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Park City Music Community Plans to Memorialize Joy Tlou with Live Music Friday

Mountain Town Music

  Joy Tlou — a Park City musician and educator known for his joyful spirit and magical voice — has died unexpectedly. He was 57.


Tlou passed away at his Highland Estates home. His body was discovered Saturday. According to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, he died of natural causes. 


One of his friends, fellow musician Dana Williams, met Tlou 25 years ago at a jam night. Williams says Tlou’s voice and spirit will be missed.


“God, a sweet man, an amazing disposition and one of the happiest guys – he was certainly appropriately named, and this is such a great loss for us,” Williams said. 


Tlou first met guitarist Eric Sopanen more than 20 years ago when they were members of the Soul Patrol band. Three years later, Sopanen says, Tlou suggested they do their own thing as an acoustic duo.


“We tried it out and the rest is history, I guess you could say,” Sopanen said.  


To know Tlou, he added, was to love him.


“He’ll be sorely missed,” Sopanen said. “He was such a part of the Park City culture and scene up here. He was referred to often as the honorary mayor of Park City. Everybody knew him and everyone who knew him loved him. He was a phenomenon. He was one in a million.”


While music was a big part of Tlou’s life, so was his job at Salt Lake Community College, where he was an employee for nearly 30 years. He most recently served as the school’s public relations director and public information officer. 


SLCC released a statement saying that Tlou’s reach across the college was positive and profound.


“He was deeply committed to the college and loved to talk about the students’ stories and triumphs,” the statement read. “Everyone loved working with him.”


A celebration of life for Joy Tlou will be held on Friday at City Park from 4-8 p.m. Plan to bring your own food and drinks.


Williams says it will be an opportunity for those who loved Tlou to gather and memorialize him and he expects there will be some live music as well, perhaps including Tlou’s favorite song. 


That favorite track, according to Sopanen, is he and Tlou’s cover of a song by The Samples called “We All Move On.”

Tough but fair, Leslie is the woman most of Park City wakes up with every weekday morning. Leslie has been at KPCW since 1990 and her years at KPCW have given her depth and insight, guiding her as she asks local leaders and citizens the questions on everyone’s minds during the live interviews of the Local News Hour.