Showing posts with label festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label festivals. Show all posts

Friday, December 2, 2016

Festival of Trees 2016

Last night I volunteered as a hostess at the Festival of Trees, something I have done for many, many years.  Every year people donate decorated trees and other items which are put up for auction and then displayed to the public.  One hundred percent of the proceeds of this event go to Primary Children's Hospital.  It is such a great cause and I am happy to help out every year.  My job is to watch over the trees and items to make sure they are not damaged or stolen (remember the little girl who stole a doll off the Frozen tree?) and to answer any questions that people might have.  I say items because, for the first time ever, I was not assigned to an area of trees.  Rather, I was placed in an area filled with centerpieces.  I have to say that this wasn't quite as fun for me as the trees because the centerpieces don't usually have a story so I didn't get to interact with people as much as I usually do.  However, there was an elaborately mechanized clock in my area that the children really liked.  They were positively mesmerized by it, which was cool, but children don't really talk to strangers!  After my shift, I was able to wander around and look at the trees (and get a sweet roll).  Here are some of my favorites.
This Grinch tree was my very favorite!  There are literally hundreds of trees to see, not to mention all of the centerpieces, wreaths, and gingerbread houses!  You really should make your way to the South Towne Expo Center to experience the Festival of Trees yourself!  It runs until Saturday and more information can be found here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Festival of Trees 2015

Yesterday I volunteered at the Festival of Trees for the seventh year in a row!  It is a wonderful opportunity to help raise money for Primary Children's Hospital.  Various individuals and groups decorate trees, often in honor or remembrance of a patient at Primary Children's Hospital, and donate them for auction.  After the auction, they are put on display for the general public at the South Towne Expo Center for several days.  I volunteer as a hostess and I am assigned to a particular area to answer questions about the trees and to keep them from being damaged.  Here are some of the trees in my area.
Most of my trees were in remembrance of premature babies who had died so, when people would ask me questions, I would tear up a little bit.
This "Angel Tree" really made me emotional because all of the ornaments were in honor of children who had died.  One mother asked to find her daughter's ornament for her and take a picture of it.  What an honor!
This "Superhero" tree was probably the most popular tree of the whole festival.  It was across the aisle from me and there was always a large crowd of people around it.  After my shift was over I walked around to look at all of the other trees.  Here are some of my favorites.
My very favorite tree was this "Travel" tree!
And, of course, there was the usual BYU/Utah rivalry tree!
The Festival of Trees runs until Saturday, Dec. 5 at the South Towne Expo Center.  Go here for more information.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Utah Shakespeare Festival 2015

This season is the final one in which the Adams Memorial Theatre will be used for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  It has been in operation since 1977 and the first play I saw there, Shakespeare's The Tempest, was in 1989 while on a college trip.  I have returned almost every year since and have many wonderful memories of the amazing performances I've seen, including Patrick Page in Richard III and Brian Vaughn in Hamlet.  Sam Ashdown's portrayal of Prince Hal in last year's Henry IV Part One is also among one of my favorites so it is especially fitting that my final performance "within this Wooden O" was to see him reprise his role in Henry IV Part Two.
I also bought a ticket to see Amadeus and made the drive to Cedar City Monday morning in time to see the matinee performance.  The movie adaptation of the stage play is one of my favorites and I actually credit it with turning me into a fan of classical music (it was the first movie I ever owned) so I was looking forward to seeing it.  The movie is quite different from the stage play (Peter Shaffer wrote the play before the screenplay) but I eventually stopped comparing the two because this version is so powerful and I was completely drawn into the story of rival composers Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  David Ivers, one of my favorite actors/directors of the festival, gives an incredibly intense and passionate performance as Salieri.  He transforms from the stooped and wheelchair-bound older Salieri into the composer in his prime right before our eyes by merely substituting his coat, wig, and facial expression.  I have never seen anything like it before and it is repeated several times.  His agony is palpable when Salieri rails against God for giving such an unworthy man the talent he covets.  Tasso Feldman does a wonderful job as Mozart (he even has a great laugh) but Ivers dominates every scene, even when he is just eavesdropping on Mozart from behind a tall chair.  The supporting cast is excellent and I particularly enjoyed John Pribyl as Emperor Joseph II and Brandon Burk and Anthony Simone as the Vinticelli (Little winds).  The costumes are magnificent and I was struck by the opulence of Mozart's frock coats at the beginning of the play in contrast to the muted colors he wears as he sinks further and further into penury.  I loved the addition of Mozart's music, especially the operas, into many of the scenes.  This production of Amadeus rocked me (I couldn't resist) and I highly recommend it.
It rained all day so I was really disappointed that Henry IV Part Two might be moved from the Adams to the indoor stage.  I desperately wanted to see it outside to have one final memory in that magical theatre.  Luckily, the rain stopped just in time for the Greenshow (pictured above) and I enjoyed it very much while eating a tart (I ran into my friend Joe and he bought me another one).
Henry IV Part Two is not as exciting as the first one (It is rarely performed) because it is dealing with the aftermath of what has happened but I found it to be just as engrossing because of the resolution of these events, particularly the transformation of a wayward prince into a noble king and the reconciliation between father and son.  There are some hilarious moments with Falstaff (John Ahlin), the prince's unsuitable friend.  Ahlin is a master of physical comedy and I, along with everyone in the theatre, laughed out loud when he tries to get up off the floor and when he recruits men to go to battle with him.  However, I waited the entire play for the final scene between Prince Hal and King Henry IV (Both Sam Ashdown and Larry Bull are reprising the roles from Henry IV Part One) and it is powerful.  The King is on his deathbed and Hal, thinking that he is dead, picks up the crown.  The King accuses Hal of wishing for his death and berates him for all of his previous wanton behavior.  Hal responds with genuine grief and concern for ruling the country and the King finally shows him some tenderness and gives him advice.  Ashdown and Bull are incredible in this scene and I had goosebumps!  Another scene that is quite moving is when Henry V is crowned and paraded through London with much pomp and circumstance.  When he sees Falstaff, he turns his back on his old friend and banishes him.  Ahlin's performance in that moment brought me to tears!  I am now eagerly awaiting Ashdown's performance in Henry V next summer (It was a brilliant idea to cast the same actor in the role for all three plays, in my opinion) in the new Engelstad Theatre!

