Press Releases

Under the Western Sky - Hometown Praise: Music From Utah

For Immediate Release, June 2, 2014, New York, NY ... Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents Under the Western Sky on Sunday, June 22 at 2:00pm at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. The program features Hometown Praise, a beautiful selection of music of faith performed by guest ensemble Utah Voices and directed by Michael Huff. The family-friendly afternoon also incudes lively music for treble voices featuring the world premiere of a Latin American-inspired Gloria by Cristian Grases, who also conducts.

For this afternoon concert, Dr. Michael Huff leads his acclaimed ensemble, Utah Voices, in Hometown Praise, a program celebrating both Utah’s rich history and its deep faith. Works include Mack Wilberg’s setting of the anthem Saints Bound for Heaven from “The Southern Harmony”, a hymn book used by American church-goers during the 19th century; Kurt Bestor’s Prayer of the Children, a poignant plea for peace in a troubled world; The Lord’s Prayer in a setting by Leroy Robertson, one of Utah’s best-known 20th century composers; and Wilberg’s setting of the Christian hymn, How Firm a Foundation. Utah Voices will also perform excerpts from Promised Valley, the Mormon answer to Oklahoma by Utah composer Crawford Gates, and Come, Come, Ye Saints, a hymn much-loved by today’s Latter-day Saints by William Clayton. Completing the program is Michael Huff’s setting of America, the Beautiful, giving voice to Utah’s “hometown pride.” Performing alongside Utah Voices are The Legacy Brass Ensemble and pianist Carrie Morris.

Cristian Grases leads the world premiere of his Gloria performed by the Distinguished Concerts Singers International, comprised of youth and children’s choirs from six states as well as Honduras, Australia, and Norway. In his joyful and playful Spanish-language setting of the Gloria, Grases uses a different Latin American folk rhythm in each of five movements, from the Colombian Cumbia to the Bomba, an energetic dance of Puerto Rico, to the celebratory Cuban Son.

Founded by Iris Derke (General Director) and Jonathan Griffith (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor), DCINY is driven by passion and unwavering commitment to create unforgettable audience and performer experiences.

Award-winning Singer/Songwriter Cori Connors to Join Utah Voices in “Home for the Holidays”

SALT LAKE CITY—The acclaimed chorus Utah Voices and special guest award-winning singer/songwriter Cori Connors will present “Home for the Holidays,” Saturday, November 30, 2013, 8:00 pm, at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah School of Music, (1375 E. President’s Circle) in Salt Lake City. All seats are general admission at $12 each and recommended for ages eight and older. Tickets and more information are available online at www.utahvoices.org.

Featuring an eclectic blend of songs and hymns celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas, the concert includes solo performances by award-winning singer Cori Connors who will also perform pieces with Utah Voices. In addition to the highlight of John Rutter’s Gloria! songs include Mack Wilberg arrangements of “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” and “Angels We Have Heard on High;” Cori Connors’ “Little Did I Know;” “Who Is This Babe?” and Irving Berlin’s “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” among other heartwarming holiday songs. Conductor Dr. Michael Huff will lead the performers.  He adds, "I can't think of a better way to 'sing in the holidays' than celebrating with this great and inspiring music!" 

Utah Voices to “Spin” Out Some Fun with “Broadway Bingo 3”

SALT LAKE CITY—Utah Voices is back for its third “spin” on Broadway hits with Broadway Bingo 3, Wednesday, March 13, 7:00 pm at Libby Gardner Hall (1375 E. President’s Circle) in Salt Lake City. All seats are$12 each with general seating. Tickets and more information are available online at www.utahvoices.org.

This unique, highly praised choir is in the midst of a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com, raising funds to support this and other productions. “It costs several thousand dollars to put on a show, and we hope to raise $5,000 or more ,” says General Manager Juliann Kitzmiller.  And as regular patrons know, a production this concert certainly is.

