Custom Class: post-landing-hero

The Utah All-State Band's virtual performance of "Incantation and Dance" by John Barnes Chance. In the collage, Cedi Hinton appears above the S in State, and she gets the spotlight several times throughout the video.

In early December, Rowland Hall junior Cedi Hinton received an exciting notification in her email inbox: she had been named first trumpet in the Utah All-State Band.

“I was really shocked,” she said.

Shocked, because 2020 was the third year that Cedi had auditioned for the All-State Band, a group made up of top high school musicians from across Utah. After not making the cut in 2018 and 2019, Cedi said, she almost didn’t audition again.

“I auditioned the past two years,” she explained, “and I was always planning to audition, but I just got really busy with school and said, ‘I’m not going to stress myself out more with having to record another thing.’”

So she let the deadline pass her by.

Not long after, however, she learned that the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA), which manages the All-State Band as well as other all-state groups, had extended the deadline. This convinced her to rethink her plan.

Cedi's recording not only secured her a place in the band, but also earned her the honor of trumpet first chair—an endorsement of both her musical skill and leadership abilities.

“So I submitted a recording,” she said.

That recording, which Cedi submitted on her 17th birthday, not only secured her a place in the band, but also earned her the honor of trumpet first chair—an endorsement of both her musical skill and leadership abilities (first chairs are recognized as the best in their instrument groups and often act as section leaders). Dr. Bret Jackson, Rowland Hall’s jazz and pop band director, wasn’t surprised when he learned of this impressive accolade.

“Those who have heard Cedi performing with the Rowland Hall jazz band know what a brilliant trumpeter she is,” said Bret, who noted that the last year one of his Rowland Hall students made All-State Band was 2014. “This honor says a lot about how hard she's worked to become a well-rounded trumpeter that is comfortable performing in a variety of musical genres and mediums.”

Cedi’s journey to well-rounded trumpeter began in elementary school, when she decided to take on a new instrument after playing the piano for several years. She decided to try the trumpet, she said, because “I thought it looked kind of cool.” And though she has also enjoyed checking out other instruments over the years—such as the bass, drums, and guitar—the trumpet is the instrument that’s stuck. By sixth grade, Cedi was taking private lessons with instructor Seretta Hart, whom she still works with today. She’s also embraced opportunities to hone her skills in music groups at Rowland Hall and through Salt Lake’s Wasatch Music Coaching Academy.

Cedi Hinton with her trumpet.

In the Utah All-State Band, Cedi’s talent was further developed by professional musicians: the group, which gathered virtually in January 2021, was instructed by Loras Schissel, music director and conductor of the Virginia Grand Military Band and the Cleveland Orchestra Blossom Festival Band, and mentored by members of the Utah Symphony in an online masterclass. While Cedi acknowledged that the virtual format made some aspects of the All-State Band experience tricky, she still recognizes and appreciates the benefits of it. In particular, she said, she enjoyed how the band’s performance of John Barnes Chance’s “Incantation and Dance” pulled her out of her comfort zone—as someone who loves and prefers to play jazz music, she said, studying this song helped her better appreciate classical music.

“I really enjoyed the song and expanding what I love to play,” Cedi said, “so maybe I’ll work on more songs like this and enjoy classical music more—and that’s kind of exciting.”

Cedi plans to try out for All-State Band one more time this fall, when she’s a senior. She admitted that, even though she’s made the band once already, the thought of auditioning for it one last time still makes her nervous.

I definitely want to keep playing, and meet people who also play, and join bands and groups.—Cedi Hinton

“That really intimidates me, but I kind of have to now—and I really want to,” she said.

It’s clear that Cedi is using this experience—including the lessons she learned before making All-State Band—to help guide her journey as a musician. It serves a reminder of her talent, as well as her resilience when things haven’t quite gone as planned. It’s also shown her that, whatever opportunities come her way, she’s driven by a passion for playing and the magic of collaboration.

“I definitely want to keep playing, and meet people who also play, and join bands and groups,” she said with a smile.

Congratulations, Cedi! We are so proud of you.

