Last year it was Maureen McGovern and this year Peter Cetera will appear at “An American Salute” with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra Thursday, July 1, at Utah State University’s Kent Concert Hall.The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Craig Jessop, new Dean of USU’s Caine School of the Arts, is music director of the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra. “Most of the time contacts are made by personal friendships,” said Jessop, “and in this case it was a Utah State alumnus, Scott Slaymaker. Scott’s a very close friend of Peter’s. Scott came to my office on totally unrelated business. That contact is how it happened. Aggie friendships. “I feel this is going to be one of the best ever, we had a great rehearsal Tuesday night. I think everyone who comes is going to walk away saying ‘Wow, I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.’ ” Jessop said the program will include patriotic standards like “America the Beautiful”, and a salute to George M. Cohen “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and folk tunes like “Shenandoah” plus Broadway songs like “Climb Every Mountain” and even a Disney favorite, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Jessop said the entire production will move to Sun Valley for a Friday night performance. “We’ve done this twice in a row now,” said Jessop. “Last year with Maureen McGovern was very, very popular and we formed a wonderful relationship with our friends in Sun Valley. The Pavilion at Sun Valley is truly the finest outdoor amphitheatre in North America. It’s unbelievable and a perfect place for music. I hope this will become an annual event.” Jessop said the chorus and orchestra will do the first half of the program, about a 30-minute set of red, white and blue and Americana. After a short intermission Cetera will take the stage for a full hour of his favorite tunes, then combining with Chorus and Orchestra for a grand finale. Jessop said Cetera just returned Wednesday from a South American tour. Peter Cetera started a solo career in 1986 after 18 years as the singer, songwriter and bass player for the rock group Chicago. Jessop said Cetera will also perform in the Sun Valley concert. “He lives there,” said Jessop, “So he’s going home.” Tickets are $20, $25 and $30 and are available at the Caine School of the Arts Box Office or online at americanfestivalchorus.org. The concert is presented by the Caine School of the Arts and sponsored by Zions Bank.
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