Below are some music-related excerpts
from the expedition diaries written by Father Pedro Font.
The full diaries are available online at the University
of Oregon Web de Anza Archives.
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
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
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
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