Music

Junior Cedi Hinton Named First Trumpet in Utah All-State Band

The Utah All-State Band's virtual performance of "Incantation and Dance" by John Barnes Chance. In the collage, Cedi Hinton appears above the S in State, and she gets the spotlight several times throughout the video.

In early December, Rowland Hall junior Cedi Hinton received an exciting notification in her email inbox: she had been named first trumpet in the Utah All-State Band.

“I was really shocked,” she said.

Shocked, because 2020 was the third year that Cedi had auditioned for the All-State Band, a group made up of top high school musicians from across Utah. After not making the cut in 2018 and 2019, Cedi said, she almost didn’t audition again.

“I auditioned the past two years,” she explained, “and I was always planning to audition, but I just got really busy with school and said, ‘I’m not going to stress myself out more with having to record another thing.’”

So she let the deadline pass her by.

Not long after, however, she learned that the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA), which manages the All-State Band as well as other all-state groups, had extended the deadline. This convinced her to rethink her plan.

Cedi's recording not only secured her a place in the band, but also earned her the honor of trumpet first chair—an endorsement of both her musical skill and leadership abilities.

“So I submitted a recording,” she said.

That recording, which Cedi submitted on her 17th birthday, not only secured her a place in the band, but also earned her the honor of trumpet first chair—an endorsement of both her musical skill and leadership abilities (first chairs are recognized as the best in their instrument groups and often act as section leaders). Dr. Bret Jackson, Rowland Hall’s jazz and pop band director, wasn’t surprised when he learned of this impressive accolade.

“Those who have heard Cedi performing with the Rowland Hall jazz band know what a brilliant trumpeter she is,” said Bret, who noted that the last year one of his Rowland Hall students made All-State Band was 2014. “This honor says a lot about how hard she's worked to become a well-rounded trumpeter that is comfortable performing in a variety of musical genres and mediums.”

Cedi’s journey to well-rounded trumpeter began in elementary school, when she decided to take on a new instrument after playing the piano for several years. She decided to try the trumpet, she said, because “I thought it looked kind of cool.” And though she has also enjoyed checking out other instruments over the years—such as the bass, drums, and guitar—the trumpet is the instrument that’s stuck. By sixth grade, Cedi was taking private lessons with instructor Seretta Hart, whom she still works with today. She’s also embraced opportunities to hone her skills in music groups at Rowland Hall and through Salt Lake’s Wasatch Music Coaching Academy.

Cedi Hinton with her trumpet.

In the Utah All-State Band, Cedi’s talent was further developed by professional musicians: the group, which gathered virtually in January 2021, was instructed by Loras Schissel, music director and conductor of the Virginia Grand Military Band and the Cleveland Orchestra Blossom Festival Band, and mentored by members of the Utah Symphony in an online masterclass. While Cedi acknowledged that the virtual format made some aspects of the All-State Band experience tricky, she still recognizes and appreciates the benefits of it. In particular, she said, she enjoyed how the band’s performance of John Barnes Chance’s “Incantation and Dance” pulled her out of her comfort zone—as someone who loves and prefers to play jazz music, she said, studying this song helped her better appreciate classical music.

“I really enjoyed the song and expanding what I love to play,” Cedi said, “so maybe I’ll work on more songs like this and enjoy classical music more—and that’s kind of exciting.”

Cedi plans to try out for All-State Band one more time this fall, when she’s a senior. She admitted that, even though she’s made the band once already, the thought of auditioning for it one last time still makes her nervous.

I definitely want to keep playing, and meet people who also play, and join bands and groups.—Cedi Hinton

“That really intimidates me, but I kind of have to now—and I really want to,” she said.

It’s clear that Cedi is using this experience—including the lessons she learned before making All-State Band—to help guide her journey as a musician. It serves a reminder of her talent, as well as her resilience when things haven’t quite gone as planned. It’s also shown her that, whatever opportunities come her way, she’s driven by a passion for playing and the magic of collaboration.

“I definitely want to keep playing, and meet people who also play, and join bands and groups,” she said with a smile.

