For Immediate Release: April 17, 2009
Contact: Darcy Minter
The Western Folklife Center Presents Red Rock Rondo,
a Musical Documentary Film of Zion National Park
Red Rock Rondo, a musical documentary film of the people, place and history of Zion National Park, Saturday, May 9, 2009 at the Dixie State College O.C. Tanner Amphitheater, in Springdale, Utah. The program begins at 8:00 pm with a concert of songs from the Red Rock Rondo song cycle, followed by the film screening at 9:00 pm. Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors and youth under 18), and are available through the Western Folklife Center's website, by calling 888-880-5885, or at the door.
As Utah's Zion National Park turns 100, the Western Folklife Center in cooperation with KUED TV have produced an hour-long high-definition television program that has been selected as a signature project of the Park's Centennial celebration. Red Rock Rondo explores this spectacular place and its people through their stories set to music by Phillip Bimstein, former mayor of Springdale, Utah, which borders the Park. Red Rock Rondo weaves together the contemporary and historical, creating a rich portrait of this spectacular place and the people whose lives are so intricately connected to and affected by it. These songs cover the pioneering of Virgin River Valley by Mormon settlers in the mid-19th century, to the founding of Zion National Park in the 20th century, to modern times where retirees, artists and urban refugees have come to find their own piece of paradise.
"We are making this program to honor not only the people of Zion, but all rural westerners," explains Hal Cannon, founding director of the Western Folklife Center and the film's co-producer. "Fifty-six million Americans - about one-fifth of U.S. residents - live in rural areas, and yet they don't often get their stories told. We set out to produce a film about a unique rural place and the interesting people who live there. Many people have explored Zion National Park as tourists, but in focusing on the landscape, we often don't see the people who live in the area year-round and those who have gone before. These residents and their histories give the Park life and make it sing."
Composer Phillip Bimstein moved to southern Utah over 20 years ago and says of Zion, "There are many beautiful places but there is something about Zion-something magnificent and grand and magnetic-that draws us and holds us here."
Performed by an all-star ensemble on a lively assortment of guitars, violins, oboe, English horn, mandolin, banjo, mando-cello, harmonica, button accordion, jaw harp, upright bass and vocals, the film also features the local residents whose stories inspired Red Rock Rondo's songs. Red Rock Rondo: Zion Canyon Song Cycle is composed by Phillip Bimstein with musicians Charlotte Bell, Flavia Cerviño-Wood, Harold Carr, Hal Cannon, and Kate MacLeod. The film was produced by Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis for the Western Folklife Center.
Red Rock Rondo will air on KUED TV on May 21 at 8:00 pm with a repeat broadcast May 24 at 6:00 pm. Says Ken Verdoia, KUED's Director of Production, "This is a stunning program—probably the most unique celebration of people and place I have ever seen for one of the nation's national parks. And so well-suited for Zion. Memorable television that blends music with story and great visuals to celebrate a remarkable landscape."
The premiere is presented by the O.C. Tanner Company in conjunction with KUED, KUER, Utah Public Radio, Zion Natural History Association, Z-Arts and the Southern Utah Folk Life Festival.
The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West. Headquartered in Elko, Nevada, with a Media Office in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Folklife Center is best known as the producer of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.