Friday, August 7, 2009

Native Sons of Golden West honor The Granada


August 7, 2009 7:25 AM

The Granada was honored on Thursday with a plaque from the Native Sons of the Golden West.

The dedication ceremony featured the group's grand president and a junior past grand president, along with the first, second and third vice presidents of the Native Sons.

Granada Executive Director Peter Frisch began the ceremony by expressing his gratitude to the organization, which is made up of men who were born in California and whose mission it is to preserve the state's history.

"I greatly appreciate this honor bestowed on us by the Native Sons," he said. "I think we have, by all accounts, a wonderful facility."

Mr. Frisch went on to call the Granada, which recently underwent a dramatic renovation and reopened in March, 2008, "a balance of historical details ... and new things."

"We have a wonderful performing arts facility," he said. "Contemporary production demands what we did."

Mr. Frisch spoke proudly of The Granada and its renovation, saying "some of it's science, and some of it's luck."

"Seal ... came here and said it was his favorite place to play," he said.

Santa Barbara City Councilman Roger Horton then spoke, saying all Santa Barbarans are to receive credit for the renovation of the historic building.

"The city couldn't have done it by ourselves if we wanted to," he said, calling The Granada a "wonderful, restored, quality theatre."

NSGW Grand President Eugene Perry then took over, leading the dedication ceremony.

"This is truly a thing I've never seen before," he said, "and I think it's going to be great."

The ceremony consisted of the grand president addressing each of the vice presidents, from first to third, before they spoke respectively about symbolic sand and gravel, cement and water.

First Vice President Jim Shadle recited a response about the sand and gravel symbolizing California's natural resources, Second Vice President Dave Allen recited that cement symbolizes the efforts of man and Third Vice President Allan Baird recited that water represents the necessity of both natural resources and man's effort to be "mingled with the lessons of the past."

With this statement, the three vice presidents mixed a small amount of each of the elements on a small tray in front of the attendees.

"The present is ours," said Mr. Perry. "but the present will soon be in the past."

He declared The Granada dedicated, and NSGW Junior Past Grand President Richard Kimball said a closing prayer before the plaque was revealed and read by the grand president.

The plaque consists of five paragraphs, and across the top reads, "The Granada: A Glorious Tradition."

"On April 8, 1924, a dazzling new venue opened in beautiful Santa Barbara, the Granada Theatre," says the plaque's first paragraph.

It goes on to chart the venue's renovation in 2008, its sturdiness in the face of a "devastating" 1925 earthquake and the plethora of productions and performers to which it has played host in the decades since its construction.

It concludes, "The Granada is truly where art and history converge. May she continue to light up State Street for the next 100 years and beyond."

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