Congratulations, Cedi! We are so proud of you.

Music

Explore More Arts Stories

Rowland Hall Middle School dancers perform an original piece in the Platform dance concert.

The middle school years can be tough. Emotions can be sweeping and relationships can be tentative. It’s a time when students are feeling more grown up, but also are still firmly in childhood. Finding a place of refuge can be difficult. At Rowland Hall, many students are finding that island of confidence in the dance program.

“Middle schoolers are looking for a way to express themselves and to learn more about their own identities,” said Middle School Social-Emotional Counselor Leslie Czerwinski. “Dance is a space where you can show up, be yourself, and process thoughts through movement.” 

Students are not only learning how to move, but how to find their voice through movement.

Dance is the largest Arts & Ensembles class in the Middle School. Some students take more than one section of dance each semester because the program is unique and the community is so important to them. While most dance programs start with a foundation in ballet and other Eurocentric traditions, students coming into the Rowland Hall dance program begin with break dancing. Instead of focusing on a straight spine or the proper turnout, students learn how to use gravity and shift their weight. They are not only learning how to move, but how to find their voice through movement. And once students find their voice, explained Co-Director of Dance Sofia Gorder, training becomes fun.

“They are using rhythm and music. It’s a language they understand,” said Sofia. “Then, later, they can go on and learn ballet and other techniques so that they have their voice but also the training to support that voice.” 

Students take part in every aspect of creating dance pieces: they help in picking the music and costumes, they choreograph the movements, and they work together to compose the message and mood they want to convey. “Sofia gives us a lot of freedom with choreography,” said dance student Gabrielle H. “For Platform [the 2022 dance concert] we did an ocean dance as a group and we all got to contribute in some way.”

Rowland Hall Middle School dancers perform an ocean-inspired original dance.

 

Collaboration helps build a strong interpersonal community among the dancers. The studio becomes a place where they can express themselves without fear of judgment and know their ideas will be taken seriously.

That collaboration helps build a strong interpersonal community among the dancers. The studio becomes a place where they can express themselves without fear of judgment and know their ideas will be taken seriously. “It’s a time to not really worry about things and just do what I love,” said dancer Meg H. “I like how everyone has their own style and has different movements that they like to do depending on their personalities.”

Discovering these differences and how to make them work together is another important aspect of the program. Sofia explained that part of the process is discovering how the same movement looks different when done by different people, and that can change the meaning. “Dance is just the platform we use to do the important work of understanding ourselves and the people around us,” she said. 

While the artistic and personal discoveries are essential, some students enjoy the dance program simply for its physicality—and because it’s fun. It’s a time to move and share energy with others in a welcoming environment. “It’s a strong physical space to express yourself,” said dancer Jack G. “You feel amazing when you finally master something and when you finish a show you feel relief.” 

No matter what they are seeking, Middle School students appear to be finding it in dance. “Regardless of one’s background, everyone can find joy in moving to music,” said Middle School Principal Pam Smith. “Our program can help students find joy, build their self-confidence, and connect with other members of our community.”

Dance

Rowland Hall middle schoolers with their original mural on the Salt Lake City Lincoln Street Campus.

Rowland Hall Middle School’s annex, a blink-and-you-might-miss-it room located just a few steps away from the cafeteria, may seem like it can’t contain much.

But if you happened to walk by the annex this October, when it was serving as a studio for visual art teacher Anne Wolfer’s public art class, the small room appeared to have magically expanded: passersby could catch a glimpse of more than a dozen students, a collection of paints and brushes, and, leaning against the perimeter, sixteen 18-by-48-inch medium density fiberboard panels—the building blocks of a 24-foot-long mural, titled Outer Space, that the students designed for the Lincoln Street Campus.

Public art, a class in which middle schoolers study media created for the general public’s enjoyment, covers everything from murals, sculpture, and architecture to graffiti, environmental art, and digital art. Students learn how to look at public art critically, said Anne, as well as work together on one or two of their own public art pieces each semester, deepening their understanding of what they have been studying. Past classes have created a community tree and wall hanging, but this is the first time a group has taken on a mural.

