Red Rock Rondo\'s Zion Canyon Song Cycle was previewed in Rockville in March, 2006. It was a towering success – a triumph of storytelling in music. The locals loved it, as it was their stories. But we out-of-towners were also utterly drawn and carried away with the stories of a baby born in a flood, of two little girls killed when their swing collapsed, of Carnelia Crawford\'s anger at being forced off her land to make way for the new national park, and of hotel workers who drive back to Hurricane after work because they can no longer afford to live in Springdale.
This is an important piece of work. It\'s important because it tells the story not only of Springdale, but of the West as people scratch out livings, then find themselves displaced if they live in a place that outsiders fall in love with.
These cliffs may look stalwart and eternal, but they and the surrounding desert are surprisingly fragile, and the life that clings to the red soil is also fragile. Water is the thing. It floods, it dries up, it erodes; it gives life as long as it remains docile and predictable.
The songs capture all of this. Phillip Bimstein\'s gift is to listen to and absorb the stories, then to translate them into a medium that is at once innovative and ancient, that allows the specificity and universality of the stories to come through, touching all who hear.
The songs are now a part of me. I want to hear them again and again. I want to sing them as if the stories were my own. And somehow they are.
Mountain West Center for Regional Studies
Red Rock Rondo is:
Phillip Bimstein, Kate MacLeod, Hal Cannon, Charlotte Bell, Flavia Cervino-Wood & Harold Carr