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The first-ever members to join Alta High’s marching band will be graduating this year — and they’ll be celebrating in a big way.

After four years of high-stepping, twirling and drumming, Canyons District’s only marching band will be taking their talent across the country to represent Utah in the 13th annual National Memorial Day Parade, held annually on Constitution Avenue to honor the men and women who have served valiantly in the U.S. Armed Forces.  The parade starts at 2 p.m. Eastern on Monday. 

This is the first time the award-winning band will perform in a different state, and they will be the only Utah marching band in the event. The parade is one of the country’s largest Memorial Day event.

“I had no idea we would be marching in this parade,” said Alta bandleader Caleb Shabestari, who led the band to 2A division state championships in 2013 and 2014. “I think it’s cool we’ve doubled the size of the band in four years and we’re taking a trip across the country. We couldn’t have done that last year.”

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan nominated the marching band to represent Utah last March and the group has been preparing ever since. These days, the students attend practice two days a week to put the final touches on their patriotic program. The songs they will perform will highlight an immigrant’s journey to the United States.

“Just for the parade we’ve probably practiced for 40 hours straight,” Shabestari said. For those who won’t be able to see the parade in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 29, the band will perform the same numbers at parades this summer in Sandy and Draper. 

The parade also will be streamed live on military.com.  

In June, the Alta High marching band will begin rehearsals for the summer band program, which includes flashy performances in Fourth of July and city celebration parades. The students range in age from seventh- to 12th grades and hail from all parts of the District. 

In the fall, the group will start working on their fall competition program, which will feature a theme of air, flight and planes, with completely original music. Students from all over Canyons participate in the District band located at Alta.

 “My goal at the end of five years is to have a band with over 100 people,” Shabestari said. “We are well on track to do that.”

Five of CSD’s talented high school instrumentalists have been selected to perform with the Utah Symphony at an All-Star Evening Concert on Tuesday, May 23.

The rare honor is granted to 57 students statewide. At the 7 p.m. event at Abravanel Hall, students will perform Dvorak’s Violin Concerto side-by-side with their professional counterparts. The performance will last two hours and admission starts at $12.

The following students were chosen based on their performance at the Utah Symphony Youth Orchestra Festival on March 13, 2017:

Sean Dulger, Horn, Corner Canyon
Laura Lee, Violin, Corner Canyon
Micah Clawson, Violin, Hillcrest
Dallin Davis, Cello, Hillcrest
Parker Kreiger, Clarinet, Hillcrest

When Mount Jordan middle was demolished in 2013, then-principal Dr. Molly Hart saved a stack of bricks in her office to pay homage to the 59-year-old school. After the school was rebuilt in 2015 she discovered it had an even greater treasure with a history as old as the original building: a Steinway and Sons 1954 Model B classic grand piano.

The piano was cracked, out of tune and badly in need of extensive repairs. After years of being exposed to the open air and shared community and school use, the Steinway looked as bad as it sounded and seemed as though the cost to fix the instrument would be significantly more than it was worth. All of the hammers needed to be replaced, as well as the dampers and strings, and the soundboard needed to be fixed. There was a fleeting suggestion that perhaps the piano should just be sold to save the cost of restoring it to its former glory — but Hart had different ideas.
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She took a look around the school’s newly completed, million-dollar auditorium built in partnership for the community with Sandy city, and she knew she couldn’t let it go. “I could just imagine performances taking place in that gorgeous auditorium,” Hart says. “That would be a really memorable experience and a life-changing experience for a middle school student to have a memory of playing a 1954 vintage Steinway B. You don’t have to be a piano player to know that.”

Hart worked with Canyons’ Arts Consortium Chair Sharee Jorgensen and the District's Purchasing Department to orchestrate the repair with an expert who restores pianos across the state. To pay for the project, Dr. Hart courted donations, used money from her furniture budget and received funds from Jorgensen's budget. The project cost a little more than $20,000, but the investment increased the value of the piano substantially.

“He (the restoration expert) took the piano, and between him and the person who refinished the outside, they turned it into a brand-new looking, beautiful piano that we could have never replaced for the money we spent on the restoration,” Jorgensen said.

Canyons District owns seven Steinway and Sons grand pianos, one Steinway and Sons upright piano, and 31 grand pianos by othcarryingpiano.jpger makers. The piano at Mount Jordan is the first to be completely restored, increasing its value substantially, Jorgensen says. A new Steinway and Sons Model B piano, which the company refers to as “the perfect piano” on its website, costs about $100,000. As the instruments age, their value typically increases.

“If you take care of it, it’s like an old violin,” Jorgensen says. “If you take care of it, it will eventually become priceless and last you a long time.”

To that end, the school purchased a special cover and locking case for the piano. It is used for special performances by students and members of the community, as Hart, who is now principal at Albion Middle School, had hoped.

“Mount Jordan serves a population of students that may or may not have an opportunity to play on a Steinway,” Hart said. “For the students that perform, that could be something that a pianist would have a memory of forever. I wanted kids to have that opportunity — and I wanted Canyons to have that opportunity.”



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Three Canyons’ students have received honors at the prestigious Springville All-State High School Art Show.

Brighton’s Georgia Raddon, Jordan’s Nicole Brooks and Hillcrest's Sarah Turpin each received the Juror’s Award of Merit for their entries into the 45th annual art show. The highly competitive exhibition features entries from high school juniors and seniors throughout Utah. Raddon and Brooks will receive a cash prize and special recognition at the Utah State Capitol on Feb. 22 for their entries.

