Tag Archives: Native American Drumming

Local Musicians Entertain at 2015 July 4th Fireworks Program

Article by Alex Colvin; photos and videos by Linda Colvin

The wonderful Burney fireworks display is always one of the highlights of Burney Basin Days.  After a day of parades, barbecues, shows, and festivities; the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air bring the day to a dazzling conclusion. The fireworks program is organized and hosted by The Rotary Club of Burney and Fall River Mills.

4th of July Fireworks at Burney High School

4th of July Fireworks at Burney High School

Before the fireworks there is a full pre-fireworks program. The new Burney Basin Days Queen and her court are introduced.  The new Honorary Mayor of Burney is also recognized. Music is played and announcements are made.  Sponsors and vendors are recognized.

Bill Campbell introduces The 2015 Honorary Mayor of Burney and Basin Days Royalty

Bill Campbell introduces The 2015 Honorary Mayor of Burney and Basin Days Royalty

For the 2015 Basin Days Fireworks Program, something new was added. At the February meeting of the Burney Basin Days committee, George Whitfield suggested having an open mic at the fireworks program and the idea was approved. George asked me if I would host the open mic. At the April meeting, the committee decided that instead of having an open mike, we would feature a showcase of local musical artists who wished to volunteer their time and talent.

Kermit Minor Adjusting the Sound for the Pit River Nation Drum Group

Kermit Minor Adjusting the Sound for the Pit River Nation Drum Group

This article gives a glimpse of some of the entertainment provided as a result. Performers are introduced in the order that they appeared on the stage. The MC for the event and overall organizer of the fireworks program was Bill Campbell of the Rotary Club. My wife, Linda Colvin, was busy taking both videos and photographs. She couldn’t capture every song. However, the sampling she did record, provides a good taste of the happening for those who were unable to attend and for posterity. Kermit “Butch” Minor, assisted by his wife and son, did an excellent jot of providing sound for the program.

Naturally, since George came up with the idea, he was one of the first on the list. George is a past president of the Lions Club. He used to perform with the Burney Basin Band. George and I decided that we would share a spot to kick the program off.

I met Jeff McNeil at a joint social of the Burney and Fall River Chamber of Commerces at the Clearwater Lodge in the Spring. He was singing “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard. Jeff recently moved to the Intermountain area. He has been a blacksmith and a cowboy for 35 years. He also served as a trail guide in the Sierras. Jeff has been playing music for a long time and knows a wealth of cowboy and country tunes. When I asked him if he would like to play in the talent showcase  he readily volunteered.

Jeff McNiel at the Burney Basin Days Fireworks Program

Jeff McNiel at the Burney Basin Days Fireworks Program

We didn’t get a video of Jeff’s wonderful performance. However, he has been playing at the Rex Club and the Fall River Hotel. If you stop in, you can experience for yourself why he got a call for an encore and hoops and hollers of appreciation after he performed.

One of the first groups to volunteer to play were Martin and Vicky McAbee. Marty and Vicky have been playing at local churches, the community center, and local open mics. They wrote the song “Ring the Bells of Freedom” for this event.

Gerry Goldman and Honey Storlee are becoming well known in Northern California music circles. They play as a duo and with a group named the Mountain Messengers. They were recently featured on the Round Mountain public radio station and regularly play at the Farmer’s Market in Redding and local festivals. Honey lives in Redding and studies ministry at the Bethel Church. She loves sharing her musical gift. Jerry plays guitar and banjo and has accompanied many musicians in the Intermountain area.

No representation of local talent would be complete without music from the members of the Pit River Tribe. The Pit River Basin  is their hereditary homeland. Each year the Pit River Tribe sponsors a Pow-Wow that brings people from all over the West to Burney. I was so happy when Ira Winn agreed to ask the Pit River Nation Drum Group play at the fireworks show. Ira introduces the members of the group in the video.

