FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2018
Mary Ann Hatchitt
(Jemez Springs, New Mexico) – Get set to be serenaded Saturday nights this June and July by campers from the Hummingbird Music Camp performing at the Jemez Historic Site in Jemez Springs. The concerts will happen every Saturday night between May 26 and July 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. inside the 17th century wall of San Jose de los Jemez Mission.
After purchasing a spread of beautifully wooded land along the banks of the Jemez River, in 1959, Albuquerque music teacher Kenneth Lloyd Higgins and his wife Wanda opened the Hummingbird Music Camp. Over the next 58 years, the camp has hosted thousands of students and been the starting point of a life-long love of music.
For campers, one of the most memorable moments during a week of outdoor fun and learning was performing at the Saturday night concert held in Jemez Springs. Unfortunately, in 2017, the increasing cost of bussing the campers to and from the nearby community became prohibitive for Hummingbird. After over a half-century of performances, the Jemez Springs music pavilion sat quiet and empty.
Learning of this loss, New Mexico Historic Sites Director Patrick Moore discussed options with the staff from Jemez Historic Site about how a partnership might emerge to save this Jemez Valley institution.
“Our mission is to protect and preserve the culture and history of New Mexico” Moore said, “While the majority of the Jemez story revolves around the Jemez pueblo, the 20th century story of the camp is also important to understanding the state’s cultural history.”
Historic Sites and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation stepped in to support the program and to hold the weekly concerts within the picturesque walls of the historic mission.
Historic Sites Northern Region Manager Matt Barbour explained “Music has a long tradition at Jemez Historic Site and is a passion we share with Hummingbird Music Camp. This is an amazing opportunity for visitors to experience an amazing outdoor concert and explore the site after hours, while campers have the performance memories of a lifetime.”
In telling the story of the musical history in the valley, the site will have a pop-up exhibit on display during the concerts. “This new exhibit will highlight traditional Jemez music and create connections to the present with Hummingbird,” said Instructional Coordinator Ethan Ortega. “Learning about these roots make understanding why K.L. Higgins’ role in music education and creating the camp is so significant to New Mexico history.”
There is no admission fee and the event is open to the public. Call 575-829-3530 for more information.
About New Mexico Historic Sites: http://nmhistoricsites.org/ On March 14, 1931, the New Mexico Historic Site system was established by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico, to "declare by public proclamation that historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the State of New Mexico, shall be state monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof such parcels of land as may be necessary to the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." Under the direction of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, six sites are open to the public: Coronado, Fort Selden, Fort Stanton, Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial, Jemez, and Lincoln. The Los Luceros Historic Property is open to the public during scheduled events and by appointment (505) 476-1130.
In 2004, the J. Paul Taylor Family bequeathed the Barela-Reynolds House and Property on the Mesilla Plaza to the Department of Cultural Affairs. Still serving as J. Paul Taylor’s private home, the property will become a Historic Site after his passing. Events, news releases and images about activities at New Mexico Historic Sites, and other Department of Cultural Affairs divisions can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org.