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Guest artists and the Mormon Youth Symphony create magic

Some of Utah's brightest musical stars shone Friday night in the Salt Lake Tabernacle as eight notable guest artists joined the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus. The concert was presented free to the public as a goodwill offering in honor of the pioneer sesquicentennial.

The audience was treated to an evening of varied musical offerings by the famous and the up-and-coming. There was something to please the musical tastes of almost anyone.Robert Peterson, of the Pioneer Theatre Company by way of Broad-way, gave the kind of crowd-pleasing performance that is his signature, leading off with an emotionally riveting performance of the soliloquy from "Carousel."

Diminutive violinist Jenny Oaks, a student at Julliard School, played the wickedly difficult Carmen Fantasy by Bizet/Sarasate with aplomb beyond her youthful age. Her sinuous playing was set off nicely by the orchestra, of which she was once a member.

Ariel Bybee, whose 18-year career with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City was precipitated by her appearances with the Utah Symphony under Maurice Abravanel, proved herself a fine comedienne in Orlofsky's Song from "Die Fledermaus." The charming diva revealed another side of her musical personality with a torchy performance of the Broadway tune "Falling in Love with Love."

Brian Bowman and his euphonium were surprisingly entertaining in an astonishing display of technical virtuosity. Bowman's excellent musicianship overshadowed the melodrama, and yes, corniness, of the Herbert L. Clarke piece he played.

Mozart's youthful Concerto No. 1 was given a glistening performance by pianist Dian Baker. The lyrical second movement was especially well-played by the orchestra, which collaborated admirably with the graceful and dextrous playing of Baker.

Tenor George Dyer gave a charismatic performance backed by the young men of the Mormon Youth Chorus. Dyer, who made his professional debut with New York City Opera last season, has a glorious sound and an excellent stage presence, both shown to fine advantage in an aria from "La Cenerentola" by Rossini.

Max Bruch's "Kol Nidrei" was performed with great warmth and emotional maturity by Roger Drinkall. The long slow melodic lines of the piece were carried forward with great authority by Drink-all, but the orchestra had some difficulty in maintaining the momentum.

Marvin Goldstein, pianist, pleased the capacity crowd with arrangements of LDS songs. The orchestral scoring showed some fine creativity, though the performance was longer on style than substance.

The all-volunteer orchestra graciously took a back seat to the guest artists and did a credible job of accompanying them. Their sound betrays the youthfulness of most of the members, yet it is hard to quibble about such a generous outpouring of talent and dedication. Musical director Robert Bowden had the nerve-wracking task of following the rather free performances of some of the soloists and managed admirably.