FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2009
Elko ‑‑ The Western Folklife Center presents a public screening of its newest production, Red Rock Rondo, a musical documentary film of the people, place and history of Zion National Park, Monday, June 29 at the G3 Bar Theater at the Western Folklife Center. The screening begins at 7:00 pm followed by a discussion with the film’s producers, Hal Cannon and Taki Telonidis. This program is free and open to the public.
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 aired on PBS affiliate KUED TV this past May and now is being marketed for national and international distribution. 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.”