Historians, musicians, and storytellers will celebrate Arizona’s unique cultural and natural landscapes in Flagstaff at the Coconino Center for the Arts on May 9 at 2pm. “The Ballad of Arizona,” which is sponsored by the Arizona Historical Society and made possible by a grant from Arizona Humanities, is free and appropriate for all ages.
The multimedia program features videos, songs, and stories that capture the special character of the Grand Canyon State. Award-winning musician Jay Cravath, who designed the event, says, “Audiences can think of the program as a Prairie Home Companion for Arizona.”
Intermixed with live music and documentary footage, “The Ballad of Arizona” includes some of the more popular and unknown chapters of state history. ASU archivist Christine Marin tells the little-known but important story of Miami High School’s 1951 state basketball championship, which brought recognition and pride to the mostly Hispanic mining commiunity.
Dan Shilling recounts the tale of forester Aldo Leopold, who came to Arizona in 1909, and eventually wrote hundreds of essays that shaped modern environmentalism. “The mountains near Springerville,” says Shilling, “where Leopold realized that humans and nature are members of the same community, are as important in environmental history as Thoreau’s Walden Pond.”
Other stories include Japanese American internment, cattle drives in Arizona, the murder of reporter Don Bolles, and the history of dude ranches.