After they had played and sung a couple of songs of honor and blessing, Ira got a spontaneous inspiration. He called to his cousin Crystal Flores, the 2015 Burney Basin Days Queen, to lead a Round Dance. The Round Dance is a traditional dance of friendship.

The final act of the Talent Showcase was a joint concert by band members from Burney and Fall River Mills High Schools organized and directed by Hugo Castro. Mr. Castro is the music teacher at both schools. When I first contacted him in the Spring, Hugo was busy organizing four concerts for the end of the school year. On the last day of school, we spoke again and he proceeded to put together a program combining some of his best students from both programs. It was wonderful to have such talented young people perform, rounding out the program with a special flare.

Many thanks to the Burney Basin Days Committee and the Rotary Club of Burney and Fall River Mills for including the Talent Showcase in this year’s program. Thanks to all of the performers who donated their time and talent, and to Kermit to making it all sound so good. Thank you very much to the school district and Burney High School for the use of the football field.  I would especially like to thank Jill Barnett, the Chairperson of the 2015 Burney Basin Days Committee, for all her work coordinating and supporting all of the events sponsored by all of the organizations, businesses, and individuals who worked long and hard to make the 2015 Burney Basin Days a success!

Alex Colvin is co-owner of The Lace Gallery in Burney, California. He previously wrote for non-profit corporations in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Since returning to Burney, where he has deep family roots, Alex and his wife Linda have dedicated themselves to exploring and photographing the natural beauty of Northern California.

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Burney Basin Days Diamond Jubilee Sparkles

Article by Alex Colvin and photos by Lace Photography

07/07/15 – Burney was buzzing with activity over the 4th of July weekend as it celebrated its 60th Diamond Jubilee.

The queen and her court and the mayor

The queen and her court and the mayor

Events kicked off on Thursday evening at the VFW Hall with the Burney Basin Days Queen Pageant. The hall was packed as seven charming young ladies competed. Each contestant gave a speech, answered questions presented by the judges, and modeled in causal, summer, and formal dress.

Every contestant won a title. Monica Blanco won Miss Personality; Autumn Boyle, Miss Congeniality; and Beverly Vaughn, Miss Photogenic. Gabriella Chacon was crowned 3rd Princess; Caiya McCloud, 2nd Princess; and Faith Scalf, 1st Princess. The 2015 Queen of Burney Basin Days is Crystal Flores, a student at Burney High School,

2015 Honorary Mayor Patty Williams

2015 Honorary Mayor Patty Williams

The winner of the race for Honorary Mayor of Burney, Patty Williams, was also introduced at the pageant. Williams raised money for the Hospice program. Kim Stier came in second raising funds for the Senior Nutrition Center. Also running were Linda Colvin, who collected donations for SNIPPP, and Tom Moore, raising funds for Senior Nutrition Center.

On Friday, the Burney Reunites Welcome Center opened featuring a display of Burney history and an Art Show by the Intermountain Artists. In the evening, there was Tough Man Boxing at the Pit River Casino followed by live music. The Rex Club also sponsored a community social with live music.

Saturday morning began with a Chuck Wagon Breakfast cooked by the Burney Lions Club and an Arts and Craft Show sponsored by the local Soroptomist Club.

Bed Racers Crossing the Finish Line

Bed Racers Crossing the Finish Line

At 10 a.m. Hwy 299 through Burney was closed for the bed races and parades. The bed races began about 10:20. Teams of racers pushed, pedaled and pulled iron beds on wheels that they had constructed. Halfway down the course, they had to stop, get out of bed and jump rope. The competition was spirited and intense, but when the results came in the same bed that had won for the last 6 years won again. The bed race was organized by Steve and Jennifer Luck of Burney Reunites.

Next came the Kiddie Parade, with youngsters on bikes and toddlers on trikes and wagons racing down the highway to the Alpine Drive-In to be rewarded with an ice cream reward.