“The projects are getting bigger,” Anne laughed.

Participating in the behind-the-scenes steps of a large-scale art installation is beneficial to students, as it helps them confidently build artistic, collaborative, and even cross-subject skills.

It’s not just the mural’s dimensions that are large; the process for a project this size is too. But letting students participate in the behind-the-scenes steps of a large-scale art installation is beneficial, as it helps them confidently build artistic, collaborative, and even cross-subject skills. For instance, before ever putting brushes to fiberboard panels, the class collaborated on a theme (nature or space) and then voted on mural designs they each submitted. (The winning design, a colorful take on the solar system, was created by seventh grader Mina G.) The students also tapped into math skills to transfer their chosen design from paper to panels, twice gridding Mina’s drawing to enlarge it to mural size.

And because this project required a balance between individual and group work, students additionally learned how to showcase their own styles while also ensuring cohesion among the mural’s sixteen panels. To help guide the class through this part of the process, Anne enlisted help from her friend Trent Call, a Salt Lake City-based professional artist known for his murals, who joined the class for two periods to share his artistic approach as well as to coach students during their final days of painting.

Rowland Hall public art students hang their original mural, Outer Space.

Public art students hanging their original mural on the east fence of the Lincoln Street Campus.


“It’s fun to see the different styles,” said Trent, as he watched the middle schoolers add color to their boards. Periodically, he would stop next to a young artist to offer a technique for creating texture and movement—then encourage that person to share the knowledge with students next to them.

“Personalize it, make it your own, but collaborate,” said Trent. “Look at the panel on each side and see how you can work together.”

Across the room, the three eighth graders tasked with painting the Saturn panels, Chase D., Kendra L., and Samuel L., were taking Trent’s advice. Standing side by side facing their boards, they discussed the best methods for adding pink, white, and yellow clouds across the surface of the planet—an unplanned addition, they said, but one that made sense after Samuel recommended it.

“They have been working as a unit together,” said Anne of the group, with a smile.

Without [public art], our communities would be dull.—Student Nathan L.

It’s clear that helping students build the kind of collaborative skills that will benefit them not only in art class, but in life, drives Anne, and this type of project, with its intrinsic focus on teamwork—of teaching students to find solutions as a group and to take turns in leadership roles—brings her joy. “I want them to experience what it means to do collaborative work, intentionally and artistically,” she said.

It’s also clear the unique atmosphere of this class—with its focus on the art that injects pride and personality into the places we call home—is providing a special benefit to the community-builders of tomorrow. Eighth grader Nathan L. certainly believes this. As he added yellow and orange paint to the tail of a shooting star, he noted that public art not only makes a statement, but contributes to people’s enjoyment of the places where they live.

"Without it,” he pointed out, “our communities would be dull.”

Outer Space, an original mural by Rowland Hall Middle School public art students.

Visual Arts

Original artwork by Rowland Hall student Isabel Hill.

This spring, Rowland Hall junior Isabel Hill was awarded three Honorable Mentions in the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (West Writing Region-at-Large) for the short story “Now You See Me” and two pieces of original artwork: the painting The Goat in a Suit and a handmade necklace. This work has been shared below with Isabel’s permission.
    

Now You See Me

By Isabel Hill, Class of 2022

Maybe things changed when I first cut my hair. Or maybe things changed when I refused to grow it out again. My parents loved my hair; I think that might have been one of the reasons I thought It had to go before I did. Mom and Dad never like the thought of me leaving home. We weren’t exceptionally close, but it was kind of a protective love that they gave me. They gave me their opinion, and they gave me what was best for me, and yet I cut away every line they roped around me. My hair seemed like one of those ties. It was long and flowing and beautiful, an altar to my parents' depiction of perfection. 

I think I scared myself when I looked in the mirror after setting down the silver-bladed scissors. The dark halo around my head had been reduced to something jagged and sharp, like messy broken glass. I just stood there, longer than I knew how to count, holding fistfuls of severed wavy locks, and holding my breath even tighter.

