Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Magna Fourth of July Parade 2012

     Magna parades stand out in the fun, generational memories of Magna residents. These are special times when neighbors and friends compete for shade and greet each other with smiles and enthusiastic hand shakes. It's hard to tell who's liberal or conservative or what religious creed they might hold to. You might see a Mormon helping support the Spaghetti dinner hosted by Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church or a baptist throwing in a few bucks to help local needy families. We all hold something in common, a love for our community and historical heritage.
     A fictional Magna Forth of July parade (as it might have been in 1984) will appear in part III of my new serial novel, In Older Worlds. Magna itself, the physical setting not the people, will act as a setting for a strange, dark fantasy/horror. It's written in a way that a person who grew up in Magna at that time would recognize and understand. For those who have never seen Magna, it will be like an introduction to a great, personal friend.
     I'd like to send out a special thank you to Todd and Carolyn Richards for your dedication and service to Magna and the Fourth of July committee--they even stored the Miss Magna float in their yard when no one else would take it! 
     As for these photos, taken today, with love, enjoy them! And God Bless.
     Robert Goble
Magna Fourth of July parade possibly late 1940s to early 1950s. Notice the Empress Theater in the background. Photographer unknown.

Magna Fourth of July parade 2012. Magna Mountain Riders. Notice the same Empress Theater as in the above photo.
Town Councilman Todd Richards walks the parade route along 8560 West near Brockbank Junior High minutes before the parade starts.
Kylie Lanktree, Miss Magna 2012, stands with Little Miss, Elle Crossly in front of Magna Elementary on 3100 South minutes before the parade starts. Ken's Sandwich Shoppe, though not in the photo, is just to the west.

Miss Magna royalty First Attendant Marky Johnson with her Little Miss, Taila Robinson in front of new Magna library on Main Street.

 Miss Magna royalty Second Attendant Jill Cardenas with her Little Miss, Jensen Brian in front of the new Magna library on Main Street.

Miss Magna director Ryan Egbert along parade route on 8560 West near Brockbank Jr. High. His wife, Bonnie Egbert, formerly Bonnie Goble (Miss Magna 1994), is also director.

Folks gather along the parade route in front of Brockbank Jr. High.

Lake Ridge Elementary students carry the flag past 3010 South. Looking west toward Cyprus High School. The Cyprus C rises proudly on Thead's Peak in the background. 

Jazz band, Happy Valley Strutters, plays an upbeat tune dedicated in memory of Norm Fitzgerald, a well loved Town Councilman who had recently passed.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon along 8560 West.

The crowd fills the street at the corner of 2700 South and 8560 West as the parade approaches. Photo looking east. Notice the Grub Box sign in the background. The Grub Box will appear in my new novel, In Older Worlds.

Rod and Joline Walgamott, best known for their tireless work on the board of the Oquirrh Hills Performing Arts Alliance, and as Atlas holds the world on his back, so Rod and Joline hold the Empress Theater.

Daughter and mother, Alyx Pattison and Arlene Pattison. Alyx, a former student of Cyprus High School and member of the dance company under the auspices of Lori Rupp, is now a partner of the Chicago law firm, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP . Arlene, a former resident of Garfield and long-time resident of Magna, is appreciated for her service with the Community Council.

John Alfred recently returned from serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Albuquerque, NM. He shows his prowess as a horseman. For the record, the horse is steadily moving along Main Street. He isn't standing still.

Brian and Tamara Cruz and family. Brian can boast a heritage to the earliest settlers of the Magna area (Pleasant Green and Coonville) through the Sadlers and Hardmans, to Abraham Coon, an early pioneer. Coon's Canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains is named after him. Lehi Nephi Hardman was the first LDS Bishop of the Pleasant Green Precinct. He had chartered the Pleasant Green Cemetery (Cemetery Hill) in 1882.

Parade-watchers braving the sun with smiles. Main Street looking west. Oquirrh Mountains in the background.

Jim and Shellie Bezzant on the shady 8500 West near the Peel Funeral Home and just North of Brockbank Jr. High. Jim Remembers Fourth of July parades all the way back to the sixties and seventies. His father is Dick Bezzant who has served the community for many years, including sitting on the Magna Water Board.

Main Street looking west. Notice the kennecott power plant that has stood on the hill since the 1940s.

Cyprus High School Football.

Only Cyprus High School cheerleaders get a military escort.

Cyprus High School student body officers. My daughter, Tara Goble can barely be seen with her arm raised in the boat.

The Cyprus High School Spinnakers near the new library on Main Street. 

Parade route farther west near the old Dyches Rexall Drug Store.

John and Jackie Sudbury serve as announcers near Magna Oil Changes Etc. The whole Sudbury family is well known and loved in Magna. John is a face any sports fanatic in Utah should know, but by far he is known and loved by so many youth he has coached and supported in football and other sports.

Brandt Goble is well known and loved in Magna. He has run for office and served with unions. He's currently the president of  West United Soccer, helping coach and train kids in an international sport. His family's influence is also historical and influential in the area sharing heritage to Lehi Nephi Hardman and Abraham Coon. 

Michael Jensen has a long resume of service to Magna and Salt Lake County, including Salt Lake Council Councilman for District 2 and Chief of the Unified Fire Authority. 

