Culture, spirituality at UC San Diego Powwow.

The UC San Diego 2022 Powwow began late this morning with Bird Singers from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

As people slowly arrived at Marshall College Field, the singers sang ancient stories of the world’s creation. Traditional dancers and shaken gourd rattles moved in rhythm with the words.

In the San Diego sunshine, the culture and history of the Kumeyaay was alive, passing from heart to heart, from generation to generation.

One of the bird singers explained how culture and spirituality live together hand in hand. The singing takes much time and sacrifice. It is for the people. It brought him and others happiness, enriching life in many ways.

Bringing this beautiful music to our world helps many to thrive in this day and time.

I listened. Took some photos. I stretched my legs and ate some Kumeyaay fry bread with powdered sugar and drizzled honey. Yum!

Bird Singers were followed by Gourd Dancers.

After a little while, I felt the urge to move forward through this amazing world, and I walked again down my path.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

San Diego’s elegant Maritime Museum Dancers!

The Maritime Museum Dancers performed today. They graced the dance floor of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic steam ferry Berkeley!

In addition to elegant, spritely dancing, the performers sang both together and individually, and one even read poetry!

These particular costumes and entertainments would have been enjoyed over two hundred years ago in England, in the early 19th century, around the time of the Regency Period.

The Maritime Museum Dancers often perform on another museum ship, HMS Surprise, the replica British Royal Navy ship used in the filming of Master and Commander.

Lucky museum visitors were enraptured by today’s performance, which included line dancing, a quadrille, and a duet. Near the conclusion of their performance, the group sang a gently stirring rendition of Greensleeves.

Alas my love you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously;
And I have loved you oh so long
Delighting in your company…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

San Diego gathers to sing Christmas carols!

Is it possible for perfect strangers to come together spontaneously and sing as one? It happened this afternoon in San Diego in Balboa Park!

Audience members from today’s free Sunday concert were summoned to the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. A smiling Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez and local singer and songwriter Lauren Leigh Martin led one and all through many joyful Christmas carols!

Is a single picture worth a thousand words? Here’s a many thousands of words story…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A wonderful Christmas concert in Balboa Park!

This evening a wonderful Christmas concert was enjoyed in Balboa Park. The San Diego Ballet, San Diego Opera, and Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez performed holiday favorites for a large crowd at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Ballerinas filed onto the stage to dance to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, then soaring voices filled the chilly night air with warm selections from Handel’s Messiah, and many favorite Christmas carols.

The concert concluded with a rousing Hallelujah Chorus.

I’m delighted to see how this annual free Christmas concert has grown in popularity to become a true San Diego holiday tradition.

On one special December evening some our city’s finest cultural institutions unite, bringing joy to young and old alike.

I sat in the pavilion and listened, and managed a few okay photos from afar.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Scenes from La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW!

This evening I watched a stirring performance. I and many others enjoyed the La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW event at Liberty Station.

What did I see?

I saw soulful singing and dancing that stems from a shared history of suffering and endurance.

I saw joy that rises from the heart–a triumph of the spirit.

I saw how bubbles are like aspects of life–and like life itself. Mysterious, beautiful, soaring . . . short-lived. A beginning and an ending. Like memories.

I, too, wondered why we have an impulse to chase bubbles.

I saw a fable about a giant who wanted power over everything.

Until he saw the beauty of bubbles and learned wisdom.

I saw individuals repeatedly asking “Can I?”

They make one clumsy attempt after another, slowly gaining ability, gaining confidence, until they venture out into this sometimes scary world.

Meeting others, overcoming their fear, the question becomes “Can WE?”

What I observed was life.

You can watch it tomorrow if you’d like, too. Click here to learn about the Sunday performances. It’s free!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Mariachis perform at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park was filled this evening with uplifting music. Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista performed in front of a large crowd!

Lively traditional Mexican music turned this free Twilight in the Park Summer Concert into a special, memorable event. Many families filled the pavilion benches. There was much clapping and singing along with popular songs.

An elderly man behind me sang words he knew by heart joyfully. So did a very young boy sitting next to him.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Christmas carol performance at Waterfront Park.

Early this afternoon people converged upon Waterfront Park to listen to Christmas music, including many favorite carols.

I walked up a few minutes after the performance began. The festive Christmas Carol Sing concert was put on by the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, with joyful music provided by their Westminster Orchestra.

I walked around the group taking these photos, often capturing the County Administration Building and tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the background. I then settled in to listen for a while.

Many of the adults I saw were smiling. Many of the children were dancing.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cool photo memories from December 2015.

An entire month full of fun events could be enjoyed in San Diego five years ago. (No COVID-19 pandemic back then to put a damper on the holiday season.)

It’s time to travel back in time and revisit some past blog posts from December 2015!

Cool San Diego Sights paid a visit to December Nights in Balboa Park, met Santa Claus and learned about the history of Christmas in San Diego, enjoyed a special tour at the San Diego Museum of Art, watched tiny sailboats on the model boat pond in Mission Bay, sang Christmas carols in Old Town and at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, discovered a cool mural in North Park, boarded a famous tall ship, walked through the Egyptian Quarter of Hillcrest, and watched preparations for the Holiday Bowl Parade!

