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FAMILIAR TUNES WILL RESOUND FOR LAST TIME IN S.L. ARENA

SHARE FAMILIAR TUNES WILL RESOUND FOR LAST TIME IN S.L. ARENA

OF THE 20 or so songs and medleys that maestro Eugene Jelesnik has listed for next week's Days of '47 Pops Concert in the Salt Palace's Acord Arena, there's one that is obviously missing.

What Jelesnik should be conducting, as part of the program, is "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho . . . the Walls Come Tumbling Down."Before the end of the year, the walls of the big, drum-shaped arena - a landmark in downtown Salt Lake City for nearly 25 years - will start to come tumbling down. The upcoming concert by Jelesnik and his popular Salt Lake Philharmonic Orchestra will probably be the final major concert in the arena before crews begin razing the structure to make way for expansion of the Salt Palace Convention Center complex.

In fact, four of the songs on the concert program have been included because they were also performed by the philharmonic 24 years ago, when the same orchestra provided music for the grand opening celebration and dedicatory banquet on July 11, 1969.

On the very next night - Saturday, July 12 - one of the largest Utah audiences ever assembled inside one place at the same time flocked to the giant arena for a premiere concert by Glen Campbell. This "shakedown" concert was far from perfect; it was soon discovered that the new arena had some acoustic problems. During the next few months, drapes were hung on the vast expanse of brick walls and the sound system was eventually upgraded, which provided improved acoustics for concerts.

The audience for the Salt Lake Philharmonic's first performance in the arena was - by later standards - very small. The event on July 11, 1969, was mostly a banquet, with Maestro Jelesnik's musicians providing the entertainment. The program for the affair mistakenly listed the ensemble as the "Salt Lake Symphony" instead of the Salt Lake Philharmonic.

One of the final segments of next week's concert will be a special arrangement of "Thanks for the Memory," during which Frank Layden, president of the Utah Jazz, will narrate a nostalgic tribute to the Salt Palace. The script was written by Utah author Gerald McDonough.

Like previous pops concerts - always free of charge and usually drawing large numbers of the "Lawrence Welk" era crowd - this one will contain a variety of classical and light classical music, songs from Hollywood and show tunes from Broadway.

The four selections culled from those in the dedication program a quarter of a century ago are Mozart's overture to "Marriage of Figaro," Johann & Joseph Strauss' "Pizzicato Polka," Johann Strauss' "Tritsch Tratsch Polka" and Barclay Allen's "Cumana," the latter featuring pianist Bob Davis.

Guest artists will include Jack Imel, formerly a headliner for the Lawrence Welk Champagne Music Makers, and singer Dolores Park, who has performed with Bob Hope.

Inspired by Nana Mouskouri's recent standing-room-only concert at Abravanel Hall, Jelesnik has invited soprano Billie Loukas to perform a medley of Mediterranean songs with the A Touch of Greece combo (Jerry Floor, Jim Tsou-fa-kis, Chris Kaniakas and Dave Floor). They'll do renditions of "Never on Sunday," "Misirlou" and "Street of Dreams."

Local baritone Cliff Cole will be featured in selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber's megahit musical, "The Phantom of the Opera."

A 60-page newspaper advertising supplement published on July 9, 1969, provides some interesting history, not only about the soon-to-be-dedicated Salt Palace itself (then only about one-third the size the entire complex is today), but also about how much things have changed in downtown Salt Lake during the past 24 years.

One story compared the differences between the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square and the then state-of-the-art Salt Palace arena. Seating in the historic Tabernacle, on rows of wooden benches, is somewhere in the 7,500 to 8,000 range, while the Acord Arena seats between 9,000 and 14,000 (the lower figure is for the permanent, upholstered seats above the arena floor; the additional 5,000 portable seats would vary somewhat depending on the configuration for anything from conventions and track meets to circuses, concerts and ice shows).

For most ice rink and sporting events, the Salt Palace arena could hold about 10,600 - considerably fewer than the new Delta Center.

Until the Salt Palace was constructed, the Tabernacle had been used for both civic and LDS Church events. When the Salt Palace complex was later expanded to the north, with the Salt Lake Art Center galleries and Symphony Hall (now Abravanel Hall) in one phase and additional exhibit and convention space in another phase, such events as Utah Symphony concerts were no longer held in the Tabernacle.

The same story noted the differences in how the Salt Palace and the Tabernacle were constructed, although both have dome roofs. The Tabernacle was built without the detailed blueprints utilized today, but the Salt Palace required more than 60,000 man-hours by Bonneville Architects just for design and research.

Both the Tabernacle and the Salt Palace have been considered architectural marvels - the latter because of its unique "bicycle wheel" style roof. During the final stages of its construction, a Russian professor of civil engineering and a Japanese engineer toured the site and they both agreed the arena's design was "the architecture of the future."

Similar cable-suspension roof systems have been used for arenas in Phoenix, Dallas and Oklahoma City.

A perusal of the advertising and stories in the commemorative dedication program from 1969 are evidence of the major changes in downtown Salt Lake City since then. One story noted that just two months earlier, ZCMI had announced plans for a massive expansion project: the razing of much of the property on the block where its century-old flagship store had stood and plans for a big, new complex that would include the ZCMI Center enclosed mall and a high-rise office building (the Beneficial Tower on the State Street side of the complex).

Many ads in the newspaper supplement are for businesses that no longer exist - Wolfe's at 250 S. State (razed to make way for the big Block 57 project) . . . Auerbach's, which said it was "proud to be part of this growing excitement" at the corner of State and Broadway (now an office complex) . . . Bratten's seafood restaurants . . . Axelrad's Furniture, 255 S. State . . . Tampico Mexican Food . . . the Hawaiian and Beach Boy restaurants . . . the downtown Woolworth's, which was promoting its "Golden Fried Chicken" (only $1.98 for an eight-piece bucket) . . . the Utah Pioneer Village (before it was moved to Lagoon's resort) . . . and an ad for the Newhouse Hotel ("just minutes away" from the Salt Palace with daily rates starting at $8).

These long-missing businesses have since been replaced by a variety of other buildings, including new hotels and high-rise office towers, a second downtown mall (the Crossroads Plaza), and long-range plans indicate even more changes in the works for the downtown area.

While the Salt Lake Philharmonic concert on July 13 - just two days shy of being exactly 24 years after they inaugurated the arena - may not "bring down the house" (that won't start until the wrecking crews move in sometime in November), next Tuesday's program will certainly bring back memories for those who've attended countless events in the big, drum-shaped hall.

- TICKETS: The Days of '47 Pops Concert, like all of the philharmonic's programs, is free of charge and open to the general public. However, tickets should be obtained for those who want to sit in the better seats. They're available at all ZCMI customer service counters, the Salt Palace box office, Dayne's Music Co. (which provides the concert's Steinway piano), the front desk of the Newspaper Agency Corp. offices at 143 S. Main, the Marriott Hotel and the visitors centers on Temple Square.

Where will next year's Days of '47 Pops Concert be held?

Jelesnik's other concerts during the year have been held in a variety of venues - the Marriott Hotel grand ballroom, the Salt Palace Assembly Hall and the Utah Fairpark grandstand, among others. But the Days of '47 concert, which is the official kickoff for the city's annual Days of '47 celebration, usually draws audiences of 5,000 or more, so it requires a large space.

The Tabernacle has been mentioned as one possibility. Maybe the new baseball stadium would work or an outdoor site like Sugarhouse Park.