Archive-Library Comes Alive

The Mission Archive Library is getting quite a transformation under Lynn Bremer, the new executive director. Over the past year, Bremer has been revamping, updating and “computerizing” the library’s holdings (which focus on the California Missions and related records) and she has reinvigorated the archive-library with new programs and activities.

The Mission Archive has a great lecture series lined up over the next several months. I am sorry I missed Santa Barbara historians Neal Graffy1 and Alex Grzywacki, who both spoke recently on the Cieniguitas Cemetery. A good-sized crowd turned out to learn about Santa Barbara’s Company C, the first battalion comprised of native Californians serving in the cavalry for the Civil War, and the restoration of the old Cieneguitas Cemetery in Santa Barbara.

On February 25,2 Jeremy Hass, a local attorney with a longtime passion for Santa Barbara history will speak on “Industry at the Old Missions – Santa Bárbara and Santa Inés.”

Then, mark your calendars for the following months. On April 15, Brother Joseph Schwab, will speak on “The Philosophy of Dun Scotus (made simple) and his importance to the Franciscans.” May 20 will feature Dr. Doyce Nunis, Jr. (emeritus professor of history at USC) and Thomas F. Andrews, former executive director of the Southern California Historical Society, in a “A conversation about California History.” John Woodward, a Santa Barbara attorney and historian, will give an illustrated lecture, “A Virtual 1850s tour of Santa Barbara adobes,” on June 24.

These lectures are free and open to the public, and will be held on Sunday afternoons at the Mission Archive Library, from 2 pm to 4 pm, in the Archive-Library Conference Room. (At the Mission, go left down the arched corridor toward Porter’s Shop; there’ll be an open door and signs to direct you.)

Recently, Dr. Mario Garcia, who wrote “Padre,” the biography of Father Virgil Cordano, donated his oral interview tapes and transcriptions to the Mission Archive Library. A reception for Professor Garcia was held after the Annual Meeting of the Trustees, which included Rose Marie Beebe from the University of Santa Clara, incoming Trustee President Robert Senkewicz, John Johnson, from the Museum of Natural History, Kathy Brewster, outgoing president of the board, Doyce Nunis, professor emeritus of history at USC, and Monica Orozco, a UCSB history professor.

Welcoming the Welsh

Bryant & Sons Jewelers was host for the post-symphony reception honoring Grant Llewellyn, a guest conductor who is originally from Wales. He had such a charming personality3 and he very much engaged the audience in his passion for Schubert. One of the pieces performed, “Scenes from Schumann,” was written by fellow Welsh man Robin Holloway, who had just flown in from London to hear it performed at the Arlington.

I’m looking forward to next week’s Guitar Festival, leading up to the world premiere of the guitar symphony (starring the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet). During the guitar summit week, the symphony has lined up an astounding symposium of flamenco, classical, jazz, guitar concerto with chamber orchestra and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet in venues around town from February 9-18.

In conjunction with the Guitar Festival, the James Michael Consort will perform at the Museum of Art at noon on Valentine’s Day. The Consort is comprised of James Paul Garcia4 and Michael Aberle, who perform Renaissance music on reproduction instruments, including lute, vihuella (Spanish lute) and Renaissance and Baroque guitars. Playing the greatest hits of the 15th century, the James Michael Consort “does take requests,” according to Garcia, “but nothing after 1600.”

Basketball Bill Ballyhooed

Meanwhile out at the other end of town, there was a Gaucho basketball reunion. Alumni were being feted at a dinner before a recent basketball game, and then again during halftime. The alumni hoop club sponsored the annual hall of fame dinner.

Happy applause greeted various basketball players as their names were announced, going back in chronological order to their year of service. But the biggest cheers were saved for William Russell.

Still strutting his stuff at 91 and a half years old, William “Bill” Russell5 had been the captain of the basketball team at Santa Barbara State Teacher Training College on the Riviera (this is pre-UCSB). Russell led his team to the state championship in 1940 – the first State Championship that the college had ever won.6

1. Full journalistic disclosure! He’s one of my big brothers

2. This is the day after my birthday. Only 17 more shipping days left to get your cards and gifts!

3 He also had that British accent. Everything sounds better in a British accent.

4. Another full disclosure – he’s my husband

5. No relation to the Celtics legend whatsoever, but a heck of a nice guy who was also Fiesta’s El Presidente in 1969.

6. Actually, I am happy to write about your own relations/friends, too! If you have any cool trivia, little story snippets or happy gossip to share, send it on to; reference “State Street Spin”