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|Volunteer efforts crescendo with benefit concert|
|Written by Amanda Seely|
|Friday, 30 March 2012 05:04|
Michael Grande, a guitarist, played a benefit concert at Schieffelin Hall on Saturday to aid the Tombstone City Archives.
“I love all of the history,” he said. “It’s the music I love. It’s the beautiful terrain. I love the wildlife and being around the horses, and really the people. The people are just so sweet.”
Grande said he wanted to perform at the benefit because he believes that the history is important and America is beginning to forget its history.
“It’s all memory, and America is losing its memory,” he said. “If you don’t know who you are, you can’t defend it. To save something like the archives is so well worth me coming here ... Any time I can help save the archives or the history of a great place, it’s important.”
Nancy Sosa opened the concert by explaining what is special about the archives.
“We have over 131 years of history in one of the most historic homes in town,” she said.
“We do have a grant that is in process right now, due in June, and I’m almost done with it.” The grant has funded Sosa’s work with the Arizona Memory Project.
The Tombstone City Archives has continued to grow, despite being funded completely by donations.
“It’s going well,” Sosa said. “We’re getting some rolling shelves, which is what we need.”
The money raised from the concert ticket sales would have paid for the sleeves, Sosa said. However, now it will go toward affording monthly upkeep. She said she has supporters within the city as well as nationally.
“I have a lot of background support,” she said. “What we need is more and more of those people to step forward.”
The archives are an attraction to many outside Tombstone.
“I had people calling me last night because they flew in from Arkansas just to come and do research,” Sosa said.
Sosa said that the archives sometimes get caught up in the politics of Tombstone.
“It’s tough when it’s such political hardball,” she said. “They think the money is coming out of the general fund, and it’s not. Every single penny is donated. I’m even paid by donations.”
Grande said that the Western music he performs relates directly to the history of the West and the foreigners that settled it.
“If you take a western song and you speed it up, you get the polka tune. Listen to the bass lines,” he said.
Settlers from countries such as Germany and Switzerland often meshed their music with the local flavor.
“Here, the music evolved with the Spanish influences,” Grande said. “At first, they weren’t playing the guitar. When they married the influence with the Spanish guitar, they could slow it down and do that western stuff.”
Many members of the audience attended to see Grande, as well as help the archives.
“I’ve been reading about Michael (Grande) off and on and I wanted to see him perform,” said Tombstone resident Charlotte Gilbert. “And saving our history. That’s what this town is all about.”
Mary Roach and her husband, Doc Roach, have lived in Tombstone for four years and said they attended to support the archives.
“We’re very interested in our history,” Mary Roach said. “I think it really can contribute a lot to the community, because if people really look, they can see a lot more history than what you can see on the street.”