Arizona Folklore Preserve
With Dolan Ellis
We spent the afternoon at the Arizona Folklore Preserve located south of Sierra Vista, Arizona. The center has evolved from dream to reality for singer/songwriter/entertainer Dolan Ellis. An original member of the New Christy Minstrels in the 1960s, Ellis has served as Arizona’s Official State Balladeer since 1966. He’s written more than 300 songs focusing on the history, culture and nature of his adopted state. Joining with the University of Arizona South, Ellis and a dedicated cast of volunteers have established the Preserve for performances of music and Arizona folklore – fact and fiction. Originally Ellis performed nearly every weekend, currently he is scheduled once a month with guest artists from around the country the remaining weekends.
Our trip was planned around attending a Sunday afternoon Ellis show, and, we were not disappointed. Today’s theme was Songs of Spring and included the debut of a new song, Casa Grande. We’re amazed at his strong voice and energetic performance for a man who celebrated his 79th birthday this week. It was a privilege to once again see and hear this Arizona treasure who has been named the first Arizona Culture Keeper.
Situated in Ramsey Canyon the Arizona Folklore Preserve grounds are lush with spring greenery. After the show we relaxed on the deck which is built around a sprawling Arizona Sycamore estimated at more than 200 years old.