Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Feb 01st
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

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots