Gandy Dancer to sponsor local musician showcase at Peery’s theater
OGDEN — Glenn Croydon and his wife, Boni Gravelle, are an impulsive couple. So it was in character when they decided to leave their home in Hawaii and move to Huntsville after falling in love with the Utah mountains.
“We were attending our son’s wedding in Ogden and we couldn’t get over the mountains,” Gravelle said. “We found a home on 25th Street and thought we’d use it as a rental, but we fell in love with it and moved in. Then, eight months later, my husband sent me a picture of these wild turkeys walking in the snow up in Huntsville and we decided to move up here. We’ve very impulsive.”
In April 2021, the couple visited Burch Creek Mercantile in South Ogden and decided to purchase the business, but they wanted to do more than just ice cream and other goods. They wanted to turn it into a place where people could come into the store, eat ice cream or a meal, nibble on snacks, have a cup of coffee with a friend, or sit down and read a good book while listening to local musicians perform onstage.
“We built a simple stage and named the place the Gandy Dancer Mercantile after the railway workers,” Croydon said. “We wanted to honor the hard workers here in Utah and also bring another music venue to the area to get (them) the recognition they deserve. We really wanted it to be a place where customers become friends.”
Since opening, over 80 different local musicians have shared their talents at the Gandy Dancer, and the feedback from the public has been wonderful, the couple said.
“We had one man who was here sitting on the couch and when the concert was over he said to us, ‘When I die, I hope I wake up in a place like this,'” Gravelle said. “It’s very touching to hear our customers say how much they enjoy themselves when they come here.”
Later this month, the couple will collaborate with Excellence in the Community, a nonprofit organization that brings local musicians to diverse communities with free concerts. The concert will be held at Peery’s Egyptian Theater from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 9.
“We’re in the joy business,” said Jeff Whiteley, founder and managing director of Excellence in the Community. “We work to weave the accomplishments of Utah musicians more visibly and more regularly into the fabric of Utah communities, and it’s all free.”
Excellence in the Community brings Utah musicians to the Ogden stage once a month, Whiteley said, with numerous genres, from classical and jazz to Broadway and bluegrass.
“There’s no cost because we want high-quality music to reach everyone,” he said. “We also love Peery’s Egyptian Theater. It’s an artistic jewel box for downtown Ogden and we think people should look at that as a privilege. Many towns do not have a gathering place as nice as that.”
The Gandy Dancer is sponsoring the upcoming event which will feature Eden’s Yellow Rose and Ophir Creek. Each group will perform for one hour. In addition, once the doors open at 6:30 p.m., Picks ‘N Stix, a local fiddle group, will be performing in the foyer.
“We are so excited to be collaborating on this event,” Gravelle said. “There are so many talented people here and we really want to be able to share those talents with the community.”