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An informal reception will be held on Tuesday, from 3 until 5:30 p.m., in the Alumni House on Central Campus Drive at the University of Utah to honor Dr. Marilyn R. Holt, who is returning to full-time teaching after 14 years of service as associate chair and chair of the U. theater department as well as artistic director of the Babcock Theatre.

Holt has seen the department grow to 10 times the size it was when she first became an administrator as associate chair under Dr. Keith Engar in 1974. When Engar became dean of the College of Fine Arts seven years later, Holt was promoted to department chair. Last August at a national theater convention in Chicago, Holt was introduced as "the chair of the best BFA theater program in the country."Holt gives Kenneth H. Washington, theater faculty member, credit for being "our traveling representative. He's really helped in promoting our students and our program."

Holt, who will be replaced by Dr. Thomas Markus as chair in mid-July, looks forward to doing more creative work after so many years as an administrator. She's been asked to write the text for "The History of Theater in Utah" as part of a project for the Fine Arts College. She also has plays that are half-written that she wants to finish and is looking forward to acting on stage and interacting more with students as a professor.

* THE UTAH SHAKESPEAREAN FESTIVAL in Cedar City has commissioned a new play for the 1989 season that will deal with the often stormy relationship between Elizabethan playwrights William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, USF administrators announced last week.

Utah native Doug Christensen, a Philadelphia playwright, has been commissioned to write the play, titled "Nothing Like the Sun."

The one-man show will feature Patrick Page, a veteran festival actor and member of Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, as the combative, eloquent Jonson.

The play is set during the evening in which Jonson wrote his famous epitaph to Shakespeare, shortly after the Bard's death.

Some scholars believe that Jonson felt intense jealousy for Shakespeare, who had limited schooling yet who created unrivaled masterpieces with seeming ease.

R. Scott Phillips, a member of the USF executive board, will direct the play, with Ace G. Pilkington assigned as dramaturg for the project.

* UTAH SYMPHONY bass player Lisa Allyn is one of eight persons selected to participate in the American Symphony Orchestra League's Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, an intensive training program in orchestra management.

The eight, the ninth such group to be chosen, will begin their year of study May 31 by spending two weeks in the ASOL offices in Washington. From there they will go to Chicago for the league's national conference. Later each will spend two 15-week periods with a major American orchestra, 16 weeks with a regional or metropolitan orchestra and one week with an urban or community orchestra.

Allyn joined the Utah Symphony in 1977 after study at California State University, San Diego State University and Grossmont College. Earlier Utah Symphony horn player Lynn Larsen spent a year as a management training fellow, following which he accepted a job as personnel manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

* CRAWFORD GATES, in town to conduct his Hill Cumorah pageant music with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony, paused to discuss life as he lives it in Beloit, Wis.

Gates gave up the musical direction of the Rockford Symphony in 1986, and has in effect resigned from the Beloit College music faculty, but maintains musical direction of the Beloit-Janesville Symphony.

"We assumed the double name because we receive about as much financial support from Janesville as from Beloit," explained the affable former Utahn.

Gates left Utah in 1967 because "I had done everything here," he said. "I had been for six years chairman of the music department at BYU, had conducted opera, symphony, Utah Symphony. The only job that really interested me - succeeding Abravanel as Utah Symphony conductor - was not in the cards, so I looked elsewhere."

Gates also conducted the Quincy (Ill.) Symphony for a year (1969-70) before taking on the Rockford Symphony in 1970. For each of his orchestras he conducted six subscription pairs annually, with resultant preparations.

But a prolific composing career has not suffered, with a peak of activity during the U.S. Bicentennial when he did commissions for many orchestras, celebrating regional features. He was busiest of all 1980-85, when he was keeping up all professional activities and serving as an LDS bishop.

"I have had six premieres of compositions with the Madison Symphony, including my `Stonehenge' for brasses, which was originally suggested by a member of the Chicago Symphony," he said.

Commissions have come thick and fast lately said Gates, who is busier composing now than he has ever been, booked solid through 1990. Foremost on the agenda has been the Hill Cumorah music, which has taken every waking moment, from 6 in the morning until late at night, for the past six months.

He also has a commission from Brian Bowman of Illinois-Washington D.C. for a piece for euphonium and harp. He'll compose a Centennial Overture for Weber State College, and a new work for Ballet West. Also upcoming in 1989 is a piano concerto for Grant Johannesen, to be premiered by an as-yet-undesignated orchestra.

A recent commission he greatly enjoyed was for the 1986 Madison Festival, a 12-minute work called "Lake Songs," celebrating the four lakes of Madison, united by the Yahara River.

Gates sees no permanent return to Utah in his future. "We have a lovely home in Beloit that my wife (Georgia Lauper) has restored, and where I live is irrelevant to my work," he said. "Beloit is more or less on a direct line between Rockford and Madison, and we are within an hour and half of Chicago. We have been to the Lyric Opera 100 times since we moved to Wisconsin."