Holiday Concert Celebrates 125 Years of SUU

Published: November 18, 2022 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU's Choir performs at annual Holiday ConcertSouthern Utah University’s Department of Music is celebrating 125 years of SUU with its annual Holiday Concert on Friday, December 2, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. in Cedar City’s Heritage Center Theater. Along with performances by the Wind Symphony, Opus, Concert and Women’s Choirs, and Orchestra, the evening will debut the musical score “Thunderbird,” commissioned to celebrate 125 years of SUU.

"We in the music department are extremely grateful to all those ‘Heroes’, ‘Champions’, and ‘Thunderbirds’ that built this university and grew it to the strong force it is today,” said Dr. Lawrence Johnson, Department of Music chair. “The music in this holiday and anniversary concert will celebrate those pioneers and visionaries with tour-de-force pieces that give honorable credit to their foresight and belief in our continued success."

“Thunderbird” by world-renowned composer and professor of composition at the University of Texas, Donald Grantham, was commissioned specifically for the SUU Wind Symphony. As the Wind Symphony continues to mature and successfully perform advanced literature, SUU student and French horn player Zach Mercer thought it great timing to propose a commissioned work for the ensemble. The work will touch on SUU’s unique history, its early commitment to education, and its drive to “go back up the mountain.”

The Symphony Orchestra will perform "Celebration" from the Spanish Trail Suite by Steve Nelson and Marshall McDonald, a piece commissioned for the Orchestra of Southern Utah and expresses the celebration of the establishment of Cedar City.

Each group will also perform well-known pieces and holiday favorites including "Summon the Heroes" by John Williams, "Sing Nowell" by Allan Robert Petker, "Alleluia" by Randall Thompson, "Betelehemu" by Wendall Whalum, and "Call of the Champions" by John Williams.

Students, faculty, staff and community are all welcome to start off the holiday season at the annual Holiday Concert. Admission is free. For more information on the SUU Department of Music, visit

Celebrating 125 Years of SUU

In 1897 the founders of Southern Utah University believed so strongly in the power of education that they risked their lives and finances for the privilege of building and hosting an institution of higher education in rural Cedar City, Utah. Their determination and grit are woven into the cultural fabric of SUU. SUU’s enduring legacy is built on 125 years of fortitude, determination, and community triumph. Celebrate with us as we explore our rich history and prepare for a bright future. Learn more at

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