Deseret News – ‘I have just been dreaming of this for so long’: 9 Utah teens get their big moment with the Utah Symphony

For some, it was a major debut. For others, it was an exciting return. For all, it was the fulfillment of a dream.


Jill Smith could hardly contain her excitement.

The 17-year-old pianist had just performed on the Abravanel Hall stage with the Utah Symphony, and she was replaying every little detail.

“I finally got that moment to walk on stage, and the lights were shining and there were so many people here to see me,” she told the Deseret News from her dressing room backstage Tuesday night. “It just felt incredible.”

A few years earlier, Smith had shot for this moment but came up a little short in the audition process. But that only seemed to fuel her desire to be a part of the Utah Symphony’s annual Salute to Youth concert.

So when she bought a sparkly silver dress for prom, deep down, she envisioned wearing it for a potential debut with the Utah Symphony.

She’s now officially worn the dress twice.

“That was my vision — I just was so determined to win,” Smith said with a laugh. “I have just been dreaming of this for so long.”

Smith’s enthusiasm for Salute to Youth is palpable — and it’s a good representation of how her eight fellow musicians also felt about performing in the 61st annual concert Tuesday night.