Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Timpanogas Big Band features top jazz musicians from Utah County. The band will play in Grantsville on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cherry Street park. (Courtesy Lex B. Anderson)

September 13, 2018
Timpanogas Big Band to play in free concert Saturday at Grantsville park

The 17-piece Timpanagos Big Band will bring its show to Tooele Valley this Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. performance at the Grantsville City Park on East Cherry Street. The concert is free.

“This is the first time we’ve done an outreach performance like this,” said band leader Ray Smith. “We’re looking forward to it.” 

The band is affiliated with the non-profit group Excellence in the Community in Salt Lake City, which sponsors weekly summer concerts at the Gallivan Center on Main Street in the capital city.

Timpanogas Big Band plays regularly at the Gallivan Center and also at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo.

Excellence in the Community founder Jeff Whiteley said his group recently received a grant from the Utah Legislature to provide concerts in rural communities. This concert in Grantsville will be one of the first.

“There is a dazzling resource of hundreds of musicians in Utah and our goal is to help them with opportunities to perform,” Whiteley said.

The concert is sponsored by the Grantsville Performing Arts Council, Grantsville City and Excellence in the Community.

“For this concert, Grantsville City and GPAC is providing the venue and hospitality and promoting the event,” said Bubba Palmer, administrative director of GPAC. “Excellence in the Community is footing the bill for the musicians and tech help. Our goal for a future concert series is to be able to raise funds and collect sponsors to meet Excellence in the Community halfway in paying for the concerts.”

“Saturday Sounds” will be the title of the proposed summer concert series in Grantsville.

Smith said his band will perform some classic swing band songs including some Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman music, plus some Latin jazz.

In recent years, Smith has played with other freelance musicians at the Peppermill Concert Hall in Wendover for performers Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, Four Tops, Frank Sinatra, Jr. and others.

Timpanogas Big Band was formed as an opportunity for professional musicians who live south of the Point of the Mountain to get together and rehearse and perform great music, according to information provided by the band. The band was organized by Smith, who plays saxophone, and piano player Kurt Reeder and trombone player Alex Heitlinger.

Smith is director of jazz studies and professor of saxophone at Brigham Young University.

“Ray Smith is a Utah treasure,” Whiteley said.

His jazz band Synthesis, comprised of college students, has received national and international recognition by winning many jazz festival competitions such as the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and others.

Synthesis has performed at The Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and festivals in Latvia, Finland, Norway, Italy, Scotland, Denmark, England, Spain and Portugal. They have toured Japan, China and Serbia, according to promotional materials.

In 1998, Smith was given the Voice of Jazz Award for the State of Utah. In 2008, he was recognized by the International Association for Jazz Education as the first Utah Jazz Master, a lifetime achievement award “for profound contributions and virtuoso performance in the field of jazz in Utah.”  He has also served on both the Utah Arts Council and the Orem Arts Council.

Patrons are advised to bring a lawn chair or blanket to Saturday’s concert.


Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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