Saturday, December 23, 2017

Episode 400 (12-25-17): A Year of Virginia Water Sounds and Music—2017 Edition

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:05).

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

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 12-22-17.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 25, 2017.

This week, we look back on 2017 with a medley of mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 75 seconds, and see if you can identify these sounds from the past year of Virginia Water Radio.

SOUNDS - ~73 sec

If you guessed all these, you’re the ace of aquatics in 2017!  The sounds were Fish Crows; the Eastern Spadefoot, a kind of amphibian; a drinking-water clinic by the Virginia Household Water Quality Program; hail; watershed terms called out by sixth-graders; mayfly names called out by high-schoolers; cloud types called out by adults; Tingler’s Mill in Paint Bank; a fire-hydrant during a pressure test; and boaters at midnight on the New River, accompanied by a Great Blue Heron call.

Thanks to Lang Elliott for the Fish Crow sounds, and to Mr. Elliott and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for the Eastern Spadefoot sound.

This week marks the 400th episode of Virginia Water Radio, completing its eighth year.  With luck and the continued assistance of many collaborators, we’ll continue to bring you sounds of water-related science, issues, events, organizations, and creatures.

We close out 2017 with a 60-second sample of music heard on Virginia Water Radio this year.  Here are short excerpts of “Cold Frosty Morn’,” performed by New Standard; “Tropical Tantrum,” by Torrin Hallett; “Hail Improvisation,” by Simon Fass; and “See What I Have Done,” by Sweet Chalybeate. Thanks to these musicians for permission to use these pieces.  And to 2017: so long—soon—and thanks for the water!

MUSIC – ~57 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 Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.   In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at

The sound of the Fish Crow was taken from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Region CD set, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (Time Warner Audio Books, copyright 1997), used with permission of Lang Elliott, whose work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site,  This sound was used in Episode 352, 1-23-17.

The sound of the Eastern Spadefoot was taken from “The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads” CD, copyright 2008 by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Lang Elliott/NatureSoundStudio, used with permission.  For more information on the CD, see  This sound was used in Episode 357, 2-27-17.

The sounds of a Virginia Household Water Quality drinking-water clinic were recorded on March 20, 2017, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  These sounds were used in Episode 361, 3-27-17.

The sound of hail was recorded on March 18, 2017, in Blacksburg.  This sound was used in Episode 362, 4-3-17.

The watershed terms were called out by sixth-grade students from Christiansburg Middle School in Christiansburg, Va., on April 12, 2017, during Stormwater Education Day.  These sounds were used in Episode 365, 4-24-17.

The names of mayflies were recorded on March 31, 2017, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg by visiting students from Patrick County High School in Stuart, Va.  These sounds were part of Episode 367, 5-8-17.

The cloud types were recorded on July 11, 2017, in Blacksburg by friends of Virginia Water Radio.  These sounds were used in Episode 377, 7-17-17.

The sound of the Tingler’s Mill at Paint Bank, Va., was recorded on September 4, 2017.  This sound was used in Episode 386, 9-18-17.

The fire hydrant pressure-test sound was recorded on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg on March 10, 2017.   This sound was used in Episode 389, 10-9-17.

The sounds of boaters and a Great Blue Heron on the New River near midnight were recorded on August 6, 2017, at the Whitethorn public boat launch in Montgomery County.  These sounds were used in Episode 381, 8-14-17.

The performance of “Cold Frosty Morn’” heard here is copyright by New Standard, from the 2016 album “Bluegrass,” used with permission.  More information about New Standard is available online at  This music was used in Episode 387, 9-25-17.

“Tropical Tantrum,” composed for Virginia Water Radio, is copyright 2017 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission.  More information about Mr. Hallett is available at his Web site,  The music was used in Episode 369, 5-22-17.

“Hail Improvisation” was created March 23, 2017, by Simon Fass in a hammered-dulcimer music lesson with Timothy Seaman (online at; used with permission.  At the time, Simon was a third-grader in Williamsburg, Va.  This music was used in Episode 362, 4-3-17.

“See What I Have Done” is copyright by Sweet Chalybeate, used with permission. More information on Sweet Chalybeate is available online at  This music was used in Episode 379, 7-31-17.

From Episode 352, 1-23-17: Fish Crow painting done in the 1830s by John James Audubon in Birds of America (plate CXLVI [146]), as reprinted in 1985 by Abbeville Press, New York. Photos taken January 23, 2017, from the reprint copy (no. 6 of 350 copies printed in 1985) owned by Special Collections of Virginia Tech Libraries. Virginia Water Radio thanks Special Collections for permission to photograph their copy and for their assistance.
From Episode 362, 4-3-17: Clouds immediately after a short hailstorm in Blacksburg, Va., March 18, 2017, about 6 p.m.

From Episode 386, 9-18-17: Tingler’s Mill restored wheel and building on Potts Creek in Paint Bank, Va. (Craig County), Sep. 4, 2017.
From Episode 389, 10-9-17: Fire-hydrant pressure testing by a staff member of the Virginia Tech Facilities Department on the campus in Blacksburg, March 10, 2017. The test was to see whether sprinklers in a nearby building would have enough pressure to function in the case of the hydrant being used fully during a fire.
All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (

Previous “year of sounds/music” episodes are the following:
2016 – Episode 348, 12/26/16;
2015 – Episode 295, 12/21/15;
2014 – Episode 246, 12/29/14;
2013 – Episode 193, 12/23/13;
2012 – Episode 141, 12/17/12.


This 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 episodes listed and hyperlinked above under “Audio Notes and Acknowledgments” may help with various SOLs in English, Music, Science, and Social Studies.  For specific SOLs, please see the online show notes for each episode.

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