Displaying items by tag: Camerata Awards Concert

“Music is my one and only personality trait,” jokes University of Utah School of Music student Maren Hansen. Set to graduate this spring, Hansen is studying music education with a choral emphasis.

A pianist from a young age, she first found a love of singing when asked to accompany the choir at her high school. When the director encouraged her to audition, she discovered that being in the choir, rather than alongside it, really appealed to her.

Pursuing the arts in college wasn’t a no-brainer, however. Concerned that music wouldn’t be a viable career, she initially studied business. It didn’t pan out. After two semesters, she was no longer in school. 

Then, as she puts it, a “super lucky, accidental, fell-into-her-lap job” placed her as a substitute choir teacher at Summit Academy in Bluffdale. Music education was so compelling, she wanted to return for a degree. Dr. Barlow Bradford was what attracted her to the U School of Music.

“I really like when people discover their own abilities as a musician,” she said. “With junior high and high school students, that age is when they are starting to discover not just their voice as a musician but also as a human. It’s not always about the music. Sometimes it’s just like, ‘hey, you’re a person, your voice has power whether you are using it musically or not.’ To be part of that journey, to have influence on young people coming into themselves for the first time – it’s really powerful.”

Like many University of Utah students, scholarship support has made all the difference in Hansen’s story. 

“I didn’t always have scholarships. The first couple years of school I was paying out of pocket,” she explained. “The first scholarship came at a point when I was considering not finishing school. That semester I felt like I had an external reason – someone believes in me enough.” She went on: “It has enabled, allowed, encouraged me to be able to take myself seriously. [Music] is not something I am doing because I had enough money to pay for it. Someone else is expressing that it’s something worth pursuing, and something I deserve to pursue.”gala 20logo

This weekend, the U School of Music will celebrate students just like Maren and the generous community that supports them at the annual Camerata Awards.  

Established in 2001, the Camerata Awards celebrates musicians and patrons of the arts and their contributions to the University of Utah and the broader community.

Attendees leave inspired – by the stories of the passion, dedication, and talent of each year’s honorees, as well as the beautiful music of the student performers the event showcases. 

This year, the 21st Annual Camerata Awards will honor the M. Lynn Bennion Foundation and John Marlowe Nielsen for their extraordinary advocacy and support. 

M. Lynn Bennion Foundation

When beloved educator and school superintendent M. Lynn Bennion passed away in 1998, he established a foundation, naming his children Annette Clark, Carolyn Heaton, John Bennion, and Rebecca Glade as trustees. For the past 23 years, the Bennion siblings have funded more than 100 scholarships in education and music at the U and Westminster College. Doing so has brought them closer, while furthering their parent’s legacy.

John Marlowe Nielson (1908-2002)

Over a 55-year musical career, Marlowe – as he was known to most – conducted and taught thousands of Utah singers. From a humble Idaho upbringing, he graduated from the U and served on its faculty for 28 years. He turned the 30-member University Men’s Chorus into a showpiece. He established and conducted for 14 years The University Chorale – today the Utah Symphony Chorus. In retirement, he conducted the preeminent chamber choir Pro Musica of Utah for 24 years.

Join the School of Music for an unforgettable evening.


21st Camerata Awards Concert Gala
A Celebration of Music at the University of Utah

Saturday, March 26, 2022
Libby Gardner Concert Hall | 8 PM
Free and open to the public. No tickets required.

Published in Finer Points Blog

Join the University of Utah School of Music for a powerful virtual evening that showcases the creative works and resilience of our students and faculty and recognizes 2020 Camerata Awards Gala honorees Roger H. and Colleen K. Thompson.
Emceed by dazzling mezzo-soprano faculty Kirstin Chávez, you’ll leave inspired and uplifted.

All are welcome to this free event  -- no ticket or reservation required.


Friday, December 11, 2020
7:30 PM 

Published in Finer Points Blog

Join us at the School of Music's biggest event of year on Nov. 22 at Libby Gardner Concert Hall!

The Camerata Awards Concert Gala celebrates School of Music's talented students, outstanding faculty, and the generous supporters that ensure its success.

Honoring the 2019 Camerata Award winners 

Bruce W. Bastian 
Loel T. Hepworth*, PhD and Connie Jo M. Hepworth Woolston
*award given posthumously

The concert will feature performances from: 
Graduate Brass Quintet
Graduate Vocal Quartet
Daniel Tseylakov (piano)
Jazz Ensemble
Chamber Choir
A Cappella Choir 
Wind Ensemble

Students will perform works by John Williams, Gluseppe Verdi, Franz Liszt, Thad Jones, Vytautas Miškinis, and Mack Wilberg.

This concert is free and open to the public. A dessert reception will follow.

Concert starts at 8 p.m. doors open at 7:15 p.m., no tickets necessary.

We will see you there! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

The School of Music will honor icons of the Salt Lake jazz community at its 18th Annual Camerata Awards Concert Gala on 11/9. Founders of the JazzSLC concert series, Gordon and Connie Hanks, and former U Director of Jazz Studies Henry Wolking will receive their awards at a private dinner and public post-dinner concert in Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Gordon Hanks fell in love with jazz in a music appreciation class as a sophomore at Granite High. After meeting Connie as an undergraduate at the U, she became a convert as well. According to Gordon Hanks, “The spirit of jazz is one of openness. Jazz is not exclusive, but inclusive. It is America’s classical music.”

In 1994, while working 60 hours a week as a pharmacist and owner of Holladay Pharmacy, Gordon and a friend founded the GAM Foundation to bring nationally renowned jazz artists to Salt Lake City. Almost 25 years and 200 concerts later, JazzSLC has exposed tens of thousands of new fans to jazz music, including legendary performers such as Wynton Marsalis and Ahmad Jamal.

Through the GAM Foundation, the Hanks have given over $1 million to support jazz education from middle school through college. Their generosity has provided discount tickets, program support and scholarships to advance the awareness of and appreciation for jazz.

“A scholarship is the most rewarding gift you can give to a university. It may change a student’s life goals forever,” says Gordon Hanks.

After 40 years as the Director of Jazz Studies, Salt Lake City recognized Henry Wolking as the face of jazz at the U. He came at age 24 fresh from graduate school and started building a nascent jazz program.

During his tenure, the number of jazz faculty tripled, with an instructor specializing in each instrument area. He oversaw the addition of a Master of Music in Jazz Studies. He mentored generations of musicians, music teachers, and composers.

“Henry treated me like an equal, which made me want to work really hard and impress him. He served as a mentor for an entire generation of top jazz players,” explains jazz alumnus (’96) and U faculty colleague Geoffrey Miller.

In addition to his renown as a performer and professor, Wolking made his mark as a prolific and highly diverse composer. Wolking has published over close to 100 works for jazz ensemble, symphony and band. His unique compositional style blends classical music and jazz elements that often depict the landscapes of Utah and surrounding areas.

“As soon as I started playing, there was no question from that point on what I’d do with my life, not ever,” explains Wolking.

The concert features student soloists and ensembles from across the School, including the Michie Jazz Quintet, the University Chamber Choir, and the Wind Ensemble. It includes works by composer Henry Wolking.


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Published in Finer Points Blog