Roy L. Halverson; A Spirit That Lives On at SUU

On March 28, the new SUU Halversen Strings paid tribute to Roy L. Halverson, a teacher to many here in Cedar City.

In 2005, the music department established the Halversen Faculty String Quartet to pay tribute to his legacy, but the quartet disbanded after the loss of one of its members.

Now the music department is once again commemorating the legacy of Roy Halverson by forming the Halverson Strings. The only difference is that this time, the Halverson Strings includes both faculty and students in several groups including the Halverson Duo, Halversen String Quartet, Halverson Cello Ensemble and the Halversen Viola Ensemble.

The concert featured the Halverson Strings as well as some of Halverson’s former students including Melissa Thorley Lewis, a current member of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.


Halverson was both a learner and a teacher. After studying at Juilliard twice and an institution in Berlin, Halverson settled in Cedar City in 1930. He spent the next 40 years of his life teaching music to hundreds of kids.

One of his former pupils, Sarah Penny attended the event. Penny studied under Halverson from the time she was in third grade until 11th grade when Halverson passed away.

“When I was in sixth grade (and at this point I had only been playing three years), he put me in the Messiah,” Penny said. “He put me in the back and told me to play the notes and that next year I would be able to play more, what a sweetheart. He was just a really wonderful person.”

Penny also took a variety of Halverson’s music including pieces out of print, original additions with his fingerings to the Special Collections at Sherratt Library for the public as well as SUU students so that everyone can benefit from Halverson’s contributions to the music department.

Halverson spent his time teaching and also creating music opportunities to Cedar City residents, such as the Cedar City Music Arts, which brings the Utah Symphony to Cedar City every year.

Douglas L. Ipson Assistant Professor in Music Theory and History wrote a biography on Halverson just for the occasion.

“If the Halversen Strings can carry on even a portion of (Halverson’s) pioneering legacy- a legacy of innovation and adaptation in pursuit of artistic excellence- it will have gone a long way to achieving its aims,” said Ipson.

For more information on the College of Visual and Performing Arts, visit here.

Story by
Cassidy Harmon

Photos Courtesty
Christopher Dimond