My Friend Loves the New CCMA Season, especially Michael Ballam

By Mary Anne Anderson

Cedar City Arts Council

So about six weeks ago, my friend asked me if I knew what Cedar City Music Arts had in store for us this season.  She wanted to feel that she had one up on everyone else, knowing the details before it was officially announced.  Which is fine with me.  I love showing off my inside knowledge as much as the next guy.


I told her that, as always, the Utah Symphony would start the season in September, with its new assistant conductor, Conner Gray Covington.  “Oh, good”, she said.  “I was hoping that the Symphony would come again.  That’s the top musical institution in Utah, I think.  I’ve heard they like coming here, don’t they?”  I assured her that indeed they do.  They love the Heritage Theater and they love Cedar City audiences.

Next question:” Is this the year for the ‘Nutcracker’?”  Yes, it is, I said—- December 15, right before Christmas when the mood and the weather are right.  “Oh, good”, she said. “I love the ‘Nutcracker.’  I’ll buy extra tickets and give them to my granddaughters as Christmas presents.   We’ll dress up and they’ll feel very grown up and fancy.”


Do you know Chicago? I asked.  “Yes!  That rock band from the 60’s and 70’s?’  Are they coming?!”  No, but the rock band Beginnings, which channels Chicago, is.  Eight guys, each superlative on his own, combine to play all the favorite classics of one of the great rock bands of all time.   “I know their music,” she said.  “I’m going to buy extra tickets and bring my children.  What month?”  November, as part of their tour to pay homage to Robert Lamm and company.


We have a solo pianist this year, I told her, the first in a while.  “Do I know him?” she asked.  Probably; Robert Thies has been here before.  “I remember him!  He is so refined and sensitive.  No bombast, no desire to show off.  It’s not about him; it’s about the music.”  But did you know, I asked, that he is the first American pianist since Van Cliburn in 1958 to win a Russian piano competition?  He is really, really good.  See him in January.


“What else?”, she wanted to know.  Think of a great dance company, I told her.  What dance troupe out of Salt Lake is famous all over the west?  “Ririe-Woodbury, I hope?” she said.  Yes, indeed.  This company, a Cedar City favorite, will be here on February 15, performing its new ground-breaking work, Elizabeth, the Dance.  “What a great Valentine present!  My sister loves dance; we’ll come together.”


And guess who will wind up the season in March?  I couldn’t wait to tell her:  Michael Ballam.  “I love Michael Ballam.  We are so lucky to have him again, aren’t we?”  And, you guessed it:  she is going to buy extra tickets for all her friends.


All of the above for about $17 a performance, if you buy the $100 season ticket.  My friend was ecstatic.


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