[Courtesy Photo]

As a nonprofit, one of the Moab Music Festival’s priorities is community engagement. But it’s often overlooked; in the glory of the festival’s elite lineup—this year’s will feature a work done with famous actor and author George Takei—it’s easy to forget about the Festival’s plethora of school programs, done throughout the year, and its annual free community concert. This year, the community concert will start at 2 p.m. on Monday, September 6 at Old City Park in Moab and is sponsored by Rocky Mountain Power.

“Every year, we try to create a lineup at that concert that features little highlights from the entire festival,” Erin Groves, community engagement director of the Moab Music Festival, said. “It intentionally … presents highlights from throughout the festival season.”

The community concert has a few purposes. It allows people who may not be able to afford a ticket—the least expensive ticket is $40 this year—to still enjoy access to the “best of what we’re presenting,” Groves said. The concert also provides potential concert-goers with a taste of what they could see at future concerts.

This year’s community concert lineup includes thirteen musicians performing with a variety of instruments, including Corinne Winters on soprano; Andy Akiho on percussion; Michael Barrett, the director of the festival, on piano; and Ayano Ninomiya on violin. The program includes compositions by J.S. Bach and Giacomo Puccini.

Concert-goers are encouraged to bring picnics and children, marking this concert as different from the rest. Old City Park, the venue, is one of Groves’ favorite venues because it’s laid-back, family-friendly and locals-oriented.

“I feel like I see the most familiar faces at that concert,” Groves said.

The concert makes an effort every year to partner with and highlight music education programs in Moab. The Grand County High School Marching Band will provide refreshments for purchase, with all proceeds going toward the marching band. The Festival as a nonprofit entity will also debut their “Kids Club” at this concert, a free club for anyone 18 and under. The club will be a way for the Festival leaders, such as Groves, to communicate directly with students and families about upcoming opportunities for scholarships or free music workshops.

The Festival has been providing educational opportunities and workshops since it was founded in 1992. Typically, the Festival hosts school assemblies where musicians will play in local schools, though last year they were unable to do so due to coronavirus restrictions. Since 2017, the Festival has awarded five annual music student scholarships to Grand County students grades 2-12. The scholarships are $300 each, to be used toward private music lessons or music camps. The Festival also gives Grand County School District music educators education initiative awards, which fund music education resources.

“Everyone gets a little piece of the pie every year for their music classes,” Groves said. Her work focuses a lot on connecting the Festival to music educators and to young students—one of her goals has been to encourage pre-kindergarten music education in the community.

One of the reasons why she loves the annual free concert so much is because it can connect to young children, she said. Most of the other concerts the Festival hosts are meant to be quiet, like the chamber music concerts.

“Being able to present music [to kids] in places where they can be crazy and loud … really matters to us,” she said. This concert is the opportunity she points out to families to have a “really successful and awesome family experience with live music,” especially classical or chamber music.

Tickets to the Rocky Mountain Power Community Concert are free, but need to be reserved due to pandemic protocols. More information and ticket reservations can be found at https://moabmusicfest.org/events/rocky-mountain-power-community-concert/.

Event Information

What: Rocky Mountain Power Community Concert

When: Monday, September 6 at 2 p.m.

Where: Old City Park, Moab