Passion and Energy Produce Great Music

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It often takes a leader filled with vision, passion and dedication to make something big happen and this is why Mountain Town Music (MTM) is shining such a bright light over the entire Park City Community. The man behind this wonderful story is Brian Richards, MTM’s Executive Director, who prefers to be called “Community Conductor of Musical Affairs.” I recently caught up with him to understand how music rocks all of us, from Deer Valley Resort to the most remote corners of Summit County.

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JF: How was Mountain Town Music started?

Brian Richards: It was originally started by Randy Barton, around the 2002 Olympics, under the “Mountain Town Stages” name. At first, the organization literally built stages that fitted perfectly with their surroundings. Most of them were set on Main Street, near bars and restaurants, working as self sustaining outdoor music patios. Eventually, theses stages spread to surrounding rural communities.

JF: What caused you to get involved?

Brian Richards: I owned Orion Music Shop, a record store and was also involved with the Park City Film Series as one of the original founders and board members. I saw a great, untapped potential for Mountain Town Stages. I became interested and after a few years, and felt that I should get involved so I stepped in and took the lead.

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JF: When was this?

Brian Richards: I think around 2009. When I realized how low my first paycheck was, I became motivated to grow the little nonprofit organization so it could reach out beyond Park City, deep into Summit County. Mountain Town Stages was a grassroots organization from the start. People loved it because they felt it was something that they owned. In 2011 we decided to change the name from Mountain Town Stages to Mountain Town Music. We were no longer just building stages, but focused on providing the community with live music.

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JF: How much has MTM grown since then?

Brian Richards: This year we have programmed 197 community musical performances. Each one of these events is not a big concert like the ones we have every Wednesday night at Deer Valley Resort. Some of them are smaller, like the one in Peoa, or when solo performers are involved on Main Street. About 80% to 90% of our performances take place between June 10 and September 30. We’ll have a few more events scattered during the fall and the winter season at various venues.

JF: My favorite venue is the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort, on Wednesdays. How is that free concert series working out for you?

Brian Richards: That venue is absolutely fantastic! The popular Wednesday night concert series was moved in 2008 from City Park to Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. This natural amphitheater is awesome; you see everybody there. Whether you come on your own, as a couple holding hands, a family or a 70 person group, it’s Park City’s gathering place! You see people dancing, hula-hooping; it embodies everything Mountain Town Music is all about. The hill lends itself perfectly for music and creates that beautiful vibe. This beautiful setting epitomizes everything we want to accomplish. We want to program live music that is happy, fun and makes you feel like you want to dance and get personally into the act. In fact, it’s all the energy from the people around that fuels me, keeps me happy and rolling all summer.

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JF: Whenever possible, I attend this show and am amazed at its growing popularity. How many people generally attend a typical Wednesday night concert at Snow Park?

Brian Richards: It can range anywhere from a crowd of 1,000 when the weather is threatening, to 4,000 when the sun is shinning. I think we had 4,500 people for the “Changing Lanes Experience” concert, earlier this summer. Crowds can be huge!

JF: Does it get to you when the audience is socializing more than listening to the music?

Brian Richards: It’s not just about the music. Some people get discouraged because there’s so much talking and distractions but at the end of the day, we’re here to put on a show for everyone. It’s the community’s local gathering, the music is the bonus. The concert is the place where people can meet and chat with their friends. This an opportunity to decompress, play with your kids and enjoy a glass of wine. I see it as a social gathering that just happens to feature some music. The music will eventually get to you, set you free, pull you in and you’ll end up dancing!

JF: What has changed in your concerts this year?

Brian Richards: This is actually the first year that we’ve tried to feature some artists that aren’t necessarily locals. For the past 15 years, it’s always been all local artists but now we’re sprinkling a few non-local bands to broaden the quality of the experience. We’ve debated a lot about this. The town has grown so much that there’s room for more musical diversity and for some extra growth by staying true to our roots.

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JF: With so many free concerts, how can you sustain your organization?

Brian Richards: Again, we’re a true community organization. It takes a village to do what we do. We’re sustained by grants, like the Summit County Recreation Arts and Parks tax, the Restaurant tax, the Park City Foundation, Promontory Foundation and Rotary Club to name just a few. We’re also supported by other entities, like the Park Silly Market or the Arts Festival that pay us to promote our free concerts. We have sponsors and of course we have the public donations that support us. When I say we’re a community organization, we truly are supported by everybody, which is very cool!

JF: Are there other ski towns that come close to what you do?

Brian Richards: I have seen nothing in the Rocky Mountain region, or in the country, that does as much as we do on the scale of what we accomplish per capita. Until someone proves me wrong, we’re unique!

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JF: With the end of summer rapidly approaching, do you have some advice for our readers?

