Fifteen years ago, Anet Carlin produced an ambitious musical tribute to Atascadero’s history. Carlin wrote the original script, while Colleen Goulding created the original songs and music.
The first act, “Cornerstone Day,” chronicled the events of June 1914, when the cornerstone was put in place for the City Administration Building. The musical debuted in May 1995 in the Sunken Gardens.
As promised in the program, a second act, “A War and a Wedding,” was staged in July 1996 in front of the City Administration Building. It was a show designed to celebrate the “spirit of Atascadero,” Carlin said at the time.
It would be nice to see a revival of that show for the community’s 100th anniversary in 2013.In the meantime, Atascadero has a new song, written by Steve Martin, executive director of Main Street, chairman of Atascadero Colony Days and the man heading up the city’s tourism plan.Steve and I go back to the 1960s, when he was a student in my radio production class at Atascadero High School.
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For five years, Atascadero High students, mostly juniors and seniors, produced a weekly radio show called “Sounds of the Hounds” that was broadcast over KPRL.
The show included campus news, features about the school and a salute to a student, teacher or classified worker in a segment we called “Hound of the Week.” That show is the only useful contribution I made to the world of education.
A product of the Atascadero school system, Steve grew up here, later moved to Paso Robles after finishing college and is now back working in his hometown. His song, “Stuck on Atascadero,” is an upbeat tune that you can tap your feet to, with lyrics attesting to why you’ll get stuck on Atascadero if you give it a chance.
Atascadero is a Spanish word loosely translated to mean “where one gets stuck.” A more colloquial definition lovingly applied by longtime residents is “mudhole.” For a number of years, the annual celebration included the Mudhole Follies.
I got a phone call the other day from another former student, Pam Whittington, who is working on a music video wrapped around the persona of Atascadero’s founder, Edward Gardner Lewis. I directed her to the Atascadero Historical Society Museum, where she picked up some photos and additional information on Atascadero’s founder, who came here in 1913.
With Colony Days just around the corner — Oct. 10 to 16 — the timing is just right for our attention to be focused on our unique history, which included, in the very earliest days, creative people who came here to pursue their outlets in song, literature, poetry, painting, drama and more.