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A Time Traveling Concert
Celebrating the faith and hope of the people of the Great American West, the story of “Romancing the West” is a gentle unveiling of singer/songwriter Christina Duane’s vision, including songs written about the West over a 30 year period and epic classics by renowned artists. Many of these well-known artist perform in the concert production, which will tour theaters in four Western states in April, culminating at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles.
Romancing the West is a time traveling, visual musical concert spanning over 240 years of the history of the people of the West in the musical styles of their times, illustrated with historic photos and video. The artists who bring to life two centuries in music include:
- Native American Educator of the Year Jacque Nunez
- Sons of the Oregon Trail, featuring “The Drifter Poet” Butch Martin and Skip Bessonette
- Melanie, who first appeared at Woodstock and had the #1 hit “Brand New Key”
- Legendary jazz pianist Patti Moran McCoy, who played with Duke Ellington on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
- Nick Garrett Powell of The Fret Drifters
- Martin Gerschwitz of Iron Butterfly
- Gypsy Soul (winners of multiple independent music awards)
- Pioneer of the Jesus movement Chuck Girard of Lovesong
- Fusion rock guitarist/composer Byron Fry
- Multi-instrumentalist/songwriter John Elliott (music heard on Grays Anatomy)
- GRAMMY nominated singer/songwriter Pam Mark Hall, and
- Writer and producer of “Romancing the West”, Celtic/folk singer Christina Duane.
The music and imagery tells of the Native American people and the Russian ships exploring the West Coast, the Spanish quest into Alta California and the building of the Mission chain, the Lewis and Clarke expedition, the blazing of the Oregon Trail, the trail of tears, the gold rush, and coming of the railroad. As the centuries turn, we visit the roaring 20’s, the Great Depression and World War ll, the post war boom, dawning of the cold war, the civil rights movement, and Vietnam, arriving at this present age of political polarization. Romancing the West celebrates the triumph of the human spirit through feast, famine, and decades of social and political change, telling the story of the American people rising above their differences to share this great land today. Three themes boldly emerge throughout the show including the preservation of Hometown America, conveyed through lines like “Where My Home Town Went” written by David Mac Kechnie, respect for our fellow man and their rights as communicated in songs like “Wallowa Skies,” a tribute to Chief Joseph, and the triumph of the human spirit as shared in songs like “California” which speaks of the melded fates of the Native and Spanish people who built the Mission together, lived and died together in collapse of the Great Stone Church, and whose ancestors carry on the history of their peoples together in the Fiesta Los Golondrinas.
About the Writer and Producer
Christina Duane, who co-founded pop/rock duo Velvet Bleu, first began writing about the Oregon Mountains, Rogue River and Applegate Valleys and the love of the people there after moving there as a young mother. Having to leave Oregon during a recession, she returned to California where she settled in her beloved Mission town of San Juan Capistrano, penning songs such as “Mission by the Sea”, “California” and “Hwy 101.” Upon returning to Oregon twenty years later, she wrote “Oh Oregon” in honor of Oregon’s 150th birthday and was asked to co-write and produce a musical concert in honor of Historic Jacksonville, Oregon’s 150th birthday with lyricist Paul Wyntergreen. This concert was performed at the Britt Pavilion and inspired her to create “Romancing the West.”
Christina says, “It was the highlight of my musical career to use songs I had written about Oregon and writing songs of every style for the show. I had the chance to work with Paul Wyntergreen, a brilliant lyricist, in putting his words to music as well, composing for someone’s lyrics other than my own for the first time. Thousands reserved tickets and hundreds of people came out and persisted for two and half hours in the pouring rain. The audience encouraged me to expand the scope of the production and take it on tour, thus ‘Romancing the West’ was born.”
Christina and her co-producer, legendary cowboy poet Butch Martin, hope to provoke communication between multiple generations in families as they set aside cell phones and computers to engage in history together around the music of all eras.
“America has been a land of great beauty and triumph, and a beacon of freedom to the world. We have had our own failings as Americans enslaved our fellow man, banished the Native people to reservations, interned Japanese American’s during World War ll, and for a time denied our sisters and brothers the right to vote, yet we have forgiven each other and we can heal those wounds, showcasing to the world forgiveness, faith, hope and love, through music, art and education, having overcome powerfully as one people under God.”
As images of the Native people, Chinese miners, pioneer families, cowboys/rancheros, loggers, soldiers, and civil rights leaders from presidents to prisoners of war emerge on the screen, the theme song begs the question, will we make a difference? “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 and her cast of diverse singer/songwriter/educators and recording artists hope to do just that. “Romancing the West” sponsors summer camps in the beautiful Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. For more information, visit www.romancingthewest.org.