Brian Richards: Go out and enjoy all of what Mountain Town Music has to offer. Beginning with the Wednesday concerts at Deer Valley Resort, go on a Thursday to Newpark and enjoy that venue, on Fridays you can go out to Peoa, UT and listen to some country music and on Saturdays stroll to the Miner’s Park and discover a solo singer-song writer.

On Sundays you can  join us at the Park Silly Market on Main Street. Mondays go to City Park to hear some world-class chamber musicians. What’s really cool with our offering is that everything is different and all of the venues are amazing, each one with something special to offer!

Sunday Summer Concerts at Deer Valley Grocery~Café.

I’ve never met a Deer Valley employee who isn’t multi-talented. I’m now in the habit of asking, “What else do you do?” I’ve met ski instructors who are sound engineers, fine artists and real estate agents. Careful readers of this blog know at least one instructor who has been a candidate twice for the United States Congress.

Imagine my delight when I learned that among the many great acts planned for the Sunday Summer Concerts on the Deck at Deer Valley Grocery~Café is Stiff Hooch on June 28, 5 – 8 p.m. The classic country band boasts three Deer Valley Grocery~Café chefs, plus a Deer Valley ski instructor.

IMG_9928“We were so excited to be able to give Stiff Hooch the opportunity to play on our deck this summer for at least three shows. They’ll be featured around Labor Day,” says Janine Troilo, Deer Valley Grocery~Café manager. “Guests that come to see their shows will not only enjoy their music but the food that they, prepared as well.”

Not only will you hear some great jams, but you can enjoy dinner–try the band’s new menu favorite, an All-Natural Turkey Panini with Apricot Chutney and Deer Valley’s Meadowlark double cream brie.

See you on the deck!

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Deer Valley 2015 Summer Concert Schedule

Tickets are on sale now for Deer Valley Resort’s renowned annual summer concert series. The resort’s lineup of celebrated singers, songwriters and musicians feature musical stylings from all genres set to entertain visitors and guests in the idyllic Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater mountainside setting. The 2015 summer concert series consists of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley® Music Festival, the Park City Institute’s St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series and the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series presented by Mountain Town Music.

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For an impressive 12 consecutive years, the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley® Music Festival has made Deer Valley Resort its summer home with time-honored favorites and exciting guest performers. Deer Valley’s Fourth of July festivities will launch the start of the Deer Valley Music Festival with a Patriotic Pops performance. This year’s symphony featured guests include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Smokey Robinson, Classical Mystery Tour, Ozomatli, Kristin Chenoweth and Diana Krall. Running from July 4 to August 14, the 2015 season also includes the 1812 Overture!, Disney’s Fantasia, Country Legends and Hollywood Under the Stars. Show times and ticket information are available at deervalleymusicfestival.org.

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Also celebrating 12 years of summer concerts on Deer Valley’s outdoor stage is the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series, presented by the Park City Institute. The 2015 concert series features ten powerhouse concerts: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Smash Mouth and Tonic (June 30); Lucia Micarelli, The Funky Meters and Dirty Dozen Brass Band (July 3); Warren Haynes with Gov’t Mule (July 16); Easton Corbin with Parmalee (July 23); Esperanza Spalding, Perla Batalla and Anna Wilson (July 30); Grace Potter (August 4); Chris Botti and Joshua Bell (August 15); The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo (August 22); Lee Brice (August 29); and Aloe Blacc (September 6). For show times and ticket information, please visit bigstarsbrightnightsconcerts.org.

A weekly staple of Park City’s social scene, the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series, presented by Mountain Town Music, is a free event, highlighting local musical acts every Wednesday night June 17 to August 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. This year’s musical showcase include such acts as the Stranger Band, The Changing Lanes Experience, Slickrock Gypsies and The Motherlode Canyon Band. The series culminates with a Park City All Star Jam Session on August 26. Additional information is available at mountaintownmusic.org.

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To make Deer Valley Resort vacations coinciding with concert events seamless, Deer Valley Resort Lodging and Reservation offers a Summer Concert Package that provides a 20 percent savings on deluxe accommodations and tickets to select concerts. And to complement any evening concert, Deer Valley also features Gourmet Picnic Baskets or Bags filled with delicious epicurean items from Deer Valley’s kitchens, with options for children, single bags and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan meals. Orders must be placed and purchased by 5 p.m. the day prior to the event; cancellations will not be accepted after that point.

The shows, performed rain or shine, are family-friendly and guests are welcome to bring picnics, blankets and chairs less than nine inches high; animals are not permitted. For more information on Deer Valley’s summer concert series, concert packages and Gourmet Picnic Baskets and Bags, please visit deervalley.com.

