A Night at the Deer Valley Music Festival: George Gershwin’s Greatest Hits and the Utah Symphony

Have you ever observed an actor studying his character? Imagine how an actor would need to immerse himself completely into a role to master a character.

I once observed Sean Penn doing just that.

With a weekly commute from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, I used to spend a lot of time in airports observing people. One day I saw a man who resembled Sean Penn at LAX. He looked like an average guy from Jersey – blue jeans, a basic t-shirt with an untucked plaid shirt and a dark brown belt with an average looking buckle. Nothing strange there.

But something was off. Actually, three things about this guy were off. His hair was perfectly out of place. It looked too perfect. It’s hard to explain but my gut told me he paid $300 for that hair style.  

He was carrying a paper grocery bag instead of a backpack or a courier bag. The paper bag was crisply folded which struck me as really odd.

His shoes looked really expensive, too. They were simple leather shoes but they screamed “quality.”  The hair, grocery bag and shoes didn’t seem to fit the rest of him, and I was perplexed. I found myself staring.

He turned his head toward me and glared back as if to say, “Stop staring at me and I mean it!”

My read of the situation was “Sean Penn must be working on a character and didn’t want to call attention to himself.”  

What does this have to do with the Utah Symphony playing George Gershwin on a summer evening at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater?

The conductor told us that George Gershwin did the same kind of “immersion into a character” but more like an “immersion into a culture,” when he was writing a symphony. He specifically wrote music for his time — the time he lived, and he lived at a really interesting time.

Listen to Rhapsody in Blue and you’ll hear the Jazz Age of the 1920s.

Listen to Porgy and Bess and you’ll hear hints of old folk songs from South Carolina.

Listen to an American In Paris and you’ll hear not just beautiful tunes from a talented composer, but you’ll feel like you are walking the post-World War I streets of Paris.

At the concert, I enjoyed my wonderful Deer Valley Gourmet Picnic Basket, stuffed with an artisan cheese plate, salmon, shaved fennel, Kalamata olives, basil chiffonade, beet and goat cheese salad, “to die for” housemade garlic rosemary focaccia bread and a variety of delicious desserts, too numerous to name.

I wondered if Gershwin were to immerse himself in Park City, Utah, in 2017, what would he compose about a beautiful summer evening at Deer Valley Resort?

When we listen to music of our day, we can consider the greater context of the time we are living in. It’s an age of possibility, isn’t it? In the future, when we listen to the music composed today, what will the music tell us about the time we are living in? Ponder that one.

For more on the Deer Valley Music Festival and other Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater shows, click here.

To order your picnic basket ahead of time, click here.

To learn more about George Gershwin, click here.

Nancy L. Anderson, CFP is a financial planner in Park City, Utah. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, her blog NancyLAnderson.com, and for tips on Transitioning to Retirement on Forbes.com.

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Leon AllbrightWhere is that

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Kim Wohleking-FernandezThat snow is for real!?

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Sarah BulverThat is beauty!!!!'nnnn

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Melissa BaileyMichael Bailey this is why they have moose on everything there 😂 still never saw my moose

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Jacob VincentRuth Arbagey apparently we needed to be at deer valley today!

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Meg McKownSuzanne Mckown Seeeee...Park City has all the cool animals too! Haha

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Dan PhelpsCourtney, could be a good season...

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Lisa Borgfeld WhiteGwenn Beaver, what a difference a week makes!

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Ged CarringtonHeather Sherry see they have moose in Utah lol

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Michela SeehusenShirley Hartlauer are you guys missing Utah yet???

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Alicia MoranAmanda Sanford, this is what we got today.

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Jessie JohnsonBeautiful ❤️❤️💜💜❤️

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Brenda Perry-KerrI wish I was there!!

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Patricia Davis LahnMy neighbor... just checking in(lol)

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Marie Benson PitilloAwesome!!! Can't wait!

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Sarah Kaul PettigrewI am so in love!

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Angie MattinsonBeautiful!!!

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Jill Catalano TrosoSnow already!!!!

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Eric PikeWow so early

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Janet Bissell MooneySooo beautiful

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Jeff NesslerThat's the smaller one, when we were up there on Saturday my wife had the bigger one walk right in front of her yeah that scared her

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Meredith Amelia BerlyColin Alexander Berly hey you who keeps up with deer valley's weather on a regular basis is it snowing this much there???? Already????

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Martha BurlesonAwww,,,How pretty! My daughter n family lives there in Park City,,,I just visted them few weeks ago,,,,Love Park City,,,We even lived there in Utah awhile...Snow was Always beautiful....

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Suzie GordonOh yes mam! Snowed all night and all day!!!

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Carey O'Malia GrossWe are so lucky to call this home with these neighbors!

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Today’s #DeerValleyMoment. | Photo Credit: @scottusa

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Amy DavidsonJudi Zarrella is it really snowing there??? I was seriously looking into moving that way..... but snow in September?!?!?!?

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Eric AlexanderI swear only a week ago I was standing there drinking a cold beer and it was 70 degrees

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Jeff HallAnd to think, last week it was brown pow and perfect cycling conditions.

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Ed MccallOh Mother keep it coming, no more hot weather!

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Regan EdwardsMy 3 month countdown to Deer Valley is ON! ❤️👏Christopher Flint, I'm all about that base!

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Suzie Gordon...and it's still snowing now!

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Jennifer StebenGoing to be another great season!

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Tasha Spencer AgnewSimon Agnew, the countdown is on!! White stuff....yay!!!! 🎿⛷

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Ed KliczewskiOMG Scott Scott Kliczewski, check out Park City!

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Melissa BremauerSue Wood yes yes yes!!! I have booked dinner for NYE at Cena, all confirmed 💃💃

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Steve DawsonAnde Dawson need to sort out our plans

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Angee Palmer DeanI'm so not ready for snow. We need to have fall first.

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Wendy ChiojiI love this.

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Melissa Jane Ruberts GusemanNot yet, please

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Jeffrey HainesWinter is coming...

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Todd WallaceIt will be melted by next week.

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Judi Zarrella

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James RazerLove to see this in the snow!

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Rick KolminHere’s to nice powder all ski season.

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Cindy CreteauToo early😬

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