Zion Canyon Song Cycle

Location:  Springdale, UT
Project Description: 

The Zion Canyon Song Cycle is the result of a lively blend of civic dialogue, creativity, oral history, participatory democracy, and music. The Cycle is comprised of sixteen original songs that celebrate the history, community preoccupations, and contemporary life of Zion National Park and its neighboring communities. The music takes the form of song stories, based on community dialogues and oral histories gathered from local residents. Composer and former Springville, Utah mayor Phillip Bimstein wrote the lyrics of the Zion Canyon Song Cycle. The musical arrangements were created through collaborative engagement with the musicians of Red Rock Rondo, the 6-member ensemble that performs the Cycle. The works of the Cycle are an anthem to the local community, sung and performed on both classical and folk instruments including the guitar, violin, oboe, English horn, mandolin, banjo, mandocello, harmonica, button accordion, and jaw harp. The Zion Canyon Song Cycle is premised on composer Bimstein’s belief that political theory and musicology can be linked in ways that open deeper understandings of music and civic life. The song stories that make up the Cycle are inspired by local events, biographies, community legends, and community concerns. “Back and Forth” memorializes two girls who died accidentally in 1866, and reappeared as white-gowned ghosts decades later. “Rocks on Fire” recounts the deaths of two miners when the great tunnel at Zion was blasted in 1928. “Driving Back to Hurricane” is a lamentation that gives voice to local workers who love Zion Canyon but can no longer afford its costs of living.