I learned my first magic trick with a deck of cards. I learned how to make things disappear and reappear, but I didn’t stop at cards. I taught myself when to disappear. To disappear from friends, from teachers, and sometimes my parents. But no matter how long I had disappeared for, I always came back. Not with a flourish, or a puff of mysterious smoke, but in silence, as if I had never left to begin with. But staring at this stranger in my own mirror was scary. I couldn’t make my hair reappear. It was really gone. I didn’t think I would miss it, and I was right. It was my parents who were furious. 

When I left home I stopped wearing skirts and dresses and switched over to dress shirts and ties. I sometimes annoyed myself when I insisted on wearing a tie. It felt too tight, too close, but it looked good on me. It looked refined and precise, just how I wanted to feel. I didn’t think my parents would approve, but the thought became numbed, like a dull headache that one can learn to live with.

My new friends seemed to like my wardrobe choice, and I built my demeanor around that knowledge. I stood straight, with my shoulders squared, and spoke kindly but firmly. Confident and calm, like a gentleman should be. So self assured, yet not self absorbed. The one thing past my appearance that everyone seemed to adore was my magic. 

I could perform acts with smooth fluidity. People could get as close as they wanted, they would never figure out how I did it. They wanted to know my secret and learn my spells, and I would always tell them the truth with a little wink. I told them that It's not magic, it’s misdirection.

They liked it when I deceived them, so I kept practicing magic. It became my signature, the thing that people would whisper about me with awe. I liked doing it, and seeing people’s faces melt with wonder at the thought that maybe, just maybe, magic really was possible. I continued to practice new tricks. If there was something I couldn’t figure out at first I knew I would master it eventually. It was only a matter of time. My performance was as important as the trick itself, but I soon came to realize that it wasn’t just my shows that I was performing in.

"The Goat in a Suit," original artwork by Rowland Hall junior Isabel Hill

The Goat in a Suit, acrylic paint on paper.

When I stood with my new friends it was like standing on a stage, only my audience was surrounding me. I would easily enchant them with my witty and friendly act. But it wasn’t magic, it was misdirection. Whenever I was in a group I was surrounded by companions, but a piece of me always felt hollow. I could thrive in the spotlight, the center of attention, but that was all an act of magic. I had taught myself how to disappear and how to go unnoticed, I didn’t know what to do with myself if I tried to show what was behind my expression instead of what was behind a spectator’s ear. 

My expressions hid an emotion, a kind of feeling that I couldn’t touch under my fingertips. I felt it crawling under my skin from time to time, but I couldn’t grab a hold of it and crush it. It was infuriating, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I wanted to cut away my confused pieces like the shriveled leaves in my mother's garden that the plants didn't need anymore. I tried to reshape who I thought I was, pruning myself into a beautiful rose. But no matter how many leaves I trimmed the thorns would always grow back.

I kept performing. It was only a matter of time before I met Adrien. The one with a soft smile and sharp eyesight, the one who was always too perceptive for my own good. Or maybe it was for my own good. He was very kind to many people, and I seemed to be one of them. Adrien’s eyesight was sharp enough to cut through a person’s skin and see what they were underneath. He could see people opened up like the petals of a flower. 

I was scared to open myself up, as if doing so would break myself as well, like a flimsy little piggy bank. He didn’t need permission though. He wasn’t invading, he was just too attentive. Adrien could tell the difference between my thoughtful silence and my upset silence and I had no idea how he did it. He seemed to take a special fascination with me and I found it almost alarming.

It took me a while to figure out that Adrien’s fascination was more of a friendship. I already had friends of course, it was something I prided myself with, but this felt different, more honest. And Adrien, he was like glass. He was transparent, but somehow he was not fragile. He could get angry, and act cold, and sometimes his accomplishments would go to his head and he would talk too much. 

He was more transparent than me at least. I found it charming. Sometimes I would see him fraying like a rope when it was pulled too tightly. But he never broke. He never shattered. I’m not sure many other people could see when he was fraying. I was attentive to detail, it was how I became such a good magician. 

