in Kanab.
Pharmacist Kortney Stirland started the symphony 25 years ago with a group of interested volunteers. The number and composition of the musicians varies from year to year. This year they don’t have any cellists. But they do have a large number of violinists and an enthusiastic bass player. The symphony plays three concerts in its summer season and two concerts in its winter season.
Tom and I attended an open-air concert of the Symphony of the Canyons at the Hamblin Park amphitheater. It was a lovely evening to sit on the lawn and listen to a concert, but I couldn’t find the correct time of the concert anywhere. Melonie told me it was at 6 p.m. But I read in a newspaper that it started at 8 p.m. And, of course, the question is also – is it Utah or Arizona time? Arizona doesn’t switch to daylight savings time, so we are an hour off of Utah time right now. Turns out the concert really was at 6 p.m. Utah time.
About 50 people attended the concert, which equaled the number of the musicians in the orchestra. The orchestra played a variety of “pops” style music: The Colonel Bogie March, Jurassic Park medley, Disney medley, Greatest Showman medley, and a salute to the Big Bands. They performed with a group of singers from the Kanab Recreation program, and had two soloists. It was an interesting and enjoyable selection of music.
After the Kanab concert, the Symphony of the Canyons performed at the Kane County Fair. Then, two nights later, they performed on the terrace of the North Rim Lodge at the Grand Canyon. That would have been an awesome experience, but Tom and I had to work until 5:30 and the concert started at 6. What a spectacular setting for a concert!
Tom and I never know what to expect in the different places we are living. The Symphony of the Canyons was an unexpected pleasure out here amid the awesome natural beauty that surrounds us.