Romancing the West
The story of “Romancing the West” is a journey of the heart, a gentle unveiling of a vision spanning over thirty years. Remembering the beauty of visiting Oregon as a child, traveling with my parents singing two part harmony in our 57 Chevy, I moved to Southern Oregon as a young mother during a recession, returning to California four years later and later settling in the Historic Mission town of San Juan Capistrano. It was there I was amerced in the history, mystery and legend of Alta California and during a most introspective time in my life wrote and recorded my second CD “Capistrano”. I worked with the Mission, Historical Society, and Native American Educator Jacque Nunez to tell the stories of the people through multi-media and wrote and produced “The Gold Coast” television show sharing the lives of the Native people, immigrants, and pioneers past and present who had left a legacy there.
I never forgot Oregon and had written many songs of my memories there and returned in 2005 just in time for Oregon’s 150th birthday writing “Oh Oregon” in honor of it. I also wrote “Sunset over Jacksonville” about the gold-mining town that I called home and was asked by the City Administrator to co-write and produce a 150th birthday celebration to be held at Britt Pavilion. It would span 150 years of history decade by decade in the music of each era with narration in between. It was the highlight of my music career to take songs I had written about Oregon, write additional songs like “Legacy” and “The Siskiyou’s Called Me Home” and to work with a brilliant lyricist in putting his words to music, working with another’s lyrics for the first time. I then began to write my third CD “Time Standing Still”
In the process these themes continued to arise of nostalgic America, remembrance, and learning the lessons of the history of the great American West. From celebrating small town rural America in “Time Standing Still, and remembering Chief Joseph and his fight for his people in “Wallowa Skies” to remembering life in that glorious Mission town in “Romancing the West” and the history it evoked of the melded fates of the Native and Spanish people there in my song “California”. As these works emerged, it occurred to me I was completing a body of work of over thirty years that would become the documentary concert “Romancing the West”, spanning over two centuries of history and teaching us it’s lessons, of faith hope and love through music.
I also recognized in the diverse gifts of this incredible group of brilliant featured artists in “Romancing the West”, all wonderful touring singer/songwriter/educators and recording artists are also band leaders in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr’s speech “The Drum Major Instinct”. “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind.” And in teaching children my Oregon and California songs in camps, I began to realize that through “Romancing the West” we could give back by sharing and teaching children these lessons of history and a plan for a frontier camp and cultural center emerged and we founded our non-profit Oh Oregon Frontier Park and Cultural Center starting it at a park and later moving it to our home at Cougar Mountain Ranch.
America has been a land of great beauty and triumph and a beacon of freedom to the world but yet we have had our own failings as some American’s enslaved their fellow man, banished the Native people to reservations, interned Japanese American’s in World War ll, denied their sisters and brothers the right to vote, while many fought to abolish slavery, for women's suffrage and for Civil Rights and we are overcoming together and can heal those wounds and showcase to the world forgiveness, faith, hope and love, through music art and education, having overcome powerfully as one people under God. “In the stillness we breathe the air that they breathed, we stand on this dust that moved under their feet, on this mountain of dreams where we follow their lead will we be remembered? Will we leave a legacy?” Christina