The show features hilarious guest hosts, interactive “bingo” moments for the whole family, a superb live band, accomplished soloists and an eclectic repertoire that includes a range of pieces from such popular musicals as Memphis, Sweet Charity, Footloose, Love Never Dies, The Sound of Music, Wicked, and Mamma Mia. The program order follows a “bingo” draw, and the audience is welcome to play along and enjoy the surprises. 

Utah Voices Prepares for Fourth Season Starting September 5

BOUNTIFUL, UT (August 14, 2012)—Artistic Director Dr. Michael Huff has announced the upcoming season for Utah Voices, and it includes an all-new program for Christmas, a departure for the group which has usually performed Handel’s Messiah.  The  group will begin rehearsals on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at South Davis Junior High’s choir room (298 W 2600 S, Bountiful). They practice weekly from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Utah Voices will begin it's fourth concert season December 20 with a Christmas concert featuring a variety of songs and carols, including some of Dr. Huff's own arrangements, highlights from Messiah, and other holiday favorites.  “We tend to do unexpected things in our concerts, so to change things up for Christmas this year falls in line with that idea,” says Juliann Peacock, managing director. 

In 2013, they'll bring back an audience favorite for the third time with Broadway Bingo 3 on March 13, followed by a performance with Dr. Robert Baldwin and the Salt Lake Symphony on May 18, 2013 commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Italian opera composer, Giuseppi Verdi. Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah is the venue for all of these concerts. 

Dr. Huff is looking forward to the new season but has a public request in the meantime. “As we prepare these pieces, especially the works by Verdi, we need more male voices to strengthen our tenor and bass sections,” he explains. “We don't require auditions, but do require singers who not only 'carry a tune', but love the hard work of preparing great music well. Our concerts are always fun, challenging, engaging -- never a dull moment.” For more information about the group, rehearsals, concerts, or membership visit www.utahvoices.org.

Salt Lake Symphony and Utah Voices to Take on Beloved Works of Beethoven

SALT LAKE CITY—In their third collaborative concert, the Salt Lake Symphony and Utah Voices will present “Glorious Beethoven,” performing the Ninth Symphony and “Gloria” from Missa Solemnis with guest soloists soprano Jennifer Larson, mezzo-soprano Kirsten Gunlogson, tenor Robert Breault, and baritone Steven Meredith.

The concert will be Saturday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah. All tickets are $10 and general admission. Ages eight and up are recommended. Tickets are available online at www.utahvoices.org, by calling 801-531-7501 and also at the door.

As ambitious as these masterworks from Beethoven are, these are just the kinds of challenges that both the symphony and choir enjoy meeting head-on. Dr. Robert Baldwin, artistic director and conductor for the Salt Lake Symphony, says, “We are happy to collaborate once again with Utah Voices, Michael Huff's excellent choir. ‘Glorious Beethoven’ celebrates two of the greatest works ever written for orchestra with chorus.”

Even though Utah Voices is a non-auditioned choir, Dr. Michael Huff has great confidence in the group, an acclaimed chorus in the midst of its third season. “The singers are pushing themselves to meet the expectations of this demanding music.  They’re going to be magnificent!” 

For more information visit www.utahvoices.org and www.saltlakesymphony.org.

Utah Voices Begins Dynamic Third Season That Includes Performing at Lincoln Center in NYC

SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Only in the third season, Utah Voices has already received notable praise from both the press and concert patrons and now has the opportunity to sing Handel’s Messiah, at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City’s Lincoln Center. The choir will perform in New York during Thanksgiving weekend in November, joining other extraordinary choirs from around the country as part of Distinguished Concerts International New York. “The amazing thing about Utah Voices,” says Artistic Director Dr. Michael Huff, “is that they sing all over the musical map.”  The professional sounding, but non-auditioned, choir is currently recruiting new members and hopes to increase the number of singers in the bass and tenor sections the most. Rehearsals are held Wednesday nights  at South Davis Jr. High in Bountiful from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The choir meets weekly and is led by Dr. Michael Huff,  visiting professor at Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts Department of Music, and Associate Conductor Kelly DeHaan.

