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Paul Cardall to perform with Lyceum Philharmonic June 16 at the Sandy Amphitheater

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SANDY — Some of the greatest moments of solo pianist Paul Cardall's professional career come when he gets letters from people telling him the difference his music has made in their lives.

One fan wrote him a letter saying their mother had cancer and only wanted to hear his music until the moment she passed.

“You think to yourself, ‘This is beyond me,’” Cardall said. “You feel humbled that you have the opportunity to give this music.”

Cardall will be performing some of that music with the Lyceum Philharmonic on June 16 in the Sandy Amphitheater.

The Lyceum Philharmonic is an after-school audition orchestra associated with American Heritage, a private school in American Fork. It is composed of high school-age students from all over the state — some driving two to three hours each way for every rehearsal. The group has received “Best Youth Instrumental Group” by Best of State Utah for the past four years and is, according to conductor Kayson Brown, more than just a high school orchestra.

Recently, the student orchestra has begun to perform with several professional musicians, including David Archuleta, Alex Boye and Steven Sharp Nelson. After talking with some of these musicians, Cardall thought he would like to hear his music “in all its fullness,” with a full orchestra accompanying him. After talking it over with Brown, the idea for this concert was born.

“You’re going to hear my album like you’ve never heard it before,” Cardall said. “The music is written specifically just for this show.”

Brown said as a teacher he hopes Cardall’s music will have an effect on his students who will be performing with him.

“This is more about helping my students understand the emotion in music and see what it’s like to be a professional musician,” he said.

Marshall McDonald, a local musician, worked with Brown to arrange Cardall's music to be performed by a full orchestra for this concert. Working together with musician Steven Sharp Nelson, McDonald previously orchestrated several of Cardall’s pieces for his last album "New Life," which hit No. 1 on the Billboard New Age chart. However, the orchestration on the album was restricted to mostly string instruments and French horn. For the concert with the Lyceum Philharmonic, Cardall chose several pieces for McDonald to flesh out with horns, woodwinds and percussion.

McDonald said he specifically tailored his arrangement of Cardall’s music to match Lyceum’s talent and abilities.

“I think that there are ways that you can build upon the emotional experience when adding other instruments,” McDonald said. “My goal is to not get in the way of Paul and his piano but just add to the emotions and bring out what Paul wants his listeners to feel.”

McDonald said Cardall has experienced quite a bit of adversity in his life and that he has used music to deal with those raw, deep emotions.

Cardall was born with a birth defect that, according to his website, he equates with having half a heart. This life-threatening problem brought Cardall through a series of surgeries and illnesses until he received a heart transplant in September 2009. He blogged about his experience during the 385 days of waiting for an organ donation, gaining up to a million followers and eventually turning the blogs into a memoir published by Shadow Mountain titled "Before My Heart Stops." Cardall’s album "New Life" was created shortly after this surgery.

According to his website, Cardall believes his music has the power to heal and inspire others.

“Anyone who comes to this concert will find healing and help and strength in this music,” McDonald said. “All will be touched and edified by this event.”

For more information visit paulcardall.com.

If you go...

What: Paul Cardall Live in Concert with the Lyceum Philharmonic

When: June 16, 8pm

Where: Sandy City Outdoor Amphitheater 9400 S. 1205 E.

How Much: Premium- $17, Priority- $15, Lawn- $11

Website: http://smithstix.com/events/item/root/paul-cardall-jun-16

Phone: 800-355-ARTS

Email: mgarrett@desnews.com