David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, August 6, 2007
Concerts in the Park, and Bringing the Dead to Life in the Cemetery

You don't always have to pay for quality entertainment in American Fork.

Monday Evenings in the Park

I have occasionally mentioned, this summer and last, attending free concerts at American Fork's amphitheater. Though I often miss part of a concert, while chasing a fleeing toddler to the other end of the park, I have enjoyed what I've heard very much. Due to illness, I actually missed the concert I had most been looking forward to, the Crescent Super Band's mid-July performance. Such is life.

The amphitheater is mostly shaded and beginning to cool by 7 p.m. on a summer evening. The audiences I've seen have ranged from 150 to 400 or so, so there's enough parking and plenty of room; the amphitheater seats over 1000. The opening acts are a bit uneven, but sometimes are excellent. I'm not much of a country music lover, but I was particularly impressed by Lyndsi Bromley's July 2 performance. By now you can watch part of her performance that evening at YouTube. She sings beautifully and artfully, plays piano, composes, and -- like the rest of the world -- looks a little blurry on YouTube, which, frankly, doesn't do justice to her at all.

The title acts I've seen this summer have all been excellent (or better). Lately I've enjoyed a fun, diverse program of patriotic music by VocalWorks (full disclosure: MFCC was their pianist), including a superb performance by two guest artists, mother and son, of the haunting duet, "Momma, Look Sharp," from the musical 1776. The American Fork High School Steel Drum Line Band was even more fun than I anticipated. And the small jazz combo featuring local pianist Jonathan Keith lately delighted an audience which, for the last 15 minutes or so, included your humble, very tardy blogger. Keith was playing with his left hand only, due to a well-publicized recent auto accident, but still was impressive. (You may want to read Barbara Christiansen's article about Keith and this performance.)

Next week, the Monday evening concert features the world-class American Fork High School Marching Band and American Fork City's own Wasatch Winds, also directed by John Miller. They are about a year old, and they are superb.

Be there. 7:00 p.m.

Bringing the Dead to Life at the American Fork Cemetery

I meant to plug the annual American Fork Heritage and History Pageant, held at the American Fork Cemetery, before it was over, but I didn't. (I really shouldn't be your only source of local information, or even commentary, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.) I poo-pooed the whole thing several years ago, when I first heard of it, but now, after attending a few years and participating two or three times, I think it's a fine institution and a valuable civic activity.

There are carriage rides and ice cream and crafts and live music and other things, too, but the central attractions are short plays (15-20 minutes) which are written and performed by local amateurs, about -- usually -- prominent figures in American Fork's history, who in most cases are actually buried at the cemetery. I was invited several months ago to write one of the five scripts for this year's pageant. I spent some very pleasant hours reading the journals of Thomas Featherstone, Jr., and a few late-night hours writing the script.

This year's Pageant ran for the usual three nights, last Friday and Saturday, and tonight. I saw four of the five vignettes -- all of which had some cast members I knew -- then enjoyed the folk music of Tom and Gael Shults as the sun set and the theatrical part of the pageant wound down.

Watch for it next year. It's about the same time every year, late July or early August. There are different vignettes every year. This pageant is more intimate than the large, famous pageants (such as Manti and Hill Cumorah), and traffic and parking are not problems. And, come to think of it, if you ever wanted to try a bit of acting in a relatively low-pressure situation, it's a fun place to do it.

Just Wondering

In the summer, Bishop Rodeback's family is so often seen at an American Fork musical or theatrical event on Monday evening -- which devout Latter-day Saints generally reserve for Family Home Evening -- that you might wonder, Do we ever have religious lessons for Family Home Evening?

Uh, well, um . . . In the spring, fall, and winter, yes, often. Not so much in the summer. Man doth not live by preaching alone, you know.

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