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Holladay Journal

Holladay Arts Council helps create a drive-in concert for enthusiastic fans

Sep 09, 2020 01:38PM ● By Sona Schmidt Harris

Joshy Soul & the Cool played to the drive-in crowd with the sun blazing behind them. (Photo courtesy Sheryl Gillilan)

By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]

It was a 100-degree day on Aug. 1—a good day to stay in. However, something magical happened that evening. Joshy Soul & the Cool played outdoors at a Drive-In “Un” Common Concert presented by the Holladay Arts Council. The weather was unusually pleasant when the concert began at 8:30 p.m., and the sunset was stunning.

Cars faced west. Some people remained in, others sat atop and still others set up lawn chairs outside their vehicles. It was a happy, summer-filled scene—one so needed during this COVID-19 crisis.

Otto Ahching and Allie Teller sat in the back of a pickup truck smiling and laughing.  Ahching said, “We miss concerts.” Teller added, “This concert is a good substitute for the Holladay concerts on the plaza.” Teller had seen Joshy Soul & the Cool previously and was happy to see them again.

Mayor Rob Dahle addressed the crowd and thanked the Big Cottonwood Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the use of their parking lot for the “Un” Common Concert Series. He also thanked the Holladay Arts Council for their creative solution for allowing concerts to continue during COVID-19.

Following Dahle, Jeff Whitely of Excellence in the Community, through which Joshy Soul & the Cool was booked, spoke to the crowd and praised the Holladay City Council for investing in local talent and the arts.

The concert began with an instrumental number showcasing the talents of the musicians.  The horn section was particularly strong and reminiscent of the popular 1970’s group, Earth Wind & Fire.

Horns honked in appreciation after each number and “Whews!” also pervaded throughout the concert. 

The summer classic “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” sung by Joshy Soul (Joshua Strauther) began the vocal section of the evening. The band is best described as an upbeat, mellow and sometimes funky jazz group. The band’s Facebook page describes their music as “a gentleman’s soul music.” 

Further showcasing Strauther’s composition and arrangement talents, the band played “Magic” devoted to the women who raised Strauther and to “all women.”

A roller skater, Strauther said he wrote ‘Heat” to get him going and moving.

A highlight of the evening was the band’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s, “Billie Jean.” In Joshy Soul & the Cool’s able hands, “Billie Jean” sounded not like a dance tune, but a mournful and soulful contemplation.

With the sound bouncing off the stake center behind them, the crowd ate hors d’oeuvres and dinner, snuggled, laughed and clapped.

Sheryl Gillilan, executive director of the Holladay Arts Council, summed up the evening when she said, “It was a great night!”

If you missed Joshy Soul & the Cool, it is currently streaming on the Holladay Arts Council YouTube channel.

Holladay Bank & Trust, Rocky Mountain Power and Relics Framemakers and Gallery are major sponsors of the Drive-In “Un” Common Concert Series.