Age: 38 By Day: Head Football Coach for Southern Utah University, husband to Sarah, father to 4 children ages 2-13 By Night: Bass Guitar, Vocals
“Ed is the song critic. He prevents us from playing songs that suck. He also can kick the crap out of any of us, so we take him seriously.” Praise from Rand First Fell In Love With Music: “Listening to my Dad’s CCR Albums at age 8.” Dream Instrument: A plain Fender J/P Bass Favorite Song To Perform: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love has a great bass riff when it’s performed correctly. I like the challenge of trying to play it.” On Balancing Band, Work and Family Life: “These guys are great. They are all professionals in their fields, and dedicated family men. Everybody understands that we aren’t always going to be able to make all practices and even gigs. We have some other good guys who stand in on occasion.” Favorite Music Other Than Rock & Roll: “Christmas Music”
Age: 42 By Day: Accountant with Hughes & Associates By Night: Keyboards, vocals, husband to Rachelle, father to three children ages 7 to 14
“Tom is the biggest perfectionist. We probably would never be good enough to perform in public if he didn’t make us rehearse vocal harmonies during practice.” Musical Inspiration: “My mother encouraged me to pursue training as a classical pianist starting at age 5. At age 12 I quit and only played what I wanted. I also took some alternative classes in writing and improvisation.” Favorite Gig To Date: “Tuahcahn. I don’t care how few people were there to see us, it was a lot of fun to play with a dedicated sound guy on a serious sound system in that amphitheater.” When He Isn’t Listening To Rock & Roll: “Is there something else other than rock and roll? I guess if I had to choose, I would say new wave or heavy metal.” Favorite Song To Perform: “Currently my favorite is Blue Collar Man by Styx - it’s a great song, it rocks, and it was on the first album I ever owned (after Star Wars).”
Rachelle Hughes is currently the editor and owner of AliveUtah.com, an online lifestyle magazine all about Southern Utah. She squeezes in bouts of writing between raising her three kids, spending time with her husband and gardening in Cedar City.
Susan Taylor’s Tree
How a Community Had to Let It Go WRITTEN BY Tracie Sullivan
It all began with four women, Delores Padilla, Julie McKown, Laura Doty and Linda Holmstead, getting together for an evening of friendship and a couple of glasses of wine. They each had their own memories of their friend who had passed, leaving them just a few months before. As they talked and laughed through the evening they kept coming back to one question “Is there a place we can go to pay tribute to her that isn’t her grave?” The cemetery seemed so cold and the headstone with her name, Susan Taylor, etched in it just wasn’t the way they wanted to remember her. Nor was it the place they wanted to go to honor this amazing woman they all had laughed with and learned from in life. Susan’s spirit was free but her graveside left visitors with nothing but emptiness. As the evening wore on and the women reminisced about their time with Susan, one of them decided they would find a place – somewhere other than the cemetery – they could go to honor her memory. It didn’t take long to find it, a beautiful tree alongside the highway to Springdale where Susan had lived the last few years of her life. The women were so excited. They carved Susan’s name on an old piece of wood and took it to the tree along with several of their old bras which they hung on the branches. At the time they didn’t think about what the tree would later mean to anyone or how it might affect others who came upon it.
For them, it was just a special place they knew Susan would have loved and cherished. And the bras, like flowers on a headstone, were a way for them and others who loved Susan to say good-bye. For the next year the number of bras on the tree grew as more and more women stopped to visit the tree. It wasn’t just Susan’s friends who stopped but tourists, driving to and from Zion National Park, who had learned of the tree and wanted to stop and pay their respects to this woman who even in death somehow seemed to touch the lives of others. Susan’s family and friends took comfort in the tree; it was a place they could go to remember Susan and her life and unlike her grave, it was alive.
MEN’S ISSUE 2013
Title WRITTEN BY name | PHOTO BY name
Haley Neusch - Photo by Rick Wright.
“It’s so cold to go to her grave – and she’s not there,” said Shandy Davis, a friend of Susan Taylor’s. “The tree was a place we could go and remember her and Susan would have loved it.” The tree also helped to initiate a dialogue about a disease that some in society would rather not talk about. Many who saw the tree didn’t understand its significance. That was evident in some of the stuff left behind on the branches, such as men and women’s underwear. Awareness of the tree really grew this last November when Rick Wright, a local photographer, snapped a shot of a woman who, turning away from the camera stood topless, and launched her bra into the air towards the tree. The image, which Rick had put up on the internet quickly went viral. Seeing the effect the photo had he was inspired to host a similar photo shoot but instead of only one topless woman he would round up a hundred or more. Susan and her daughter, Marie Taylor.
Excited, Rick used the internet to announce the event and spread the word. The response was overwhelming.
