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Heat doesn't deter Jazz at the Station

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Despite the 100-degree weather, Ogden City community members gathered together on July 11, 2012 to enjoy the musical stylings at the Jazz at the Station program, hosted by Weber State University’s department of performing arts and the Union Station.

“This is the first summer we have had the concerts outside,” said Caril Jennings, marketing director of performing arts at WSU. “This is an experiment, and I’m not sure what we will end up deciding. Last month the concert went very well. Tonight it was particularly hot. It was 99 degrees at 6:30. The fountain may have been a problem for some people, but it didn’t seem like most of them minded.”

Brian Booth, Jim Stout, Melanie Shore and Doug James were the artists who performed on July 11. Most of their set were songs written by Booth over the 35 years he has been performing and playing. The songs were from a variety of different CDs Booth has released, including one he wrote for his daughter Natalie, entitled “Natalie’s Waltz.”

“Brian’s group tonight worked under some pretty strenuous conditions: the heat, the wind, the noise from the fountain,” Jennings said. “It was much harder on them than it was for the audience. Nevertheless, they proved how professional they are by delivering a great hour of jazz.”

This was the fourth performance at the Jazz at the Station program for Booth and his group. Traditionally, the musicians are local to Ogden, but Booth and his group primarily play in Salt Lake City.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing here,” Booth said. “I’ve played this four times over the years, and it’s always been a kick. There’s always been a good audience.”

Booth, a former adjunct professor at WSU, has been a musician for nearly 40 years, and has played with a variety of famous musicians, such as Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra.

“What could be better than playing music?” Booth said. “It’s always fun to get out. It’s always fun to share the talent. I’ve developed it for a long, long time. I do also teach at Snow, and I did a stint up at BYU Idaho and various other places. It’s fun to teach, but a lot more fun to play.”

These programs, hosted at the Union Station on 25th St. in Ogden, happen every other Wednesday and feature different jazz musicians for the public.

“Of all our concerts, this is the most relaxed audience,” Jennings said. “Children can play and dance. A lot of people meet their friends here and have a good time. It can be part of an inexpensive night on the town if you eat at one of the 25th St. restaurants before or after the concert.”

The Jazz at the Station program isn’t new to WSU. The performing arts department paired up with the Union Station and has been hosting these events for six years, having provided free jazz concerts for nearly 15 years when Jennings began a program called Jazz in the Skyroom for general-education students to see jazz music outside of clubs and bars. Eventually, the program moved from the Skyroom to the Union Station.

“When the union building remodeling began in the fall of 2006, we lost our venue and went most of one semester without a place to be,” Jennings said. “In December 2006, (the) Union Station Foundation offered the Grand Lobby of Ogden’s Union Station, and we have been there ever since.”

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