The town's Concerts Under the Stars may seem too brief to some people, and, as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Without music life would be a mistake."
So each year, for 27 years, the Tonto Community Concert Association has brought a variety of world class artists to the Rim Country.
This year's performers are The Platters, Bay Street Brassworks, Derek Moloney, Time for Three, 4Score, Puttin' On the Hitz, Alpin Hong and Joe Burgstaller.
"We've been to a lot of the community concerts over the years," said TCCA member Robert Higginbotham. "The concerts were a nice family time. The four of us always went together. My son used to sit on my lap for the first several years."
Children learn to reason in many ways. When children are exposed to music some scientists theorize that neurons in the brain form connections that help them reason better and faster.
TCCA has arranged with Time For Three, Derek Moloney and Joe Burgstaller to be part of the outreach program to students in the community. They play a shortened version of their concerts and then have a question-and-answer session with the 700 to 800 students in attendance.
"It's nice, the artists don't talk down to the students," said Allen Fisher, TCCA publicist.
"I think everyone should buy a ticket and bring students," he said.
Minor children are admitted free with a ticket-paying adult.
Tickets are a bargain at $60 for the entire series.
"You can hardly go down to Phoenix for one concert performance and get in for $60," Fisher said. "The concerts here break down to just $7.50 a piece if you go to them all. Tickets at the door are $20 per person, per show."
The five-part harmony of The Platters kick off the season in September. The group sings hits like "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Only You (And You Alone)" and "My Prayer."
Bay Street Brassworks is next.
They perform pieces from a variety of genres, including classical, show tunes, Dixieland, rock, movie songs, and numerous compositions penned by the group's own members.
The group's trombone, french horn, tuba and two trumpets came together in 1995 in Baltimore, Md. In 2004, percussion was added to the ensemble, providing an invigorating rhythmic texture.
This wide range of music has resulted in an equally wide variety of engagements, from the opening ceremonies at Baltimore Orioles baseball games to world premiere performances at the 2004 Brass Chamber Music Forum, alongside the American Brass Quintet, Harvey Phillips, Gunther Schuller and Eric Ewazen.
Bay Street Brassworks' seemingly endless versatility and educational outreach has resulted in programming that is consistently "in touch" with people of all ages, leaving audiences nationwide asking for more.
You say opera is your style? Then the next solo artist may be just what you are longing to hear.
Tenor, Derek Moloney, a native of Limerick City, is establishing himself as the new voice of Ireland.
"Here is someone who possesses as fine a lyric tenor voice as has been heard in Wexford for many a long day. His purity of tone and unwavering pitch were matchless, and passages requiring sustained high notes and diminishing to pianissimo were executed flawlessly," wrote the Wexford Free Press on Moloney's performance at the Wexford Opera Festival with the Wexford Male Voice Choir.
As a member of the National Chamber Choir, Dublin, Moloney performs regularly at The National Gallery and tours Ireland, Spain and Sweden.
Moloney has performed for the president of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
He has worked with such artists as Sarah Brightman, Gearoid Grant, Pronsias O'Duinn, Michael O'Suilleabhan and Ronal O'Reilly.
"The young men from Time For Three play incredible string instruments," said Fisher of the performance he saw last year in Nashville, Tenn., when the TCCA board was choosing performers.
Time for Three is a charismatic ensemble with limitless enthusiasm and zero musical boundaries.
Founding members, violinists Zachary DePue and Nicolas Kendall and double bassist, Ranaan Meyer, met at the Curtis Institute of Music. Zach and Nick had already discovered a love of bluegrass "fiddling," when Ranaan joined them, mixing in a deep comprehension of jazz and improvisation.
The pre-established understanding of Hungarian and Spanish gypsy styles of all three provided the shared ground upon which these artists could experiment with a nontraditional blend of styles.
They have served as Artists in Residence at Philadelphia's Fleisher Memorial, and have performed at renowned venues, including the Kennedy Center.
Following a performance for the American Swedish Historical Museum, they were immediately re-engaged to play for the royal crown princess of Sweden.
There's no business like show business and producer Matt Davenport's 4Score, performing the Great American Songbook, will be the first show of the new year.
4Score features four talented singers backed by a trio of exceptional musicians, sparkling costumes and rich musical arrangements.
They aim to tune their audience into those nostalgic radio days with swinging hits like "It Don't Mean a Thing" to beautiful ballads like "The Very Thought of You" and "Mona Lisa." Throughout the show you'll hear the early classics from the Broadway stage to the modern sounds of musicals like "Wicked." You'll reminisce with the great harmonies of groups like the Andrew Sisters and Mills Brothers. The musical journey continues through the songs of Gershwin, Kern, Berlin and Rodgers, all culminating with the great Hollywood hits like "Over the Rainbow" and "The Sound of Music" with a grand patriotic finale.
Irving Berlin has been called the very definition of American music.
Puttin' On the Hitz, the Best of Irving Berlin is also being produced by Davenport.
The audience can expect to go steppin' out with the dynamic cast of eight singer/dancers plus a quartet of the finest jazz musicians, as they put on their top hats, white ties and tails underneath the stars of a Manhattan skyline.
Berlin began his career in the early 1900s, and his first big hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band," personified a music era.
Pianist Alpin Hong is returning to Payson for a concert in March.
In 2001, Hong became the first pianist in eight years to win the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, with a charismatic performance that earned standing ovations and the jury's unanimous vote.
Since then, he has made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall and has signed a recording contract with Amsterdam-based record label, Channel Classics. Most recently, he has been touring both the U.S. and Asia, performing solo recitals as well as major orchestral works.
With non-musical interests as varied as martial arts, snowboarding and skateboarding, it is no surprise that Hong offers an enthralling program that the New York Times enthusiastically once said "... went over the top, down the other side, and all the way over the top again!"
TCCA has plans to one day upgrade from the seven-foot Yamaha piano they purchased in October 2005 to a nine-foot piano. The longer strings equate to more tone and concert pianists prefer to play them.
Hong's performance may kick off TCCA's fund-raising for this piano, according to Fisher.
The man with the golden horn returns to end the TCCA 2006-2007 season in May.
Joe Burgstaller plays trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet and piccolo trumpet. He has performed and taught in 21 countries and hundreds of cities throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
He began at age 6 playing coronet, by age 12, he was improvising jazz with Chicago-area bands, and by 15, he was the youngest professional in the Virginia Opera Orchestra.
After graduating with both a bachelor's and master's degree and many awards from Arizona State University, he became North America's busiest trumpet recitalist, performing more than 50 solo concerts every season.
Dubbed by Instrumentalist Magazine as "The Next Mendez," Burgstaller offers a program with outstanding diversity and musical color, sure to engage listeners of all ages.
Questions about the Tonto Community Concert Association can be directed to (928) 478-4363 or (928) 474-6115. TCCA's Web site is www.tccarim.org.
7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14
Bay Street Brassworks
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22
Time For Three
7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007
Puttin' On the Hitz
2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10
2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18
2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20
All performances are at the Payson High School auditorium.