“I had women contacting me all the time to find out more about the event,” Rick said. “It was really going to be an awesome event and something that would have raised awareness for breast cancer.” Unfortunately, someone else didn’t agree. Just four days before Rick’s shoot was scheduled, someone climbed the trail to the tree and with a chainsaw in hand, hacked the tree down. But it didn’t end there. Whoever did it chose to go further, ripping the limbs off the tree, stomping the bras into the dirt and destroying all of the decorations and ribbons that once hung from it. Obviously filled with rage, they also threw the branches they had ripped off at least a hundred yards away from the tree. It was absolutely evident they wanted to make sure there was no way a photo shoot could happen. It was also clear whoever did this had done it by jumping to judgment about the tree, the photo shoot and what they both represented. While friends and loved ones mourned the place they had created in Susan’s memory, many of them weren’t surprised by what had happened.
“Mom wouldn’t have been surprised. She was always talking about the status quo and how people judged things before they realized what it was or educated themselves about it,” said Marie Taylor, Susan’s daughter. “She wouldn’t have let this get her down. She would have just found another tree.” The tree the women had chosen for their friend was special to them. The photo shoot was meant to raise breast cancer awareness. Yet someone didn’t take the time to find out what the tree was, what it represented and what the photo shoot was all about, and for whatever reason decided without any background or knowledge, that it wasn’t okay to have bras hanging from a tree and for Rick to be planning a topless photo shoot. How often as a society do we do the same thing? Rushing to judgment about someone or something we know nothing about. How many of us have stood in a grocery line watching the lady ahead of us pay for what’s in her cart with food stamps as five children run around their mother’s feet and we automatically assume we know this person and their situation – carelessly pointing fingers and making MEN’S ISSUE 2013
above: Susan surrounded by the friends that love her left: Kate Stout, Bella Bird, Shandee Davis, Alexis Strickley, Lacey Strickley. Photo by Rick Wright. below: Julie McKown. Photo by Rick Wright.
comments to ourselves and later to friends belittling the woman for the items such as soda and candy she had purchased with state funds, as though somehow because she was poor she didn’t deserve the same indulgences people of wealth enjoy. How many times have we watched the neighbor down the street scream at her children, only to walk away shaking our heads thinking, she didn’t deserve those children and someone surely needs to take them away from her. Not once considering that maybe she was having a bad day, that her children had already broken several things in her home and wound her up to the breaking point. But rather than kindly asking if we can help, we once again assume we know the situation and from that five minutes of watching believe we know the kind of mother she must be. Or what about the times we find ourselves commenting on someone’s clothing, or hair or lifestyle or even the choices we see others hastily make in their lives? Do those things alone allow us enough of a glimpse into their lives that we believe we can act as their judge, jury and executioner?
Our rush to judgment in the world around us alienates us from others and thwarts the chances life gives us to learn and grow. And left behind in our path of ignorance are countless trees we have ourselves destroyed along the way. The cutting of the tree itself is symbolic of the lives we have shattered with unkind words, friendships that never happened because we didn’t take time to know someone, wonderful opportunities we passed up because we didn’t take the time to look closer before we formed our opinions. The tree, a memorial to Susan, was a constant reminder to those who knew and loved her of the woman she was in life. A mother, daughter, friend, teacher, a woman who was alive and touched everyone’s lives she came in contact with. Those who remember her, talk about her free spirit, her smile even when she was at her sickest point, her positive attitude, even when life didn’t deal her the best hand, and her wisdom that seemed to be as ancient as time itself.
it is in those times when they seem the most unlovable that we must reach out to them and show them the most love we have.” I never forgot that. While the destruction of the tree left a hole in its wake and sadness in the roots that remain, it is through this experience we can learn and somehow garner just a little bit more empathy and compassion. Just maybe for today, we can stop and think before we rush to that judgment of our neighbor or any given situation we may change by just shifting how we see the world around us. And while the tree is forever gone, the memorial we can forever give Susan is in learning from her and her example that even in death somehow she seems to continue to teach us – cherish people, love life and don’t waste any extra moments you may have in bitterness, anger and judgment.
As a full-time reporter for the local paper, I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Susan years ago. While my time with her was brief, the memory of that day still remains vivid in my mind. Ironically, one of the lessons she taught me that day still stands out in my mind – love people. She’d say, “people need to be loved and
Tracie Sullivan is an award-winning investigative reporter and has written for various news outlets and publications throughout the country. She writes on various topics including environmental issues, politics and government.
ving Music, Melod a e W ies and Memories
Sounds of Watercolors:
Southwest Symphony Orchestra 32nd Concert Series Songs, Symphonies, & Serenades
Gary Caldwell, Conductor
7:30 pm Cox Performing Arts Center, Dixie State College “Festivale” Music of the Americas Featuring Glenn Webb
Friday, February 15, 2013
Salute to Youth Concerto Classic Friday, March 29, 2013
“Wish Upon a Star: a Tribute to the Music of Walt Disney” Featuring Jenny Oaks Baker
Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10, 2013 Photos by Carol Call Photography.
Pops Under the Stars
Saturday May 18, 2013 – 8:00 p.m.
Chuck wagon dinner – 6:00 p.m. – O.C. Tanner Amphitheatre in Springdale
Watch for other special Southwest Symphony Orchestra events by visiting
For tickets please call the Dixie State College Box Office at 435-652-7800 For information please call 435-634-2323