After the Dec. 22, 2003, San Simeon Earthquake, Mission San Miguel, with its precious Esteban Munras murals, quickly became the poster child for Americans who wanted to save most historic and endangered buildings.
To the rescue came the “cookie ladies” of San Miguel, interfaith music and choral groups who gave fund-raising concerts and countless people from the North County. In addition the effort was joined by the California Missions Foundation, the Getty Trust and Senator Barbara Boxer, who “persuaded” the Mission’s insurers to fulfill the terms of their contract.
In September 2009, Mission San Miguel reopened to the public. For many of us, this event was nothing less than a miracle. After all, St. Michael the Arcangel, the Mission’s patron, fought Lucifer and cast him out of Heaven.
Next weekend, The California Mission Studies Association is holding its annual meeting at Mission San Miguel. CMSA was founded in 1984 to promote the study of California’s Franciscan missions. It’s a remarkably diverse group of individuals that brings together musicologists, linguists, archaeologists, ethnologists, art restoration specialists, economists, astronomers, agriculturalists, architects and historians.
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The program will involve many aspects of mission studies, but the main theme is the miracle of Restauración and how this can help other endangered mission sites. Dr. Knox Mellon, the director of the California Missions Foundation and California’s first State Historic Preservation Officer, will join Wayne Donaldson, current SHPO, and other panelists in a discussion of “The Mission to Save the Missions.”
On Saturday night at the awards banquet, Mission San Miguel’s Franciscan Guardian, Fr. Larry Gosselin, will give a talk titled “St. Francis of Assisi: Especially Relevant for our Day.”
On Friday, February 25th, at 7:30 p.m. a part of the program will be open to the public without having to pay the full conference registration fee. Cal Poly’s Craig Russell, a master musician and scholar of mission music, will give the keynote address. Conductor John Warren and the New World Baroque Orchestra will perform the music of the missions that Craig has written about in his prize-winning book, From Serra to Sancho.
The program will feature rare early Mission music from “La Misa de Sol — Mass in G” by Padre Juan Bautista Sancho, OFM, who was the Pastor of Mission San Antonio de Padua in Jolon from 1804 to 1830, dance tunes from the Garcia Manuscript of 1772 and songs from early Spanish Alta-California. Guest artist Elizabeth Waldo, well-known composer and violinist from Southern California, will perform her latest original composition, “The Lost Violin — A Salinan Song Prayer” with the orchestra.
The public is welcome to attend this festive historical event. Tickets are $10.00 each/$25.00 for a family and will be available at the door. For more information, please call 239-3022.
The program honors the memory of two dedicated women who helped to save and protect California’s Missions during the years of abandonment and neglect in the early 20th century — Mamie Goulet Abbott, who returned Mission Santa Ines to its dignified beauty, and Perfecta Encinales, beloved matriarch of the Salinan Tribe, who, with her family, prevented Mission San Antonio de Padua from falling into total ruin.
Readers interested in attending the regular sessions of the CMSA meeting can come and register at the beautiful new San Miguel Community Hall in back of the main Mission buildings in San Miguel. Registration will be available from 4:00 p.m. Friday and includes a reception catered by San Luis Obispo’s Bon Temps Café beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The concert follows at 7:30.
You can get further information online at www.ca-missions.org/