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Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy staff
Musicians playing for the annual Vivaldi by Candlelight concert come from all over the world.

SALT LAKE CITY — Composer Antonio Lucio Vivaldi is the star and the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy is the beneficiary of the annual "Vivaldi by Candlelight" concert, scheduled for Dec. 10 at First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City.

The 34th annual all-Baroque concert will be conducted by local violinist, author and craftsman Gerald Elias.

Elias, a master violinist and author of a series of books with an emphasis on the imagery in Vivaldi's music, has directed, conducted and soloed in the concerts for the past 13 years.

The concert proceeds go to help fund the work of the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, a leader in promoting global understanding and respect among people in Utah and in nations around the world. Felicity Maxfield Barrett, spokeswoman for the council, said she expects the concert will raise about $20,000.

The money raised goes toward expenses incurred as the council sponsors visits and workshops for visitors throughout the year, she said.

"Our organization is guided by the concept of citizen diplomacy," Barrett said. "That is the concept that as citizens we have the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations one handshake at a time."

She said the organization is a nonprofit partner with the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership and hosts "nearly 500 emerging international leaders to Utah each year."

"This is the 34th year UCCD has hosted 'Vivaldi by Candlelight,' and each year we see a growing increase of support from the local community," Barrett said. "This is primarily because people see the value of welcoming international visitors to Utah for professional and cultural exchanges, and the 'Vivaldi by Candlelight' echoes peace and harmony in a society that is overwhelmed by stress, anxiety and busy schedules during the holiday season."

Elias added that it is the concert's "unique programing, setting and ambiance" that have made it a holiday tradition in the area.

"It's the only all-Baroque chamber orchestra in Salt Lake, comprising some of the best professional musicians that the city offers and former Utahns who travel here just to be part of this event," he said.

This year's program will include works by composers such as Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann, William Boyce, Alessandro Scarlatti and Pietro Castrucci, a composer Elias said he was not familiar with until he began planning the concert.

"The combination of this inspired Baroque music being performed in the picturesque, candlelit First Presbyterian Church … creates a sense of intimacy and excitement which brings the musicians and the audience together in a unique and memorable way," Elias said. "Not only does one not need to be an expert to enjoy 'Vivaldi by Candlelight,' one might well enjoy the music even more experiencing it for the first time."

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For more information about Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, visit utahdiplomacy.org.

If you go …

What: 34th annual "Vivaldi by Candlelight" benefit concert

Where: First Presbyterian Church, 12 C St., Salt Lake City

When: Dec. 10, 8 p.m.

How much: $125 for VIP reserved seating that includes preconcert dinner, $45 for reserved seating, $25 for students

Web: vivaldi.brownpapertickets.com

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 40 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com