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Projects >> Education >> Anza Trail Guide >> Music

Music Related Excerpts from the de Anza Expedition Diaries

Below are some music-related excerpts from the expedition diaries written by Father Pedro Font.

Sunday, October 22, 1775. I [Font] said Mass for the success of the journey of the expedition, all the people attending, and Father Garcés assisted because in the presidio there were no other singers....Each day the Commander would say, "Everybody mount. " Thereupon all mounted horses. Then we began to march, [Font] intoning the Alabado, to which all the people responded; and this was done every day both going and coming. At night the people said the Rosary in their tents by families, and afterward they sang the Alabado, the Salve, or something else, each one in its own way, and the result was a pleasing variety. The number of people was so large that when we halted the camp looked like a town, with the barracks which the soldiers made with their capotes, blankets, and branches, and especially with thefield-tents....

Tuesday, October 24.-...Set out from La Canoa and halted at Punta de los Llanos...On the way the people and I went saying the Rosary for the deceased, and I finished by singing the Salve of the Virgin of Los Dolores....

Tuesday, November 28.- ... Beach of the Colorado River, Crossing the Gila a third time. The Yumas entertained the expedition with Captain Palma. The soldiers were ordered to fire a few shots to reciprocate the pleasure manifested by these people at expedition's coming. This pleased the Yumas greatly and they responded to the musket-shots with a great shouting and hullabaloo. "Queyé," which means "fellow citizens." ....At night the Yumas and the Opas remained until late around the fire, ... singing in their funereal fashion, and playing on the drum with a corita....To all of this Palma listened so pleased that he began to sing the Alabado with Font....

Friday, December 1.-...Building a cabin at the village of Captain Palma, as a habitation for Fathers Garcés and Eixarch. .....This captain is called Palma because of his friendship in times past with a mayor domo of the mission of Caborca called Palma, whose name he took; and he is called Salvador because this name was given to him by the Indian Sebastián Tarabal when he came out from California to Sonora and stopped at the house of this captain for several days.....Ever since he passed through my mission of San Joseph de Pimas he [Anza] had insisted that Font should carry the musical instrument, trying to persuade Font that the psalterio would be very useful for attracting the Indians, and especially the Yumas. He did not play it here. The commander finally said that with the two fathers there should remain three interpreters, two muleteers, and their two servants. One of the two muleteers was the Indian Sebastián Tarabal, the person who served and accompanied Father Garcés in his journeys, as he says in his diary.

Friday, January 5, 1776.- [Mention of rebellion of the Indians of San Diego.] At San Garbiel, the Christian Indians who compose this new mission.... They raise hogs and have a small flock of sheep, of which on our arrival they killed three or four wethers which they had. They also have a few hens....the converted Indians of this mission, who are of the Beneme tribe, and also of the Jeniguechi tribe. The routine for every day is as follows: In the morning at sunrise Mass is regularly said; and at it, or without it if none is said, they assemble all the Indians. The father recites with all of them the Christian doctrine, which is concluded with the Alabado, which is sung in all the missions and in the same key. Indeed, the fathers sing.... At sunset they again recite the doctrine and conclude by singing the Alabado. The doctrine which is recited in all the missions is the short one of Father Castaņi.... is recited in Castilian even though the fathers may be versed in the native tongue, as is the case at the mission of San Antonio, whose father minister, Fray Buenaventura Sitjar, understands and speaks well the language of the Indians of that mission.

Saturday, March 2.- [Traveled from Village of El Buchón to Mission of San Luís Obispo.] ...Fathers welcoming them with peals of bells and the guard with volleys, we entered the church chanting the Te Deum. Indians of the Nochi tribe....

Monday, March 11.- Fray Junípero Serra sing the Mass. We sang the Mass, then, as an act of thanksgiving for our successful arrival. Font sang it at the altar, and the five fathers assisted, singing very melodiously ..., the troops of the presidio and of the expedition assisting with repeated salvos and volleys of musketry. Entering the church in a procession, they intoned the Te Deum ....

Tuesday, April 2, 1776.- ... Indians, who came to the camp very early in the morning singing...welcomed by the Indians of the village, singing, and dancing. Their method of welcoming us was like this: At sunrise the ten Indians came, one behind another, singing and dancing. One carried the air, making music with a little stick, rather long and split in the middle [clapper stick of Ohlones], which he struck against his hand and which sounded something like a castanet. They followed after them with their singing and dancing, Font chanting the Alabado. Continued their singing and shouting with great vigor and in a higher key, as if they wished to respond to our chant. Native woman was seen, dancing alone, making motions very indicative of pleasure. Other indians were seen and shared a fish.

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