SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Symphony isn’t letting April Fools' Day pass by without a good joke.
But if the organization’s April 1 announcement does in fact turn out to be true, then going to a Utah Symphony concert just got a lot more interesting.
The Utah Symphony announced Monday that kea birds from the Tracy Aviary will be making their symphony debut during the 2019-20 season, joining musicians on percussion and woodwinds for select nature-themed works. According to Chip Dance, the Utah Symphony’s stage and production manager, the birds are “still in the audition process.”
Dance added that the symphony is taking no risks and has outfitted the orchestra with umbrella hats and ponchos.
But the symphony isn’t limiting its upcoming season to include only its feathered friends; elephants from Utah’s Hogle Zoo will also be showing off their musical talents, according to the news release. One elephant in particular, named Christie, is especially eager to shine.
“I just love the opportunity to basically combine elephants and music,” Lauren LeCoque, an elephant handler at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, said in the video. “Christie’s been performing her whole life and she's really really excited about this. We’ve been working really hard on her harmonica solo. … I really just think it’s going to add something extra to the symphony.”
The elephant soloists — and especially Christie’s big harmonica moment— will indeed add an authentic dynamic to the symphony’s performance of Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” at Abravanel Hall on March 21, 2020. According to the symphony's news release, there is no better way to pay tribute to the beautiful animal sounds featured during its upcoming, nature-inspired season than to include these feathered and four-legged guest artists.
“We couldn’t be happier with this collaboration with the Utah Symphony,” said Lauren Wester, marketing and communications coordinator at the Tracy Aviary. “Bird songs and classical music go hand in hand.”
Well played, Utah Symphony.