Note:  I keep inadvertently running into friends.  First it was Scott at a movie, then I saw my friend Marta in the lobby before Amadeus, and finally, as I mentioned, I found my friend Joe at the Greenshow before Henry IV Part Two.  The theatre wasn't full so after the intermission we moved to seats closer to the stage so we could sit together.  It was great!  Maybe I should actually plan something with my friends...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Utah Arts Festival 2015

Every year Tashena performs with CDT (Children's Dance Theatre which is the performing arm of the Tanner Dance Program at the University of Utah) at the Utah Arts Festival and I always try to attend.  This year I decided not to go because it was going to be incredibly hot but then I had several agents schedule appointments to show my house (I've had quite a few showings but no offers yet) at the last minute yesterday so I changed my mind.  Even though it was so blasted hot, I'm really glad I went because I always love watching Tashena dance.  One must have a game plan for the festival because it can be overwhelming, especially with such large crowds.  I like to walk around for an hour looking at the artwork on display.  This year there was a 3D chalk artist who was amazing.  Then I like to head to the festival stage to claim a seat before it gets too crowded.  CDT performed Crumb and the Pirates once again and I really enjoyed it.  Tashena is in the dance "Fog" and I especially liked it when the dancers circled Crumb's boat.  They really moved like fog!  After CDT performs, I like to check out all of the food vendors and grab something to eat back at the festival stage to wait for Ballet West's performance.  Once again, I opted for the garlic burger and fresh cut fries.  For the past several years, Ballet West has followed CDT and it always amazes me that Tashena dances on the same stage as world-class dancers!  Four of the dancers from Ballet West performed three pieces: two choreographed by Christopher Ruud and one by his father, Tomm.  Ruud is definitely my favorite dancer with Ballet West and I always enjoy watching him on stage.  I think he is an incredibly athletic and intense dancer.  Even though I was a dripping and disheveled mess by the time I made it to my car, I saw two excellent performances and had one of the best burgers I've ever had.  Not too shabby!  The Utah Arts Festival concludes today at Library Square downtown and I recommend going (even in the heat) because there are lots of live performances, activities for the kids, great food, and row after row of booths featuring amazing art.  Go here for more information.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Tulip Festival 2015

One of my favorite things to do in the spring is to go to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point.  The flowers are always incredibly beautiful and it wan't very crowded yesterday because it was a bit overcast.  Walking along the pathways was so peaceful and relaxing!
This year my favorite garden was the Creek Garden.  I stayed in this area quite a while because the sound of the moving water was so soothing!
I also really love the Secret Garden.  It is usually really crowded but it was almost empty while I was there.  I loved sitting there and listening to the birds!
I really enjoyed myself wandering through the gardens!  The Tulip Festival continues at Thanksgiving Point until Saturday, May 9.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children.  Go here for more information.
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