Deer Valley Resort Announces 2014 Summer Concert Schedule

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Dierks Bentley, Ben Folds, Vince Gill and more to bring music to the mountains in Park City, Utah. From classical to country and a little rock and roll, Deer Valley Resort has announced the lineup of celebrated singers, songwriters and musicians who will entertain guests on the resort’s mountainside this summer. The 2014 summer concert series, performed at the resort’s renowned Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, includes the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley® Music Festival, the Park City Institute’s St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series and the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series presented by Mountain Town Music.

For its eleventh year at Deer Valley Resort, the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley® Music Festival kicks off its series with a Fourth of July celebration featuring The Texas Tenors: Let Freedom Sing! and follows it up the next night with Kenny Rogers joining the Utah Symphony for a heartwarming special performance. Additional featured guests include Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Ben Folds Orchestra Experience, Super Diamond: The Neil Diamond Tribute Band, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and more. Running from July 4 to August 9, the 2014 season also includes the 1812 Overture!, the Music of U2, the Music of John Williams (famed for movie soundtracks including “Indiana Jones”, “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” and the “Star Wars” trilogy) and Disney in Concert which will feature a medley from the blockbuster movie “Frozen”. Show times and ticket information are available at deervalleymusicfestival.org.

The St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Outdoor Concert Series, presented by the Park City Institute, is also in its eleventh season sharing summer concerts on Deer Valley’s outdoor stage. The 2014 concert series features ten powerhouse concerts: The Bacon Brothers (June 28); Martina McBride (July 3); Punch Brothers (July 6); Dierks Bentley (July 24); Kix Brooks (July 31); Muscle Shoals Live with Lisa Fischer (Aug. 3); Five for Fighting (Aug. 16); Trampled by Turtles (Aug. 19); Nashville Café (August 23); and Vince Gill with the Time Jumpers (Aug. 30). For show times and ticket information, please visit bigstarsbrightnightsconcerts.org.

The Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series, presented by Mountain Town Music, a weekly staple of Park City’s social scene, is a free event, highlighting local musical acts every Wednesday night. June 18 to August 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. This year’s musical showcase includes Afro Omega, Bonanza Town, Matt Wink, Junior and Transportation and more. Additional information is available at mountaintownmusic.org.

Deer Valley Resort Lodging and Reservations is offering a Summer Concert Package that provides a 20 percent savings on deluxe accommodations and tickets to select concerts. And to complement any evening concert, Deer Valley also features Gourmet Picnic Baskets or Bags filled with delicious epicurean items from Deer Valley’s kitchens, with options for children, single bags as well as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan meals. Orders must be placed and purchased by 5 p.m. the day prior to the event; cancellations will not be accepted after that point.

The shows, performed rain or shine, are family-friendly and guests are welcome to bring picnics, blankets and chairs; dogs are not permitted. For more information on Deer Valley’s summer concert series, concert packages and Gourmet Picnic Baskets and Bags, please visit deervalley.com.

Deer Valley Music Festival Announces Summer Lineup

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Celebrating 11 years of escaping into the music at Deer Valley Resort, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley® Music Festival announces an acclaimed lineup of summer performances at the resort’s renowned Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater.

“We have had a wonderful and impressive 11 years of concerts with the Utah Symphony and esteemed guest artists,” said Carey Cusimano, vice president of development for the Deer Valley Music Festival. “Visitors return year after year to relish in a wide variety of musical showcases at this unique and idyllic mountainside venue.”

The 2014 Deer Valley Music Festival kicks off in a big way with a Fourth of July celebration featuring The Texas Tenors: Let Freedom Sing! Introduced to the nation during America’s Got Talent, The Texas Tenors amaze with their breathtaking vocals, humor and cowboy charm. Their unique blend of country, gospel, classical and Broadway add an exciting twist to favorite patriotic songs. The festivities continue strong the next night with one of America’s greatest storytellers, Kenny Rogers, joining the Utah Symphony for a heartwarming special performance. Additional featured guests include Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ben Folds, Super Diamond: The Neil Diamond Tribute, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Broadway vocalists singing Disney movie classics.

The festival runs through August 9, with varying performances of classical and pops artists and repertoire at Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, chamber orchestra and guest chamber performances at Park City’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church and private salon events in exquisite Park City area homes, where guests will hear and meet artists in intimate settings.