Kiddie Racer Waving to Fans

Kiddie Racer Waving to Fans

2015 Grand Marshall Tommy George

2015 Grand Marshall Tommy George

As the toddlers receded, the 60th Annual Burney Basin Days Parade began. Tommy George, an elder of the Pit River Tribe, was the Grand Marshall. This year’s parade was excellent, with a number of floats celebrating the theme of Diamond Jubilee. The prize for best float went to Burney Reunites for a panoramic display of 60 years of Basin Days history made out of 12,000 stuffed napkins. It took a lot of work to make that float.

The Winning Float

The Winning Float

Jefferson State Bagpipers marching in the Parade

Jefferson State Bagpipers marching in the Parade

The parade was a celebration of community. The Jefferson State Bagpipers marched in the parade beating their drums and blowing their pipes. The Queen and her court rode through waving to the crowd from the back of a pick-up. Honorary Mayor Williams walked the parade handing out candy to children. Fire trucks, the Sherriff’s Department, Mayers Memorial Hospital, Citizens Patrol, the Burney 4H, Civil War reenactors, the NorCal Road Gypsies Car Club, several local businesses, and many more took part. The parade ended with a wagonload of Asphalt Cowboys shooting holes through straw hats.

After the parade, festivities continued at the VFW Hall where the bagpipers played a concert while people ate a generous serving of delicious barbecued beef.

Marty and Vicky McAbee entertain

Marty and Vicky McAbee entertain

At five o’clock, the gates opened at Burney High School football field for the pre-fireworks show sponsored by The Rotary Club of Burney and Fall River Mills. As the crowd grew, local singers and songwriters entertained the audience with blues, folk, country, and cowboy tunes. One couple, Marty and Vicky McAbee, wrote a song named “Ring the Bells of Freedom” especially for the event.

Crystal Flores 2015 Queen of Burney Basin Days

Crystal Flores 2015 Queen of Burney Basin Days

A highlight of the evening was a demonstration of Native American Music by the Pit River Nation Drum Group. They explained about the large drum they used and the music and then drummed and sang several songs of blessing and honor. Suddenly Ira Wynn, one of the leaders of the group got an inspiration and called to Crystal Flores, the new Burney Basin Days Queen to organize a circle for a Round Dance. Everyone was invited to join. Led by the Queen and her court, dozens of children and adults, including Mayor Williams and Jill Barnett, the Chairperson of the Burney Basin Days Committee, danced a traditional friendship dance.

The New Mayor, Queen, and royalty were introduced, and parade trophies were awarded. Bill Campbell, the MC for the event, roamed the audience interviewing people who had come to attend the 4th of July celebration.

Hugo Castro and the Burney and Fall River band students

Hugo Castro and the Burney and Fall River band students

As night began to fall, band students from both Burney and Fall River Mills High School presented a concert of upbeat renditions of popular music under the direction of Hugo Castro, their music teacher. Following the band concert, Campbell introduced Janice Hamlin, a talented local soprano, who led the audience in a sing-along of patriotic songs culminating in her stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. As soon as the music ceased, everyone was treated to a dazzling 25 minute fireworks display.

4th of July Fireworks at Burney High School

4th of July Fireworks at Burney High School

Rick from Burney Warming up before the Horseshoe Contest

Rick Brisco warming up before the Horseshoe Contest

Sunday morning began with another Lions Chuck Wagon breakfast. Then activities continued with a lap-a-thon at the Raymond Berry Community Pool, and a car show and horseshoe tournament at the Pit River Casino. The craft show continued and there was a steady flow of people visiting Burney Reunites Center and viewing the art show. People’s Choice Awards for the art show were announced at 4 p.m. bringing the four day festive celebration to a conclusion.

Royalty at the art show with Nancy Bobo

Royalty at the art show with Nancy Bobo

Yet for some Burney residents another unexpected treat was still in store – in the local Safeway store to be more exact. Clint Eastwood was in town buying groceries. Eastwood owns a ranch nearby. He is much loved and respected by the people in Burney. When he comes to town, people generally respect his privacy and don’t want to bother him. But it’s always a thrill. On this occasion it was especially thrilling as he exited the store wishing everyone he passed a “Happy 4th of July!”