Let’s live those experiences once again!

To go back five years and see lots of fun photos, click the following links:

Fun photos of 2015 December Nights in Balboa Park!

Read the joyful history of Christmas in San Diego!

The Art of Music lives in San Diego!

Fun sailing on Mission Bay’s model boat pond.

Singing Christmas carols in San Diego’s Old Town!

Super cool mural in North Park at 30th and Gunn!

Public sings Christmas carols at Spreckels Organ!

Photos aboard Master and Commander’s HMS Surprise.

Photos of a walk through Hillcrest’s Egyptian Quarter.

Inflating balloons for the Holiday Bowl parade!

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Antonio Garra Day in Old Town San Diego.

This afternoon I attended Antonio Garra Day in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The event, which comes on the anniversary of Garra’s death, was organized by the Pala Band of Mission Indians. I listened to several speakers, including authors and historians, talk about Garra and historical events in the mid-1800s, and I watched different Kumeyaay groups perform Bird Songs and Dances.

Antonio Garra was a leader of the Cupeño people in Southern California who sought to organize tribes of our region to resist unfair taxation. Even though Native Americans were not citizens of the United States, a tax was levied upon their animals, property and agriculture. This taxation without representation was considered by many fair-minded people to be illegal and unjust.

Garra was educated at Mission San Luis Rey and could speak English, Spanish and Latin. He was an influential leader who opposed the ill-treatment of indigenous people. According to Wikipedia: “In 1851, because of several issues of conflict, Antonio Garra, a Cupeño from Warner’s Ranch, tried to organize a coalition of various Southern California Indian tribes to drive out all of the European Americans. His Garra Revolt failed, and settlers executed Garra. The Cupeño had attacked Warner and his ranch, burning some buildings.”

Garra was blamed for the murder of four people at Colonel Warner’s Rancho on November 22, 1850, and he was sentenced to be executed. On January 12, 1852, he was brought to the El Campo Santo cemetery in Old Town and told to kneel down beside a ready grave in front of a firing squad. He last words were: “Gentlemen, I ask your pardon for all my offenses and expect yours in return.”

Antonio Garra Day arose because of a Wanted poster that has long been displayed in the First San Diego Courthouse museum. The poster does not provide the full story of the Garra Uprising and the suffering of indigenous people. Today, a plaque beneath the poster provides more historical context.

Between performances of Bird Songs, which honored Native American ancestors, elders and Garra, I listened to the words of Patricia Nelson. She is a descendant of Antonio Garra. As a youth she was incensed by the cruel treatment of her people. Today, she works to honor and proudly remember those people, their culture, their lives and humanity.

Antonio Garra Day has grown over the past 4 or 5 years, and next year it will be a much larger event, filling the plaza of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, with many Kumeyaay participants from all around our region.

A display of Kumeyaay artifacts at the event, by the Wa$xayam Pomki Museum on the Rincon Reservation.
A display of Kumeyaay artifacts at the event, by the Wa$xayam Pomki Museum on the Rincon Reservation.

Garra and his people assisted weary immigrants who had crossed the desert. He also gave aid and comfort to General Kearney and his troops during the Mexican-American war.
Garra and his people assisted weary immigrants who had crossed the desert. He also gave aid and comfort to General Kearney and his troops during the Mexican-American war.

Bird Singers sing of the world's creation and the first people.
Bird Singers tell of the world’s creation and the first people.

A crowd observes Antonio Garra Day at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A crowd observes Antonio Garra Day at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Wanted posters in the First San Diego Courthouse museum include one concerning Antonio Garra.
Wanted posters in the First San Diego Courthouse museum include one concerning Antonio Garra.

The grave of Antonio Garra in Old Town San Diego's El Campo Santo cemetery.
The grave of Antonio Garra in Old Town San Diego’s El Campo Santo cemetery.

A horse came to Old Town for the event. Its rider represented Juan Verdugo, who participated in the Garra Uprising and was executed. He is also buried at El Campo Santo cemetery.
A horse came to Old Town for the event. Its rider (not visible) represented Juan Verdugo, who participated in the Garra Uprising and was executed. He is also buried at El Campo Santo cemetery.

Patricia Nelson, a descendant of Antonio Garra, talks about her memories, generations of her people, and their lives.
Patricia Nelson, a descendant of Antonio Garra, talks about her memories, many generations of her people, and their lives.

Bird Song and Dance honor a people who lived in our region many thousands of years before the arrival in 1769 of Spanish missionaries and soldiers.
Bird Song and Dance honor a people who lived in our region many thousands of years before the arrival in 1769 of Spanish missionaries and soldiers.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Strangers come together to sing joyfully.

This afternoon, residents of San Diego and tourists from places around the world came together to sing joyfully.

Rising from the audience, perfect strangers gathered on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and sang Christmas carols.

Their voices touched the hearts of many who listened.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!