Utah Opera Receives Endowment for Education Outreach

Utah Opera Receives Endowment for Education Outreach

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) is delighted to announce the establishment of the "Elizabeth Brown Dee Fund for Music in the Schools," a $1 million gift that will continue to build and showcase our education outreach programs throughout the entire state.

"We are immensely grateful to the Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee Foundation for their commitment to sustaining our art form, especially our ambitious educational enterprise of bringing classical music to 150,000 Utah students annually," said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham. "Their generosity continues the Dee family's multi-generational passion for music and music education, which has enabled the orchestra and opera to present world-class music and to cultivate future artists and audiences."

Elizabeth Brown Dee found joy in music throughout her life, and experienced its power to inspire at an early age. Born in 1921 and raised in Ogden, Utah, Elizabeth learned to play piano in the family parlor. Litz, as she was known to friends and family, also discovered an aptitude and love for visual art and design. She attended the University of Utah where she took studio art classes from LeConte Stewart, studied art at the Meizinger Art School in Michigan, and served in World War II as a Women's Army Corps draftsman. After the war she created award-winning window displays for women's clothing stores in Ogden.

USUO Trustee and Dee Foundation Co-Chair David Dee remarked, "The Foundation Board appreciates this opportunity to partner with one of the leading music education programs in the country. We hope that our grant will inspire others to join us in continuing USUO's remarkable legacy of impacting lives throughout Utah."

Litz's sister Beverly Brown Lund became an accomplished cellist, studying at the Eastman School of Music. In 1949 Beverly and a friend scraped together enough donations for the Utah Symphony to perform its first concert in Ogden. Soon Litz, Beverly, and their wide circle of friends, family and fellow music lovers committed to raising support for multiple Utah Symphony performances in Ogden each year. Dedicated volunteers, staff and patrons have continued this hallmark of the cultural life of Ogden to the present day.

Litz worked passionately to make music and visual arts education available to the young people of Ogden. She understood the impact that experiencing world-class orchestral music made in the lives of her family and friends, and worked for decades as a volunteer, donor and leader to expand access to the arts in her community. The "Elizabeth Brown Dee Fund for Music in the Schools" will ensure that Utah Symphony | Utah Opera will continue to inspire students in Ogden and throughout the state of Utah in perpetuity, striking a note which would have delighted Litz.

"I've had the pleasure of knowing the Dee family for many years, and have always admired the leadership and vision they have provided our community," said Kem Gardner, Chair, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Board of Trustees. "Their philanthropy and commitment to Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's artistic values and education programs are truly inspiring and exemplary. This most recent gift is a fitting tribute to Elizabeth Brown Dee and speaks to the family's desire to ensure continued opportunities for our youth."

About Utah Symphony | Utah Opera

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera connects Utah communities through great live music, serving as the premier local provider of orchestral and operatic art forms. The Utah Symphony, which performs at Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall and is led by Music Director Thierry Fischer, is one of the most engaged orchestras in the nation. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including most recently the Mighty 5® tour of Southern Utah's National Parks, it has embarked on seven international tours and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra's 75th anniversary celebrations. Since 1978, Utah Opera has provided Utah's citizens with distinguished productions at the historic Capitol Theatre that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition. USUO reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region through its performances and educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. The organization employs 57 staff and 85 full-time musicians and presents four full operas and more than 175 symphony performances in each season throughout Utah and an annual summer festival - the Deer Valley® Music Festival - in Park City, Utah. For more information, visit www.usuo.org.

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