Scottsdale Sister Cities Association pulled off a significant cultural success in its relationship with Alamos over the past seven years. The focus of the relationship between Scottsdale and Alamos has been to enhance the people to people relationships and create better mutual understandings. One means for achieving this is through cultural exchanges, especially, music exchanges.
In March 2023, a significant milestone was confirmed in Alamos after the seven years of focused effort by Scottsdale Sister Cities Assn. Eight years ago, very little Jazz was played or enjoyed in Alamos. Music in the city was popular, especially the FAOT with mostly classical music and the Estudiantia. Jazz was not. The origin of SSCA success was the decision in 2016 at a meeting in Alamos of Scottsdale Sister Cities officials, Alamos Mayor Omar Salas, and William “Doc” Jones that SSCA organize the first Alamos Jazz Festival in March 2017. During that visit Doc Jones conducted a Jazz music lesson at the Casa De La Cultura. The First Alamos Jazz Festivals was held in 2017. Opening the event were Mayor Salas, Scottsdale Mayor Lane and the US Consul General from Hermosillo. Financial sponsors were the local mine, the US Consulate in Hermosillo and Max Rumbaugh. No SSCA funds were used. There were small crowds. It was the beginning. After each official performance, an informal Jazz session was held in local hotels.
The Festival was continued in 2018, 2019 and 2020. No direct financial support of SSCA was used. Then the pandemic hit. Alamos continued with a virtual festival in 2021. SSCA participation in the 2022 festival was again cancelled, at the last minute, to insure everyone’s health. In spite of the quiet period, Jazz had begun to take hold in the city. The Charisma Restaurant and Bar initiated jazz performances on selected evenings. Significantly, Terry Arnold, transformed her Terrisita Restaurant with major construction modifications to create a Jazz café, name La Bleu. Both are now dedicated to providing ongoing Jazz in Alamos. At the return of SSCA and Doc Jones for the 2023 Jazz Festival, it was discovered that Scottsdale Sister Cities had created a significant cultural success in Alamos. America’s original form of music was now ongoing in Alamos.
The 2023 audiences at all four performances (two in the Palacio, one in the Blu Jazz Café and one in Charisma) included both Mexican and ExPat residents and visitors. The usual New Orleans style parade was held in the Plaza and Doc again conducted a Jazz music lesson for young people at the Casa de la Cultura, Prior to the lesson, Mayor Balderrama unveiled a plaque honoring SSCA work done by Fran and Jose Burruel in Alamos. Doc also provided a Jazz lesson for 50 high school students at COBACH. When asked, citizens and residents confirmed, that “Jazz is the Thing” in Alamos now. This all happened due to the continued efforts of SSCA, the Alamos Committee and Doc Jones.
The committee and Doc are committed to continue to keep Jazz a “thing” in Alamos. The Alamos Committee thanks the Board for its financial support in 2023. And with the support of the SSCA Board, success will continue.
Foot Note: The origin of Jazz in Alamos, was due to Jim Swickard, Owner of the Hacienda De Los Santos. He and Doc Jones met at an Arizona-Mexico Commission meeting in Scottsdale in 2015/2016. He introduced Doc to Max Rumbaugh. At Max’s invitation, Doc attended the next Commission meeting in Hermosillo. After the Commission meetings, Doc wondered off to a café across the street to enjoy the Mexican music. Doc was impressed with the talent he heard there. He decided, to assist SSCA bring Jazz to Alamos.
It was in 2020 that Alamos FAOT participant Luis Castillo and his accompanist performed at the ASU Kerr Center in Scottsdale, to create cross border musical exchanges.