Moab Music Festival wraps up 25th annual concert series
by Rose Egelhoff
The Times-Independent
Sep 14, 2017 | 1904 views | 0 0 comments | 245 245 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The trio of, from left, Michael Brown, Michael Barrett and Leann Osterkamp open the final night of the Moab Music Festival at Grand County High School.     Photo by Greg Knight
The trio of, from left, Michael Brown, Michael Barrett and Leann Osterkamp open the final night of the Moab Music Festival at Grand County High School. Photo by Greg Knight

The Moab Music Festival concluded its 25th year running on Sunday with a Leonard Bernstein Centennial concert narrated by daughter, Jamie Bernstein. The two-week festival sold more than 3,300 tickets, according to preliminary counts, with the average festival attendee purchasing two or three tickets each, said Laura Brown, director of the festival.

“It went really well,” said Brown, who spoke with festival veterans and visitors new to the event, receiving positive feedback from all quarters.

“I think everything went well and people seemed to really enjoy the concerts,” Brown said, despite “curveballs,” including a cellist’s A-string that broke mid-solo on closing night.

“In the middle of the concert, this great solo piece that Nicholas Canellakis was playing, his A-string broke and so they had to switch cellos with the other cellist in the group and the other cellist re-fingered his part and Nicholas finished the concert with a different cello.”

Brown admitted to being disappointed with sales for the Marcus Roberts concert, which did not sell out.

“He’s such a heavy hitting jazz musician of the utmost caliber and we just didn’t have a lot of people there,” Brown said. “But the pleasant surprise behind that was the people who went were just so grateful that they were there and they got to hear this wonderful, wonderful concert by this man.”

The highlight of the festival for her, Brown said, was the combination of music and history that music director Michael Barrett incorporated into the programming.

“The ‘Composers We Have Known’ concert was really good for me just to hear about the composers that have been here over the years who are actually, again, world renowned composers,” Brown said. “People know who William Bolcom is and Ned Rorem … they were here in Moab, which is one of those nice, interesting things that I think people forget.”

Even as the festival wraps up, staff and volunteers are looking forward to next year, Brown said.

“We’re hoping to get [composer] Bright Sheng … here to do some of his work next year,” said Brown. “Then we’ll also do another big Bernstein tribute concert.”

“We’re just grateful that people came out to celebrate our 25th with us and we hope they’ll join us again next year,” Brown said. “We thank the community at large for everything that you support … and just helping us out with those needs that we have through volunteers, through providing food or providing just whatever they can in whatever way they can to make this music festival possible.”

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