When the Red Rock Rondo was asked to be part of the Lyceum II event with keynote speaker Jane Goodall and writer Terry Tempest Williams, the Rondo's founder, Phillip Bimstein, felt honored.
"The theme of the evening is our relationship with the environment," said Bimstein during an interview with the Deseret Morning News. "And that's what we try to emphasize in the music of Red Rock Rondo."
The group Bimstein, oboist Charlotte Bell, singer/songwriter Kate MacLeod, violinist Vlavia Cervino-Wood, bassist Harold Carr and multi-instrumentalist Hal Cannon has been gathering oral histories from the area near Zion National Park and putting them into songs.
The songs address environmental issues as seen through the eyes of the old and new residents in southern Utah, said Bimstein, a former mayor of Springdale, Washington County. "So when they asked us to be a part of the event, we felt it was a good fit."
Red Rock Rondo will open the evening. Tempest will then speak, and there will be an intermission break. Next Goodall will give her address about her life and work in the wild and the impact of humans on the environment.
"We will then play some more of our works, and the event will close," Bimstein said. "The hard part is choosing which songs to perform."
Red Rock Rondo's signature piece is "Song Cycle," comprised of 19 selections. During Tuesday's performance, the group will play seven or eight of those songs.
"There are so many that pertain to the event," Bimstein said. "There are some favorite songs that we will play such as 'Marvelous Flood,' which was named after a boy whose mother was pulled from the rushing waters of the Virgin River just in time to deliver her boy. They named him Marvelous Flood. And we'll also play 'Don Salvey Waltz,' which was based on a melody called 'Don Jolly Waltz.' I reworked it and added lyrics and named it after a Zion National Park superintendent I knew."These songs would not be in existence if it weren't for the lush oral histories of the people," Bimstein said. "And if it weren't for these incredibly talented people whom I perform with in Red Rock Rondo, these songs would be nothing."
If you go ...
What: Fifth Annual Lyceum II 2008: Jane Goodall, Terry Tempest Williams, Red Rock Rondo
Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 S. West Temple
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
How much: $10-$25
Phone: 355-2787, 888-451-2787