Raddon’s AP Arts teacher required all 30 of her students to prepare entries to the contest, from which she selected four pieces of art to submit to the museum. After two of Raddon’s photographs were chosen to comprise Brighton’s four entries, the senior was surprised. When she won an award for her photo called “Pink Haze,” she was shocked.

“I wasn’t even really aware there were awards, and so when my teacher told me, I was like, ‘Really?’ ” Raddon said. “I was really excited.”

Raddon has always had an interest in photography, but she never considered herself to be very good, she says. She enrolled in an AP arts class to gain more experience — and the class inspired her to pursue the arts as a career after she completes college. Raddon already has a scholarship and plans to attend the School of Visual Arts in ManhattaIMG_0374.JPGn to study photography after she graduates this year. Her love of art stems from her desire to share her perspective with others.

“I like that I can help the world, or the people around me see the world that I see,” Raddon says. “I feel like I have a very different view or perspective of the things around me, and I think a lot of people don’t see that. So when I’m able to share that with people, it just makes me really happy.”

Nicole Brooks submitted artwork in last year’s art show at the Springville museum, as well as this year, which is an accomplishment of itself, the junior says.

“I wasn’t even expecting to have my piece get in, so it was a really sweet surprise to have it picked for an award,” Brooks saNicole_Brooks.jpgid.

Her motivation for her charcoal sketch of a human form came from her desire to share a story with others. Brooks participates in the Robotics Club at Jordan in her free time, and she decided this year to include an inner narrative with each piece she creates.

Over the summer, Brooks took an art class that featured a ballet dancer who held different poses for the students to photograph. One of his poses inspired Brooks, who drew the form with the story of Icarus in mind.

“I thought of telling the story of Icarus when I did it,” Brooks says. “But I’d also like people to see it and come up with their own stories to go with it.”

Sarah Turpin's art evokes a feeling or mood. Her watercolor and pen recreation of downtown Salt Lake captures a typical winter day — slightly overcast, no leaves on the trees, a little grey — but seeing the town throughTurpin’s eyes makes it appear magical. Under the grey, there’s a band of light. There’s movement, life and energy.

“I’ve done (watercolor) for most of my life,” Turpin said. “I didn’t start doing it a lot until I was in 8th grade, but I’ve always loved it.”

This is the second award Turpin has won at the Springville art show in as many years, but she was still surprised to receive the recognition. Aside from her love of art, Turpin also likes theater, her English classes and serving others. She spends an hour or two every Thursday helping people in the community who have special needs. “That pretty much sums me up,” Turpin says.

With her Springville creation under her belt, Turpin has already moved on to other artistic projects. She is currently rehearsing to perform as a member of the court and a student in Hillcrest’s production of Hamlet on March 17-20, and working on a series of 12 portraits for an AP class assignment. 
slcitysky.jpgAs part of the class curriculum, students create a portfolio of work, including a concentration project. For her undertaking, Turpin selected 12 refugees whom she interviewed and photographed. The project might not win any awards, but Turpin hopes it will touch the hearts of her subjects.

“I’m looking at their pictures and I’m making oil paintings of them,” Turpin says. “I wanted to do a project for them, because I’m giving them the portraits once I’m finished.”
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:56

Art Brings History to Life at Utah Capitol

The rotunda of the Utah Capitol came alive on Tuesday with song, dance and colorful art demonstrations. The daylong showcase, which featured a performance by Ridgecrest Elementary’s choir, was organized to underscore the importance of arts education.

For poignant proof of the value of the arts, though, one need only have accompanied the student choir on its informational tour of the Capitol building. The fourth- and fifth-grade students learned about the “base isolation system” installed by engineers to make the building earthquake-safe. They took a stroll down the “Hall of Governors,” were treated to a peek inside the House Chambers, and got to run their hands along a cracked replica of the Liberty Bell.

For the kids, all this paled in comparison, however, to proud, Italian marble lions standing guard at the building’s entrances, the “heroic” bronze sculptures in the rotunda, and the California gulls painted on the ceiling inside the Capital Dome. “How big are those?” asked one of the students in awe. The answer: They may look tiny from here, but in truth, their wings span as wide as six-feet.

Art is a form of expression that moves people emotionally. It’s the act of making something visually interesting and entertaining. It’s a form of discovery that helps us understand new and complex information — and for members of Ridgecrest’s choir, it was the ticket to a fun introduction to history and politics. 

Fun Utah Capitol Facts
  • The chandelier hanging in the rotunda weighs 1,000 pounds, but the chain that supports it weighs a whopping 5,000 pounds.
  • The original lions safeguarding the building’s entrances were made from cement, and were retired and replaced with marble replicas when the Capitol was refurbished. They now reside outside the Cannibal roller coaster at Utah’s Lagoon theme park.
  • Construction of the Capitol began in December 1912 and was completed in 1916. The building underwent a massive restoration from 2004-2008, which cost about $227 million.
  • Recurrent symbolic architectural embellishes can be found throughout the Capitol, including: beehives, the Utah state emblem; rosettes reminiscent of the lotus flower, which symbolizes eternal life and wisdom; and wreaths of acanthus leaves suggestive of vitality and victory.
Source: Canyons School District Utah State Capitol Tour Guidebook

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