I liked to baffle him with my magic. I still enjoyed doing it, and even more so when I believed I was fooling someone who seemed to see things so clearly. He never figured out the secret behind my magic, or if he did he didn’t find it important to mention.

Once he asked me to go perform magic at one of his parties, and I said no. Once he asked me to join him and his friends at a café one afternoon, and I said no. But once he asked me to go walking in a local park, and once, I said yes.

I was scared for days. I’m not sure what intimidated me so much about being alone with someone, maybe it was the knowledge that there would be no one else to help pick up the conversation. It was daunting, and the thought lurked behind me like a shadow.

A necklace created by Rowland Hall student Isabel Hill.

The necklace that Isabel created used stone, glass, and metal beads.

It followed me as a dark and transparent figure tugging at my heels. It pulled at me, but it couldn’t pull me back from the time Adrien had set. No amount of misdirection could change the advance of time. Yet when the time came, I performed again. Only this performance seemed different. I was only hiding my nervousness, for my sake of course, and eventually the theater mask fell away. 

It started to happen before I went to meet my friend, when I had chosen my outfit after fretting over it like a child. I looked at the person in the mirror, and I saw myself. I had a nice and relaxing posture, and I spoke softly; I no longer needed the confidence that dripped from my tongue as it had before. My short, dark hair haloed around my face, the tips curling upwards like the tendrils of a tiny sun. I wore a blue vest with little stripes, and a white blouse cuffed up to my elbows. I thought I looked beautiful. I didn’t wear a tie that day.

I met Adrien outside the park. The shadow was back, gripping at my ankles, yet somehow managing to take hold of my throat and close it up in the process. I managed to bluff my way all the way past the first fountain until we could manage to walk without needing to fill the cacophony of noise with our own voices.

He picked a flower at his feet and handed it to me to admire. It was a little purple clover. Its leaves were being nibbled away by some small insect, but it was just so pretty sitting there between my finger and thumb. Adrien smiled and said he thought it looked nice against my vest. He was right, it really did seem perfect. I kept the flower.

We only talked about neutral matters, or at least, I did. Adrien told me about what he had been up to, and what his parents were doing. We kept drifting back towards school, and the weather, and the national news. Once he asked me about my magic, and a smile crept towards my face. That was something I understood.

Later that day we promised ourselves we would meet again, probably at the same place, and perhaps on a similar time around a weekend. It was later that day when I realized something else about him. Adrien was like a mirror. He would take peoples images and reflect them back at you, but somehow you would only see the best frames. 

Maybe by watching him closely enough I would understand that trick, how he could see through our skins and see something pretty amongst the coiling veins and tendons. I would figure out the secret behind that trick someday. It was only a matter of time.

Student Voices

Alum Nicholas Miller '14 in Southern Utah, where he and former classmate Camille Backman '14 created their album.

by Heather Ernst ’14

Among the chorus of duetting birds deep in the canyons of Southern Utah, a new duet is echoing off the red sandstone walls. Nicholas Miller ’14 and Camille Backman ’14 have traveled hundreds of miles to be here, on sacred land, and their purpose is a special one: to make music.

This pair’s story began nearly 12 years ago, when Nicholas joined the Rowland Hall community as a middle schooler. Since then, he and Camille have developed a deep friendship around their love for Southern Utah; their shared interest in activism and volunteering, which was nurtured during their time at the school; and their predilection for playing music, sometimes together (when the stars, and their schedules, align).

From a young age, both Nicholas and Camille have had an infectious passion for music. Nicholas found that love playing the guitar, mainly focusing on jazz, but he’s no stranger to experimentation: he’s done everything from play in rock bands to study the sitar in India. Camille, a classically trained violinist, has spent a great deal of her life dedicated to mastering her skills and perfecting her sound. Both have found a great deal of joy in collaborating together and with other musicians, something they’ve done since high school.

“We actually played a duet together at graduation,” revealed Nicholas. “That was the first formal time that we played together.”

