Friday, December 30, 2016

Episode 349 (1-2-17): Water for a World of New Years, Featuring “New Year’s Water” by Torrin Hallett

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:56)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 12-30-16.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 2, 2017.

MUSIC – ~ 8 sec

This week, music composed especially for Virginia Water Radio focuses our attention on water as part of New Year’s celebrations.  Have a listen for about 25 more seconds.

MUSIC - ~25 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “New Year’s Water,” by Torrin Hallett, a student at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio.  Mr. Hallett stated that the music aims to reflect water shimmering under a newly risen sun.  As the sun rises for the first time in 2017, water is part of many traditional New Year’s observances and celebrations around the world. Here are a few examples.

From the New River in Giles County, Virginia, to the North Sea in the Netherlands, cold-water dives or plunges in January are used for symbolism, charitable fund-raising, and freezing fun.   In New York City, water taxis offer New Year’s Eve cruises for viewing the Big Apple’s skyline and fireworks display.  In Edmonton, Canada, the World Waterpark puts on a New Year’s Eve Family Beach Ball at what the park claims is the world’s largest indoor wave pool.  In California, the San Diego CoastKeeper offers 10 “clean water resolutions” for the New Year, such as trying a new water recreational activity or participating in beach clean-ups.  In Puerto Rico and certain Latin American countries, a New Year’s tradition is to throw water out of a window or over one’s shoulder, symbolizing throwing out the tears, bad luck, or debris of the previous year.  In some parts of India, celebration of the Hindu New Year, in March or April, involves a procession to a water body or other rituals recognizing life’s dependence on water.  And according to the tourism agency of Cambodia, in various parts of Asia New Year festivals taking place in April’s hot weather often involve “splashing water, soaked clothes, and much revelry.”

Here’s to 2017, with all of its water celebrations and challenges.

Thanks to Torrin Hallett for this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “New Year’s Water.”

MUSIC - ~ 12 sec


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“New Year’s Water” is copyright 2016 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission.  In 2016-17, Torrin is a fourth-year student at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, majoring in horn performance, music composition, and math major.   More information about Torrin is available at his Web site,  Thanks very much to Torrin for composing the piece especially for Virginia Water Radio.

Several scenes of water and light on or near New Year’s Day.  Top two: Sunrise light on a temporary pool and on Toms Creek, both in Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., Dec. 30, 2016.  Next to bottom: Sunrise light on the New River in Giles County, Va., Jan. 1, 2014.  Bottom: Potomac River, looking downstream at Mt. Vernon, Jan. 10, 2005.


City of Sydney, Australia, “Welcome to Sydney 2016,” online at

Cuban Christmas Web site, “Traditional Cuban New Year’s Guide,” online at

Den Haag Marketing, “New Year’s Dive,” online at

Easia Travel, “The Water Frenzy of New Year Festivals, online at

Hindu New Year, online at

New York Water Taxi, “New Year’s Eve Family Cruises 2017,” online at

San Diego CoastKeeper, “10 Clean Water Resolutions for the New Year,” online at

Sputnik International, “Water Gods and Mango Leaves: India Celebrates Hindu New Year,” 4/8/16, online at

Tourism of Cambodia, “Must-visit New Year Water Festivals in Asia,” online at

Maria G. Valdez, “New Year’s Traditions: 8 Latin Customs to Ring in 2017,” Latin Times, 12/29/16, online at

West Edmonton Canada Mall, “World Waterpark Presents New Year’s Eve Family Beach Ball,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (

Previous episodes for a coming New Year are the following:
for 2013 – Episode 142, 12/31/12: Encore of John McCutcheon’s “Water from Another Time”;
for 2014 – Episode 194, 12/30/13: Diving into 2014 with “Driving Rain” by Chamomile and Whiskey;
for 2016 – Episode 296, 12/28/15: Setting a Course for 2016 with “On a Ship” by Kat Mills.

A previous episode on water thermodynamics, featuring a New Year’s Day plunge into the New River in Giles, County, Va., is Episode 195, 1/6/14.

A previous episode on Virginia Special Olympics “Polar Plunges” is Episode 96, 1/23/12.

Previous episodes featuring original music composed by Torrin Hallett for Virginia Water Radio are the following:
Episode 335, 9/26/16
on the Canada Goose, featuring “Geese Piece”;
Episode 338, 10/17/16, on rainfall measurements, featuring “Rain Refrain”;
Episode 343, 11/21/16, on the Wild Turkey, featuring “Turkey Tune.”


The episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

World Geography Course
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.6 - past and present trends in human migration and cultural diffusion, including influence of environmental factors.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs, which become effective in the 2017-18 school year:

World Geography Course
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.15 – past and present trends in human migration and cultural diffusion, including influence of environmental factors.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at