The Great American Songbook Series moves headfirst into the spring semester as students and faculty from SUU perform the songs of Johnny Mercer.Travel through the ages with the music of Johnny Mercer

By Ashley H Pollock

The Great American Songbook Series moves headfirst into the spring semester with its third concert Feb. 13 in the Southern Utah Museum of Art at 7:30 p.m. Students and faculty from Southern Utah University’s music department will perform the songs of American legend Johnny Mercer. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

“Johnny Mercer collaborated with so many composers such as Hoagy Carmichael, Henry Mancini, Harold Arlen, Harry Warren, and Duke Ellington,” said Carol Ann Modesitt, professor of music at SUU and the creator of the Great American Songbook Series. “He won four Academy Awards and was nominated numerous times. He wrote so many enchanting songs that are still considered to be pop classics. You’ll certainly recognize many of his hits such as “Moon River,” “Skylark,” and “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.” The list goes on and on.”

Johnny Mercer, born in 1909, was introduced to Broadway in the 1930s. Not only was he a lyricist but he also composed and performed pop hits as well. He served as founding president of the National Academy of Popular Music (now Songwriters Hall of Fame). His work continued through the 1970s until his death in 1976.

“The Great American Songbook Series has been a welcome addition to the concert season of the SUU department of music,” said Dr. Lawrence Johnson, chair of the music department. “Students have gained a new appreciation for American composers and lyricists, and audiences have the opportunity to hear so many of their favorite hits from the golden age of song! The department of music is extremely grateful for all the donations which support the students in the department through these concerts. So be sure to add us to your musical arts calendar and we hope to see you joining us in celebrating our rich history of American songs!”

Travel through the ages with the music of Johnny Mercer. For more information about the department of music at SUU, please visit

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