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The City Journals

Ogden Orchestra Pumps Music Into American Heart Month

Mar 10, 2016 12:51PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Ogden - American Heart Month closed on Feb. 27 with a flourish of violins, cellos and even a guitar at the Union Station in downtown Ogden.

With a standing room-only audience clad in red attire, the Chamber Orchestra of Ogden (COO) along with guest soloists, the Richter Uzur Duo, performed at a sold out Browning Theater. 

“I thought the concert was excellent; they [COO] really played well,” Michael Palumbo, music director and conductor, said. 

Presented by the Union Station Foundation and the Ogden Regional Medical Center, the Red Dress Concert encouraged audience members to wear red to the event in honor of American Heart Month. 

This marked the fourth year of the scheduled event with quite the increase from the estimated 150 who attended the first Red Dress event. 

Palumbo, who retired as professor emeritus of music from Weber State University, estimated there were about 500 attendees as the concert ran out of the original 400 tickets and programs they had at the doors. 

“We’re out of tickets and programs, but we won’t run out of music,” Palumbo told the audience before COO began with Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5. 

An additional eight rows of chairs were added, ultimately leading to a standing room-only audience lining the back of the theater. 

“Never have we played to a packed house, so that was really cool,” Cory Jensen, timpanist, said. 

“Part of this was the Red Dress event and the great publicity we got,” Palumbo said.  

Guest soloists Brad Richter and Viktor Uzur highlighted the event combining with COO for their concerto for cello, guitar and orchestra. 

The Richter Uzur Duo have played concerts in North America, South America, Europe and Asia but have a unique connection to Ogden. 

Richter, guitarist, said it’s special playing in Ogden where they met 10 years ago at WSU where Uzur, cellist, is a professor. 

“It’s always a bit of a homecoming when we get to have a concert here together,” Richter said. 

Richter and Uzur wrote the concerto they played for the event. Richter said he thinks it may be the only piece that exists for guitar, cello and orchestra. 

“When Mike [Palumbo] heard it, he said, ‘oh this would be fun to play,’ and finally, it happened,” Uzur said. 

Palumbo introduced them on the night as “two of the best musicians in this world.” 

Uzur said the duo has similar creative tastes in composers and bands such as Led Zeppelin. Their third piece even included a nod to the heavier metal style of music. 

Jensen, whose been a part of COO since it was officially formed in June of 2011, said playing with the duo as a percussionist was fun. 

“The rhythms are little more complex; changing notes on my drums is fun,” Jensen said. “Those guys are phenomenal; they don’t get better those two.”

Richter said they were impressed with the quality of the local orchestra. 

“We figured they’d be good because we know a lot of the players but I thought they really exceeded,” Richter said. “For a city this size, that’s a pretty fabulous orchestra.” 

“I only have nice things to say about the orchestra, the cause [and] the occasion,” Uzur said. 

All the more impressive may be the amount of time the orchestra spent together in rehearsals. COO held two rehearsals during the week leading up to the concert with one dress rehearsal the day before performed with Richter and Uzur. 

“It’s expected that everyone who comes to the rehearsals has their music learned because rehearsal is putting things together,” Palumbo, said.  

“The preparation has been the past so many years. Many of us are music majors, so we’ve become proficient in our music,” Jensen, a music teacher at Ben Lomond High School, said. 

This marks the concert’s final year at the Browning Theater, as the orchestra moves into the Egyptian Theater next year. It is a more traditional concert hall and also seats up to 800.  

On May 7, COO will perform its final concert of the season at Union Station as part of a Silent Art Auction to provide scholarships to music camp. For more information on the event, go to