Indeed, it was a happy 4th of July in Burney.

Alex Colvin is co-owner of The Lace Gallery in Burney, California. He previously wrote for non-profit corporations in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Since returning to Burney, where he has deep family roots, Alex and his wife Linda have dedicated themselves to exploring and photographing the natural beauty of Northern California.

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Pit River Pow-Wow honors Native American Heritage

Sacred dancing in beautiful Burney

Sacred dancing in beautiful Burney

Article and photos by Alex Colvin 06/22/15 — Over two hundred and fifty tribal members representing      numerous Native American nations gathered in Burney on July 19th, 20th, and 21th to celebrate the 8th Annual Pit River Pow-Wow. The event was held on the grounds of the Pit River Casino surrounded by gorgeous ponderosa pines with a lovely view of Mt. Burney in the background.

Couples Dance

Couples Dance

The event was open to the public at no charge, so

hundreds of local area residents and visitors also attended. In addition to music and dancing, the program included introductions and talks by royalty, honored tribe members and past winners. The tribe also had a special ceremony honoring Native American veterans.

This year, for the first time, the Pit River Pow-Wow Committee prepared and served Pit River Indian Tacos. There were also several vendors selling Native American crafts, jewelry, and apparel.

About 100 dancers registered to participate and compete in the various dances. Dancers, singers, and

The Happy Dance

The Happy Dance

drummers came from as far away as South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Many California tribes were also represented by participants coming from Rowland Heights, Berkeley, Tule Lake, Oakland, and Fort Jones.

Joe Kanip, Northern Ute, was Head Man and Rena Horse, Pit River Tribe, was Head Woman. Myron Horse, Olglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, was the MC. The dancing began Friday evening from dusk till dark.

On Saturday, two groups drummed and sang as the dancers performed. The host drum was Lightning Creek from Lapwai, Idaho. The second group was an enthusiastic circle of junior Native American drummers named Sturgeon Bait, made up of young tribal members from Idaho, Montana, and Washington. One of the drummers from Lightning Creek said, “We want to thank the people of California and the Pit River Tribe for your hospitality. It is really beautiful here.”

Sturgeon Bait

Sturgeon Bait

After an afternoon featuring a variety of styles of dancing by children and adults, the Pit River Tribal Council provided a delicious complimentary barbecue for all who attended. Afterwards, the dancing resumed in the evening.

The Grand Entry

The Grand Entry

On Sunday, activities began with the Grand Entry. JR Fox, Dakota Sioux from Bismarck, North Dakota brought forward the eagle staff followed by a procession. This was followed by an invocation. Then there was an intertribal dance. Current royalty was introduced. A delightful performance was given by some of the youngest dancers, whom the MC introduced as the “tiny tots.”

A new princess from Klamath Falls dances with the tiny tots

The afternoon continued with competitions by dancers of various age groups demonstrating different styles. After the competitions were concluded, the eagle staff exited the grounds, concluding the pow-wow. Winners of the competitions were announced, prizes were awarded, and there was transfer of royalty from last year’s royalty to this year’s.

A new princess from Klamath Falls dances with the tiny tots

A new princess from Klamath Falls dances with the tiny tots

After the pow-wow concluded and most of the participants had left, MC Myron Horse shared this reflection, “This was a wonderful pow-wow. I hope the Pit River Pow-Wow continues. I want people to say something good to one another and to say encouraging things as we move forward on the pow-wow trail.”

Pictures posted with permission of the Pit River Tribe of Burney, California

Alex Colvin is co-owner of The Lace Gallery in Burney, California. He previously wrote for non-profit corporations in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Since returning to Burney, where he has deep family roots, Alex and his wife Linda have dedicated themselves to exploring and photographing the natural beauty of Northern California.

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