What's a parade without Chinese dragons?

Daniel Thatcher, State Senator District 12, keeps Magna close to his heart. This active young senator chairs two committees and is an active influence in ten others. He frequently keeps his ear close to the voters by attending local meetings and staying in touch with many residents. You can often speak to him face to face at West Side Matters meetings.

State Representative District 22, Sue Duckworth is well-loved among the Magna residents. The Duckworth family is known for many years of service to the community and state. Her husband Carl also served as representative. 

The Rice family smiles in the sun. Laurie Rice has served in the PTA at Orchard Elementary.

Donnie Sweazey rumbles past in his catchy purple hot-rod. He's best known for his business, Oil Changes Etc.

Parade watchers sit in the shadow of the old Gem Theater. Many long-time residents have fond memories of the old-fashioned seating, stage under the screen, red curtains, and pickle jar that sat on the glass counter. The last movie I saw there was Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Gem will appear in my new novel, In Older Worlds, as it was still showing movies in 1984. Remember the family movie nights on Mondays?

Another shot of Main Street looking east. The Ethnic and Mining museum is nearby.

Once again, a special thanks to Todd and Carolyn Richards and the Fourth of July committee for a wonderful and successful parade!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Great Britain Comes to Stage at the Empress with Oliver!

The Empress on a hot July afternoon on Magna's Main Street before a showing of Oliver!

      Theater guests familiar with one another greet each other with smiles, waves, and handshakes. It's a true community theater, and the intimate "family feeling" spreads to newcomers and out-of-towners eager to enjoy the classic British musical and generational Broadway smash by writer and composer Lionel Bart, Oliver! The lights dim, erasing the empty stage, and the music begins. 
     But just before, downstairs, under the stage, the scene was of actors and actresses, most young, a few old, for many their first play, dressing, singing, and preparing to give their all to delight the audience and carry them the Dickensian world of London in the 1850s. 
     "I see London as a dirty, gritty place," said Lila Cripps (ensemble and 'bit parts')...the people at that time were either very rich or very poor or working very hard. It would be a very difficult time to have to live that way, and I think it makes people nowadays open their eyes."
     First-time Director, Becky Walk, hovered near as the actors gathered in the theater before the guests' arrival. Having done musical theater in college, she fell in love with the "cute little community theater" where the "people are awesome." When Becky had heard the Empress needed a director for Oliver! her sister and the play's choreographer talked her into joining. She took her role seriously, researching the "old town London," the costumes and the music and much more. Already familiar with the play, having been a fan since she was a kid, directing the show was a "neat" experience that took a lot of dedication, especially keeping the large cast of kids on task, "but they've really done a good job."
     The actors made a circle on the stage floor and took each other by the hand, linking the wide circle, a bonding moment.
      Though many of the actors and actresses were regulars at the theater, Michael Johnson (Bill Sykes), a student of the Actor Training Program in the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah, had "never seen a show or been in a show" before at the empress. "I walked into this theater," Michael said, "and absolutely fell in love with it. I love the space, like just the way it’s set up. And downstairs...the dressing rooms...everything it’s just perfect. It’s a great atmosphere I love the people who work here. Its been awesome" 
     Actress Valerie Packer (Nancy), also her first time at the Empress said, "It's so fun. Its such an intimate setting. The audience can see your facial expressions, and I think (they) get a better feel for your character." She had dreamed of playing the role of Nancy since her mother had played the same role "when she was my age." 
     Next door the sound of power tools drifted into the street. By then the play had run to intermission and the sun cut its last rays over the golden peaks of the Oquirrh Mountains. As guests filled the foyer and bought goodies, the kind of goodies that made the musical even better, Bennie Nugter worked in the "Toy Shop" building a new wooden ladder for the theater. For Bennie the Empress was a family endeavor. His wife, Marie, was backstage working on props, while their son and daughter, both actors, prepared for the second act.
     Bennie, not a resident of Magna, spoke proudly of his family's dedication to the theater. His daughter, Sasha (Charlotte) "was in every show last year one way or another. She auditioned for all the shows that she could audition for. Some she got in and some she didn’t, and the ones that she didn’t get in, like Forever Plaid was all guys, she actually did lights. Ever since she was a little kid she’s been a little theater bug and she doesn’t mind getting up in front of people and going into character."
     Behind him on the wall were drawings of scenery, one of a hob fireplace and a brick hearth with a "secret compartment," a fireplace he'd dedicated many hours of work to, the same fireplace Brett Hanson (Fagin) hunched over with suspicious eyes glancing about for witnesses as he sang, "Reviewing the Situation."
     In the afterglow of a musical well done, as the audience slowly moved into the foyer and out into hot summer night and and the shining streetlights to meet the actors (an enjoyable tradition that hopefully will last for many years to come), Leora Thomas of Salt Lake City walked to her car. "I'm really hooked on this theater, and it brings a lot of memories back to me. My husband was from Garfield. We come out quite often to see the plays here and we enjoy every one of them, which is fantastic!"
     Oliver! runs through July 21, 2012. Visit the Empress Theater website for more information on the coming Beauty and the Beast, Jr.; Hello, Dolly; and The Christmas Box and many more.