CONCERT IN THE ROCKS
Every June, the magnificent Lone Ranger Canyon, located in the Alabama Hills, is transformed into an “under the stars” venue for hosting the annual Lone Pine – “Concert in the Rocks.” The evening begins with a welcoming reception in the museum for annual members. Following the reception, members and other attendees are transported to the Alabama Hills for dinner preceding the show.
What better symbolizes the spirit of America in the 19th century than the image of the cowboy as celebrated in film? And what better symbolizes the music of America in the 20th century than Jazz? Their legacy converged on a beautiful summer night in June of 2014, in the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine, California, where hundreds of cowboy movies have been filmed. In a concert under the stars, Jamaican born pianist Monty Alexander was joined by bassist Hassan Shakur and drummer Jeff Hamilton for the opening medley of Western songs with jazz piano-oriented arrangements. After the opening medley, the trio was joined by guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinnie Raniolo who added to the Western feel of the evening.
The program was made up of songs closely identified with singing cowboys who worked in Lone Pine and the Eastern Sierra area. Among the singing cowboys represented are Gene Autry (“Back in the Saddle,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky”), Roy Rogers (“Happy Trails,” “Along the Navajo Trail”), Tex Ritter (“I Got Spurs That Jingle, Jangle, Jingle,” “Do Not Forsake Me”). Also represented were Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers (“Tumbling Tumbleweeds”) and The Jimmy Wakley Trio (“I’m an Old Cowhand”).
In a departure from the evening’s theme, jazz vocalist Allan Harris joined the musicians in a memorial tribute to Herb Jeffries, the Bronze Buckaroo, who had died just three weeks earlier. It had been planned for the last of the singing cowboys, who had recently celebrated his 100th birthday, to be in attendance at the concert to hear Harris sing his signature song “Flamingo,” paying a fitting tribute to this groundbreaking performer. Jeffries widow Savannah was in the audience.
The concert is sponsored as a fundraiser for the Museum of Western Film History in nearby Lone Pine, California. The Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Western films and the legacy of the men and women who made them. The Museum’s exhibits include a wide and extensive collection of historic memorabilia and artifacts related to the genre. What better place to celebrate that heritage than in the very area where over 700 feature films and television shows were filmed beginning in the early 20th century and continuing to today.
The proceeds raised from the concert and the CD go towards supporting the the Lone Pine Film History Museum.