The complete 2014 season lineup at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater includes:
July 4 – The Texas Tenors: Let Freedom Sing! With the Utah Symphony
July 5 – Kenny Rogers with the Utah Symphony
July 11 – The Music of John Williams conducted by Jeff Tyzik
July 12 – The Music of U2 with the Utah Symphony
July 18 – 1812 Overture!
July 19 – Mary Chapin Carpenter with the Utah Symphony
August 1 – Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time
August 2 – Super Diamond: A Tribute to Neil Diamond with the Utah Symphony
August 8 – Mormon Tabernacle Choir with the Utah Symphony
August 9 – The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience with the Utah Symphony

Chamber music series at St. Mary’s Catholic Church includes:
July 16 – Beethoven’s Egmont Overture
July 23 – Muir String Quartet
July 30 – Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings
July 31 – Emerging Quartets & Composers: Rosco and Friction Quartets
August 6 – Mozart’s Symphony No. 36

Performance times and ticket purchase information are available at deervalleymusicfestival.org

Deer Valley Resort Lodging and Reservations is providing a Summer Concert Package that offers up to a 20 percent savings on deluxe accommodations and tickets to select concerts. And to complement any concert, Deer Valley also features Gourmet Picnic Baskets or Bags filled with delicious epicurean items from Deer Valley’s kitchens.  All orders must be placed by 5 p.m. the day prior to the concert.

For all concerts, guests are welcome to bring picnics, blankets and chairs; dogs are not permitted. For more information on Deer Valley’s summer concert series, concert packages and Gourmet Picnic Baskets and Bags please visit deervalley.com.

Deer Valley, Beautiful Music, Wonderful Food…

dv-basket6Summer brings longer and warmer days to the mountains and offers countless occasions to congregate at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater for a long season of outdoor concerts. If you happen to be around Park City at this time of the year, Deer Valley is the perfect venue to spend a late afternoon and early evening. You may want to make up for a long day at work, escape the valley heat, or just slow down a bit after hours of hiking, miles of mountain biking, a round of golf or following a fly-fishing outing

dv-basket1The gradual slope that serves beginner skiers so well in winter provides the perfect, natural amphitheater, framed by Deer Valley’s trademark ski runs and its verdant slopes with meadows, aspens and fir trees. Last Friday was no exception with the return of the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival and a sold-out concert. This wasn’t the first outdoor performance of the summer, as the musical season began in earnest late June, with the local Grand Valley Bank community concert series, a large number of performances by the Utah Symphony and a few concerts from the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights series.

Of course there is still a long way to go until Labor Day and the end of the summer season, with plenty of wonderful opportunities to enjoy many cool, musical nights facing the Snow Park Lodge and its summer stage, while enjoying an al fresco dinner!

Fine food tradition and Deer Valley’s passion for excellence are so intertwined that is it’s almost impossible to think about one without the other. The synergy created by refined dining and superb skiing carries on the rest of the year and becomes the link that unites summer outdoor concerts and Deer Valley’s peerless hospitality. No matter the season, the scenery or the view points, these two elements cannot be dissociated.

Even though I can hardly call myself a “foodie,” summer concerts are much more than just music and company of all the friendly people that gather outdoors to hear it. Quite as importantly, it’s also about the food that accompanies this relaxed and festive atmosphere. Almost everyone eats dinner at these concerts and what a great opportunity to harmonize what’s on the plate with the surrounding sounds and sights.

One option is to bring a picnic, as many spectators do, but that always entails a lot of work, not just to prepare it but to carry it to the mountain, and then once there, somehow, there’s almost always something missing! Sure, it’s possible to run for the Deer Valley concession stand and find whatever was forgotten or plan on burgers, hot dogs and other great Deer Valley’s classic fares that are available for purchase.

dv-basket4Another option and by far my favorite – is to order a Deer Valley’s Gourmet Picnic Basket accompanied by a bottle of wine that will be waiting for me at the concert. All I have to do is place my order by 5 p.m. the day before and then pick it up when I get to the concert at Snow Park.

These wonderful baskets are filled with delectable goodies, but also come with plenty of options, like a choice of salmon or beef entree and new this year, an offering of vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan entrees.

dv-basket7I personally go for the smoked salmon with cucumber and aioli sauce preceded by a generous platter of antipasto of artisan salami, arugula, tomatoes and olives. These fine little delicacies never fail to bring back memories of my Deer Valley ski lunches that will soon return in a few months!

I usually am a fast eater and don’t spend enough time at the dinner table; however, at the concert the tantalizing choices contained in that richly garnished basket slow me down, make me savor and appreciate every single bite.

dv-basket5Also included in the basket is a fresh baked baguette that goes hand-in-hand with a melting, French brie that is a rarity on this side of the Atlantic. Finally, at the very moment the sun sets over Success ski run, there is still some room left for a few grapes, perhaps a slice of lemon pound cake, but definitely enough for the truffle tartlets!

Now, time to get on my feet, the concert is almost over!

To order your own gourmet picnic basket, head over to signatures.deervalley.com/gpb. For more information about upcoming concerts, please visit deervalley.com for our schedule of events. 

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