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The City Journals

Summer Concert Series Kicks Off with City Jazz

Jun 29, 2016 09:33AM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]


Despite the wind, dozens of residents braved the cold to attend the first ever Holladay summer concert series. Held on the evening on May 21 at City Hall Park right behind the Holladay City Building, the first performance of the season was the City Jazz Big Band with special guest singer Katrina Cannon. The 20-piece band performed swing and jazz numbers from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

 The summer concert series was brought about after the Holladay Arts Council teamed up with Excellence in the Community, a nonprofit based on the premise that Utah’s best musicians and dancers represent a powerful resource for bringing people together and enhancing communities. Excellence in the Community provides free music concerts at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake, the Viridian Center in West Jordan and at the Covey Center in Provo.

 “We’ve been working for several months with them trying to put together a concert series,” said Kathy Murphy, the treasurer of the Holladay Arts Council and the chairperson in charge of the concert series. “We felt [City Jazz] would be a great opening performance.”

 The City Jazz Big Band is a local nonprofit that strive to bring the jazz musical art form to the public in a way that is meaningful, educational, entertaining and affordable. The group specializes in studio-style jazz, swing, jazz big-band standards and dance music.

 While this is the first year for the Holladay summer concert series, Excellence in the Community has been around for nearly 12 years. The council heard about Excellence in the Community about a year ago and believed if they teamed up, they could help present the concert series free to the public.

 According to Murphy, Jeff Whiteley, the founder of Excellence in the Community, has worked with a number of musical groups before, so the Holladay Arts Council relied on him to find the bands for the concert series.  

 “They hire local performances from around the state. They are very good,” said Murphy, speaking on Excellence in the Community.

 The idea of the concert series came out of the Holladay Arts Council wanting to bring music to Holladay residents.

 “We wanted to have more upscale concerts to present to the community,” Murphy said. “We like people to be introduced to music through the arts council.”

 Murphy said the city was being gracious enough to allow the arts council to use the City Hall Park as a venue for free.

 “It’s a great opportunity for the public to hear great music,” Murphy said. “The concerts are quite good.”

 The second concert took place on June 18 and featured Cross Strung, a Celtic music and river dancing program.

 The next concert will be on Aug. 6 and will feature Hot House West, a sextet that plays 1930s gypsy Jazz. The concert will take place during the Blue Moon Festival, an arts and music festival sponsored by the Holladay Arts Council. Their performance will be at 6 p.m.

 Also at the Blue Moon Festival will be Joshy Soul and the Cool, who feature R&B and old-school Motown music. Joshy Soul and the Cool will perform after Hot House West at 8 p.m.

 The last concert of the season will take place on Sept. 10 and will star Michael Chipman and Celina Shaffer. The duo will be performing Broadway tunes starting at 7:30 p.m. at the City of Holladay Park Pavilion.

 To learn more about the concert series and the bands scheduled to perform, visit

 To learn more about Excellence in the Community, visit

 To learn more about City Jazz Big Band, visit