Skip to main content

Murray Journal

Murray’s Arts in the Park program to feature David Archuleta, Thurl Bailey

Jun 02, 2023 01:12PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Grupo Folklorico Sapichu opened Murray City’s Arts in the Park summer season. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)

Murray City’s Arts in the Park program will kick off this summer, featuring a diverse lineup of musicals, dance performances and concerts. Cultural Arts Director Lori Edmunds recently spoke about the program, highlighting the variety of offerings available to attendees.

“We have included the three musicals along with some dancing performers and our usual Murray Concert Band and the Murray Symphony,” Edmunds said. “We were also asked to include a concert series which we have done. Our Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity person, Conlon Bonner, has also provided us with some special performances.”

Fans of David Archuleta will be thrilled to know that the singer is returning to his old stomping grounds this summer. Archuleta, who once worked at the Murray Amphitheater, will perform with the Bonner Family, including Murray City Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Director Conlon Bonner.

Archuleta, who rose to fame as the runner-up on the seventh season of “American Idol,” has since released numerous albums and toured extensively. Edmunds says his return to Murray City will highlight the summer arts program.

The program will feature free park performances in Pavilion 5, including seven free lunch concerts and seven free children’s matinees. Additionally, the program partners with the Murray Library for their Wednesday “Stop in for Stories” program.

Edmunds stressed that the program is designed to appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. “Our free Children’s Concert Series will focus on our younger patrons along with the musical ‘Cinderella’ at the amphitheater,” she said. “The production of ‘High School Musical’ will appeal to our teens and tweens along with the younger adult audiences, and ‘Seussical’ is fun for everyone.”

“High School Musical” follows the story of two high school students who come from different backgrounds but share a passion for music. “Seussical the Musical” brings to life the beloved characters of Dr. Seuss’s books and celebrates creativity, individuality and the power of imagination. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” tells the familiar story of a young girl who dreams of escaping her life of servitude and finding true love with the help of her fairy godmother. The musical is a romantic and enchanting tale that celebrates the power of love and the transformative magic of fairy tales.

For decades, Murray City has had a vibrant arts program, and the summer arts programs have played a vital role in the community’s cohesion and well-being. “The arts in Murray have made the residents feel like a small cohesive community which has played a vital role in the well-being of the community,” Edmunds said.

The program has partnerships with other organizations including the Murray Library. In past years, the program has had a significant impact on the local community, and Edmunds hopes to continue to evolve and grow the program in the future.

“I think the concert series will be really popular,” she said. “And honestly, I do not have a lot of room to grow considering the short season we have at the amphitheater, plus there is always funding to worry about.”

Part of the concert series includes Thurl Bailey. After retiring from his NBA career, Thurl Bailey pursued his passion for music and became a musician in his own right. He has released several albums, including “The Gift of Christmas,” “I’m Not the Same,” and “Life on Planet Bailey.” 

Bailey has performed at various events and venues nationwide, including the Stadium of Fire in Provo and the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, he has collaborated with other musicians, including award-winning composer Kurt Bestor and popular country singer Collin Raye.

For those attending the summer arts programs for the first time, Edmunds had some simple advice: “Enjoy an affordable, family-friendly performance!”

Patrons can view the summer lineup and purchase tickets at  λ