Among other planned performances for the 2011-2012 season are “Hometown Praise,” November 11, featuring sacred choral works by Utah composers and songwriters; a Salt Lake City performance of Messiah, December 12; “Glorious Beethoven,” featuring Symphony No. 9, in March; and another installment of the “Broadway Bingo” in May. The choir’s range in repertoire and professional sound earned an invitation to perform at Centerville City’s 2011 4th of July patriotic program that included Governor Gary Herbert as keynote speaker, and for the last two summers, the choir has performed at the Pioneer Day Sunrise Service at the Tabernacle on Temple Square. For more information visit www.utahvoices.org.

Kurt Bestor’s Timpanogos to Highlight Salt Lake Symphony and Utah Voices Concert in May

SALT LAKE CITY—Timpanogos: A Prayer for Mountain Grace, a tone poem by Emmy Award-winning composer Kurt Bestor with libretto by award-winning author Terry Tempest Williams, will be the highlight of Salt Lake Symphony’s next concert, “American Roots,” featuring the acclaimed chorus, Utah Voices and the group’s Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Michael Huff. The concert will be Saturday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah. All tickets are $10 and general admission. Ages eight and up are recommended. Tickets are available online at www.utahvoices.org, by calling 801-531-7501 and also at the door.

The concert’s repertoire aptly reflects the theme selected by Salt Lake Symphony Music Director, Dr. Robert Baldwin, who will direct performances of Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland and Choral Fantasia on Deep River, by Calvin Taylor. This will be the second collaborative concert for Salt Lake Symphony and Utah Voices. Beyond his work as Utah Voices’ artistic director, Dr. Huff is the Director of Special Programs at Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts and a Visiting Professor with the Department of Music.

A five-movement piece, commissioned and performed by Utah Symphony Chorus, Timpanogos premiered at Abravanel Hall ten years ago, and the May 21 concert will be only its second public performance. The music and libretto suggest everything from the mountain’s origins as an ancient glacier to its backdrop to a busy, suburban lifestyle today. Copland’s Appalachian Spring is a ballet score commissioned by the late renowned choreographer and dancer Martha Graham. It is the spring celebration of American pioneers in the 1800s after building a new Pennsylvania farmhouse. Graham danced the lead role at its premiere in 1944.

As part of the celebration of 50 years of African American presence and contribution to the University of Kentucky, Calvin Taylor was commissioned to write Choral Fantasia on Deep River. The work premiered at the university in 1999 under the direction of Dr. Robert Baldwin, now music director for the Salt Lake Symphony and Director of Orchestral Activities and Interim Director of the School of Music at the University of Utah. Both Kurt Bestor and Calvin Taylor hope to attend the performance. For more information visit www.utahvoices.org.

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Utah Voices Will Present a Concert That’s Both Fun and Games

SALT LAKE CITY—For their March concert, Utah Voices will put a new “spin” on Broadway show tunes with “Broadway Bingo,” featuring special guests and hosts Kelly DeHaan and Jennifer Hohl. The performances is Friday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah School of Music, (1375 E. President’s Circle) in Salt Lake City. All seats are general admission and $10 each. Tickets and more information are available online at www.utahvoices.org.

Under the direction of Artistic Director Dr. Michael Huff and Associate Conductor Kelly DeHaan, Utah Voices will perform a rollercoaster of a repertoire that spans several decades. Except for the opening and closing numbers, the entertaining song sequence will be determined by bingo draw. The audience is welcome to play along with “Broadway Bingo” cards that come in the programs.

There’s something for everyone in this show that features numbers from such hit shows as Carousel, Ragtime, Hair, Les Misérables, Rent, Wicked and Hairspray and medleys that highlight music from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Marvin Hamlisch, and many more. A collection of Utah’s finest freelance musicians from Ray Smith to Reed LeCheminant to Doug James and others will make up the accompanying ten-piece band. DeHaan and Hohl will fill the bill with solo and duet performances from other beloved musicals and of course, more fun and laughter.