Camille Backman and Nicholas Miller playing at their 2014 graduation.

Camille and Nicholas playing at their 2014 Rowland Hall graduation.

After graduation, both continued their study of music, Nicholas at the Lamont Jazz School at the University of Denver and Camille at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Although the pair has been hundreds of miles apart—most recently on two separate continents, as Camille is now working on her master’s degree in Brussels, Belgium—they have always maintained their relationship as friends and musical partners.

“I would say each year that we’ve met up since high school we inevitably have some sort of jam session,” laughed Camille. “It’s so natural—when we spend time together, usually music is somehow being made.”

In fact, their musical connection is so natural that they managed to create their new album, For Other Waters Are Ever Flowing, without even knowing it, while traveling together through Southern Utah in summer 2020.

“I didn’t actually know that we were recording an album when we did it,” chuckled Nicholas, but the creativity flowed and “it ended up being an album’s worth of music.”

For Other Waters Are Ever Flowing consists entirely of improvised music between the violin and guitar, as well as the natural sounds of each location Nicholas and Camille visited during that trip. “Our aim was to find places in Utah with acoustic qualities that we were interested in,” explained Camille.

It became clear to the pair that this project could be a way for them to help spread awareness about the importance of the sacred indigenous lands that spread for miles across the desert of Southern Utah.

Location was a key aspect of this project. Both musicians had previous interest in Southern Utah after having traveled there numerous times growing up. And as they returned in summer 2020 as young adults and spent more time exploring the area’s spaces—rappelling into canyons with their instruments and recording materials strapped to their backs—their interests expanded from acoustic qualities to the history behind those spaces. It became clear to the pair that this project could be a way for them to help spread awareness about the importance of the sacred indigenous lands that spread for miles across the desert of Southern Utah. 

“Part of sharing this album is a way that we can protect indigenous lands while also making them accessible to people,” explained Camille. “Regardless of where you are in the world, you can listen and connect to Utah.”

As the pair explained, they were “trying to communicate with their roots and grapple with homecoming, leaving, returning, and belonging” through this music. Upon entering these wild spaces that mean so much to them, the music allowed for moments of connection with the ecological and cultural histories of the places. Listeners of the album have this experience too. It begins to feel as if the instruments are speaking to you: with each strum of the guitar and bow of the violin, you can feel yourself moving through the canyons, developing a new sense of consciousness and connection to those who lived there before. The abstract blending of sound, ecology, and activism make for an album that speaks to the history of the space in which it was recorded. And the most interesting part of the album is that it cannot be recreated—and it’s not meant to be.

Camille Backman '14 in a slot canyon.


“The music on the album can only happen in certain locations, in the moment it was created,” Camille explained. 

Looking back on her musical career, Camille credits Rowland Hall for giving her the space to build strong relationships. “Rowland Hall does an excellent job of allowing you to develop your interpersonal skills with your mentors and peers,” she reflected. 

Both Nicholas and Camille also credit their mentors from Rowland Hall in preparing them for life’s challenges. “I would definitely have to shout-out to Kody Partridge and Dr. Hickman,” Nicholas said. “Both of their classes made me a better thinker, which has connected to art and creativity for sure.” 

Nicholas and Camille will continue their creative pursuits: Nicholas is currently applying to graduate programs, where he will further his studies in music, and Camille is in her third and final year of her master of music program in Brussels. Looking forward, Nicholas and Camille are anxious and excited to be back on the same continent where they can create more music and collaborate on future projects.


Album art of %22For Other Waters Are Ever Flowing.%22

   Courtesy Bridget Hartman

After many hours of collaboration, as well as editing from two different continents, and with the help of Anthony Peña (mixing) and Bridget Hartman (album artwork), Nicholas and Camille are proud to share For Other Waters Are Ever Flowing. Those interested in buying the album can do so through BandCamp, and 50 percent of the proceeds will go to Utah Diné Bikéyah, an alliance between the five native tribes of Utah who strive to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American lands to benefit and bring healing to the people and the earth. The album is also available on Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music.

Alumni

You Belong at Rowland Hall