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Valley Journals

Theater, free concerts emphasize eventful year for arts council

Nov 21, 2018 03:28PM ● By Travis Barton

Channel Z performs at one of the free concert Fridays at Midvale City Park’s outdoor amphitheater. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

Councilman Bryant Brown did not anticipate a “life changing experience” for his 7-year-old daughter when they went to see “The Drowzy Chaperone” in June, her first ever musical. But that’s exactly what happened. 

“She, to this day, talks about going to see that show every time we drive by the theater,” Brown told the rest of the Midvale City Council. “And that speaks volumes to the quality of production when a 7-year-old is quoting a show she saw one time.” 

Brown was speaking as part of the Midvale Arts Council’s annual report to the city council on Nov. 13 along with Wade Walker and Bob Bedore, the president and vice president of the arts council’s board of directors, respectively. 

Walker and Bedore reported on the arts council’s activity over the previous year highlighting its theater productions, free concerts, Harvest Days contribution, outreach and facilities. 

Its three productions in 2018 were “Nunsense,” “The Drowzy Chaperone,” and Missoula Children’s Theatre “Peter and Wendy” which featured a cast of over 40 kids, many of whom from Midvale. Over 1,500 people attended these shows, according to Walker. 

“These community theater productions give participants a feeling of belonging to a genuine community, and a chance to discover and refine skills that many of them didn’t know that they had,” Walker said. 

He also noted the increased foot traffic in brings to Main Street. “We hope to add value to the Main Street revitalization project and promote the other offerings that downtown Midvale has as we move continue to move forward with our events,” he said. 

Those events he’s referring to are held at the Midvale Performing Arts Center on 695 West Center Street (7800 South). Besides musicals, the center also plays a weekly host to Quick Wits, a comedy improv troupe that interacts with audience, as well as rentals for dance, opera, West Jordan theater and the first ever Wasatch Improv Festival in January 2018. 

Harvest Days’ Hall of Honors, inducting important members of the Midvale community to a hall of fame, was also held at the arts center with 120 people in attendance. That week also featured the youth ambassadors and a visual arts contest where just under 100 pieces of artwork and literature were submitted from about 70 artists. 

But the arts council’s exploits extended beyond the arts center to Midvale City Park (455 W. 7500 South). Free concert Fridays were a weekly occurrence during the summer months featuring live shows at the outdoor amphitheater where diverse musical groups like Channel Z, 23rd Army Band, Buzzard Whisky, Londs and the Bellamy Brothers played.

“We present those concerts free so that everyone has a chance to enjoy those evenings,” Walker said, adding the estimated 3,000 people attended the shows over the course of the summer. 

Bedore told the city council it’s important for the arts council to “not just be a performance arm for the city. We believe totally that arts in the city brings with it a chance to keep confidence and creativity going to the children.” 

Part of the arts council’s outreach is to students in the city. Quick Wits visits elementary schools where they “not only teach improv skills, but it’s really about the life skills they try teach in terms of trust, acceptance, confidence building and teamwork,” Bedore said.  

Brown was quick to remind his peers on the city council that arts council members are volunteers, spending “countless hours” to make these events happen. 

He said if everyone could attend one of these events, even just twice a year, “it would go a long way toward understanding what they do, how hard of a job they all do, and how much emotions and blood, sweat and tears these individuals put into making a great asset for our community.”