‘A Canyon Peoples’ Portrait’ unfolds Southern Utah’s cultural heritage

Image by St. George News.

KANAB — Kane County’s past will be transformed into a multimedia musical storytelling extravaganza with a launch performance event of “A Canyon People’s Portrait” April 2-3 in the Kanab High School auditorium.

“We are videotaping to create a documentary of the whole extravaganza – the most exciting aspect is the combination of activities that are going on all day Thursday and Friday,” said Bob Morphis, director of marketing and communications for the Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts. “The documentary will help spread the story outside of the region (and beyond) as well as be a tool to attract tourism to the story destinations.”

The event is titled “A Canyon People’s Portrait” and will feature brilliant performances and art with singers, songwriters, artists, dancers, musicians, actors and storytellers as they unfold Southern Utah’s cultural heritage.

This world premiere event will feature a star-studded cast including Cherie Call, Ryan Shupe, Clive Romney, Ryan Tilby, Doug Wintch and Kanab’s own Rachel Findlay.

“Visual art provided by Utah’s finest artists and photographers will be projected on screen while actors, dancers, singers and musicians portray each scene,” Morphis said. “It will all be woven together by a narration telling the stories of the Ancestral Puebloans of Kane County, the later Native American nations, and more famous stories about Levi Stewart, Peter Shirts, John Wesley Powell, Thomas Chamberlain, Mary Woolley Chamberlain, the all-women town council, Isaac Black (or John Carling, depending on who you talk to), the Rollaway Saloon, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Jacob Hamblin, and others who have come to settle the area.”

The concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday nights for $10 per person or $30 per family (age 8 and older, please). In addition, a pioneer-style dutch oven dinner with the visual artists will be available in the high school gym/art gallery at 6 p.m. on both nights for $12 per person.

Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts, a nonprofit company based in Murray, is gathering the heritage stories of every county in the state and bringing them to life through the arts. They use  local talent, as well as a stable of some of the best that Utah has to offer, and turn those stories into collector’s item souvenir artbook and CDs. Each one includes the “Top 12” stories set to foot-tapping, entertaining music, then punctuated with visual art to make it even more memorable.

“With all these activities converging in this once-in-a-lifetime event, we feel compelled to capture it in a video documentary worthy of a PBS special,” said a press release. “Issac Goeckeritz, award-winning documentary filmmaker, is heading up the project.”

To pre-order a copy of the documentary that will be completed by May 31, visit Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts website.

“Your advance purchase will not only secure you a copy of a world-class keepsake, but your support will also help preserve Kane County’s heritage, help tell some of Utah’s greatest stories to the world, promote economic development and lay the groundwork for the Legacy Series in other Utah counties,” said a press release.

In addition to the launch event, the Inspirational Art Association will be conducting an outdoor painting contest and their works will be on display and for sale in the gym/art gallery.

Tours of historic homes and buildings in and around Kanab will be conducted, including a photo tour where you’ll learn to photograph the area’s luscious landscape. Pioneer games and activities for the kids and a pioneer re-enactment performances will be at the Kanab Library.

All proceeds benefit the Symphony of the Canyons and the Mary Woolley Chamberlain Monument Fund.

Event details

  • What: A Canyon Peoples’ Portrait
  • When: April 2-3, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Kanab High School, 59 E. Cowboy Way, Kanab
  • Tickets: $10 per person or $30 family ticket | Dinner is available at 6 p.m. for $12
  • A Canyon People’s Portrait website
  • Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts website

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