Pioneers and Patriots pays tribute to John Philip Sousa concert 87 years ago

Each year around the July 24th Pioneer Day holiday the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre presents a special Pioneers and Patriots concert. Founder and general director Michael Ballam says this year the concert will pay tribute to John Philip Sousa who came to Logan to perform in 1927.

On a recent KVNU Crosstalk program, Ballam said it will be one of the most exciting evenings we’ve had since Sousa played on the stage of the Capitol Theatre.

“It’s now the Eccles Theatre and we are recreating that night,” Ballam said. “It is going to be amazing.”

Ballam said that Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre will be getting some help from Utah State University to recreate the magic of that evening 87 years ago.

“Michael Bankhead, the head of the USU Music Department who has had an amazing career with the Armed Forces music, is going to be Mr. Sousa. We found the program, quite by accident.”

Ballam said the program was found in some old storage bins. He said the tribute to John Philip Sousa begins Tuesday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Eccles Theatre. It will include a 42-piece band with choir, soloists and surprises.

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