Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jul 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

One Moment in Time

ae bookMAH-commissioned book details history of local music

When Frank Perry was just a kid, he had a music teacher by the name of Vera McKenna Clayton, who taught in Santa Cruz from the 1920s to the 1970s. Perry doesn’t remember too much about Clayton, except that “she looked like she was really old,” he says. It wasn’t until much later that Perry realized while researching a book and finding out more about his former teacher, that “she was only a few years older than I am now.”

Clayton is one of many subjects explored in Perry’s new book, “Notes From Santa Cruz: The County’s Music History,” which documents local music history with stories of local bands, composers, music venues, songs, instruments, music teachers, and more. Focusing on the period between the 1870s and the 1970s, the book includes numerous photos gathered from local museums and private collections, many of which have never been published.

“Every area has its own unique history, and Santa Cruz has had some unusual people and music activities,” says Perry, who cites the annual Musical Saw Festival and Seacliff State Park’s “Cement Ship” as examples. In the early 1930s, when it was known as “The Ship,” “there was a restaurant and dance hall, and it had a live band,” says Perry. “That certainly was unique, there was nothing else like that around.”

The idea for the book grew out of a temporary exhibition of the same name at the Museum of Art & History in 2009. “The museum was looking for an interesting topic on local history to do a special exhibit, and we decided that the history of music would be really interesting,” says Perry, who researched the topic by gathering photographs and information, “filling up two great big three-inch binders” with everything he could find.

After the exhibit concluded, “I guess several people at the museum were sad to see it go,” says Perry. “So a couple of members of the museum publications committee invited me to do a book based on the information that had been gathered for the exhibit.”

Some of the text in the book was taken directly from the exhibit, but there were also changes and additions thanks to suggestions from the community. “A few different people came forward and said ‘Oh, you really have to include such and such,’ and they were absolutely right, those were good things to include,” says Perry.

One such addition was jazz musician Lu Watters, who was born in Santa Cruz. “I wasn’t familiar with him, but he has a very interesting history, and so I was very pleased to be able to include him in the book,” says Perry, who also added information about the Santa Cruz Chamber Players.

According to Perry, the history of Santa Cruz County’s music scene generally followed the same trajectory as the rest of the country. “The kind of popular music gradually evolved through the years,” he says. “Around the first decade of the 20th century, the pop music of that era was ragtime, and then it shifted into jazz, and then rock and roll, and so on.”

In addition to being a subject in the book, Perry’s aforementioned music teacher would prove to be a significant primary source. “The museum has this big stack of scrapbooks that belonged to her,” says Perry. “So I looked through those to get information not only about her, but also about a lot of the other mid-20th century musical activities, because she chronicled it very thoroughly, and it was a wonderful resource to use.”

Written to educate and entertain, “Notes From Santa Cruz” has a lot to offer music lovers within Santa Cruz and beyond. “I hope that the book will inspire people to read more about the county’s music history, that people will not only enjoy what’s in the book, but use it as a springboard to investigate some of these people,” says Perry.

And ultimately, the history that the book shares holds value beyond telling some good stories. “A lot of these musicians from the past have stories that I think present-day musicians—especially students just starting out—will find very inspirational,” he says.  


‘Notes From Santa Cruz: The County’s Music History’ is currently available for purchase at the Museum of Art & History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Binding of Edmund McMillen

How a Santa Cruz designer created one of the most unlikely hits in video game history

 

Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

AJ’s Market

Local cult fave keeps getting bigger and better

 

What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

He’s what we need, more hardcore Democrats. Old-school, ’70s-style Democrats. Tony Dolan, Santa Cruz, Freelancer

 

Hunter Hill Vineyards & Winery

Calling all Merlot lovers—Hunter Hill has released its 2013 estate Merlot ($25)—and a superb one it is, too.

 

Turn Up the Beet

Golden beets with buffalo mozzarella, plus single-malt whiskies and award-winning local Chardonnays