‘Why We Tell the Story’ is spreading one teacher’s influence far beyond the walls of her classroom

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Sarah Cooper and Jeremy Hill dance in the benefit concert for the Syd Riggs Foundation. (Photos by Amanda Carroll, courtesy of the Syd Riggs Foundation.)
Sarah Cooper and Jeremy Hill dance in the benefit concert for the Syd Riggs Foundation. (Photos by Amanda Carroll, courtesy of the Syd Riggs Foundation.)

For one night only, more than 100 of Utah’s finest entertainers will perform in the fifth annual Syd Riggs Foundation concert, “Why We Tell the Story.” This benefit concert funds a scholarship for students pursuing a higher education in the arts.

Created in 2009 the Syd Riggs foundation honors the late Sydney Ann Samuelson Riggs, a beloved teacher, director, mentor and friend in the theater world. Riggs obtained her MFA from BYU and worked closely with professors in the Music Dance Theater program. Riggs directed hundreds of plays and musicals in her career for BYU, UVU, Hale Center Theatre, SCERA Center for the Arts and Thanksgiving Point, to name a few. She had a passion for “telling the story,” in whatever medium possible.

“The talent represented in this show is amazing,” said Ben Tichy, event organizer and artistic director of the show. “All of these performers have been touched by Syd and are paying it forward, giving others the opportunity to attend college and study the arts,” which Riggs encouraged throughout her life. Tichy said because of the talent in the cast, there is “no better show in Utah on a Saturday night.”

Cast members in the show have recently finished performimg on Broadway, going on national tours, filming movies, recording albums and more. These nation-renowned artists donate their time and energy to promote the arts in the Utah Valley community. A large number of cast members are also current or former BYU students.

“Utah’s art community is closely knit, and we try to support each other,” said Marilee Killpack, a BYU alumna and professional dancer. “Syd directed the first play I did, and she made an impact on me. I think it’s wonderful to see that influence now benefitting so many.”

This showcase of popular musical theater will take place Feb. 2 at 6:00 and 8:30p.m. at the Orem High School auditorium, where Riggs taught and directed. All proceeds benefit the Syd Riggs Foundation’s art scholarship and education programs. For more information on the show and tickets, click here.

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