Sometimes worthy people get what they deserve.
And the Swiss Chorus Edelweiss did.On Aug. 1 the chorus, which has been churning out music in Salt Lake City for 54 years, was given the first Governor's Cultural Heritage Award for 1988.
Former president Lydia M. Trevithick and Max Zimmer, secretary-historian for the group, must be credited with much of the behind-the-scenes hustle that landed the recognition.
In 1985 Zimmer heard that some folk musicians in Price had been presented with the Governor's Folk Art Award, so he looked into things. He put together a promotional package that detailed Swiss chorus performances over the years before hundreds of audiences in most regions of the state, going into detail about singing, dancing and other aspects of the group.
The Swiss chorus, however, learned that the folk art award went only to individuals, and the music the group sang was not within the guidelines for folk music.
Still, the application was not shelved. The Utah Arts Council, now aware of the chorus and its accomplishments, wanted to honor this fine state treasure, so the Cultural Heritage Award was established and the Swiss Chorus Edelweiss was given the first one.
The Swiss, of chorus, have a worldwide reputation for singing, dancing and yodeling. The oldest choral groups in Europe were established in Switzerland some 200 years ago, and since that time every town and hamlet in the country has spawned a singing society or a chorus.
There's an old adage that says, "Whenever three Swiss get together, they sing."
In the early years of Utah's Swiss chorus, the group had 70 singers and yodelers, 12 dancers and 10 musicians. They would sing up to 30 and 40 concerts a year.
Today the numbers are fewer on both counts, but the enthusiasm hasn't changed a whit.
For more information about the chorus and the award call the Utah Arts Council at 533-5895. - By Jerry Johnston, with Max Zimmer.