Cañon City has a strong link to music, which is especially noticeable in the Music and Blossom Festival held the beginning of May each year. But there is a connection to Mexico through music many people may not know! Cañon City is a sister city to Ciudad Serdán, in the Mexican state of Puebla. According to Sister Cities International a sister city relationship “is a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries. A relationship is officially recognized after the highest elected or appointed official from both communities sign off on an agreement to become sister cities.”
This sister city relationship was very music-focused with the bands from the two cities visiting each other a few times during 1988. The sister city agreement actually began in the summer of 1987, when 12 Cañon City high school students went to Mexico as part of an exchange program. The week long program was a chance for students to practice their Spanish and experience the culture. The trip appeared to be a success leading to more visits between the two cities.
The band from Centro Escolar – Presidente Francisco I. Madero, consisting of 73 students, came to Cañon City in May 1988 to participate in the Blossom and Music Festival. During the Blossom Parade on Sunday, the boys played drums and brass instruments while the girls danced and played tambourines. The band director, Gonzalo Morales Y Vallejo, explained the band was more like a traditional military drum and bugle band. By June, the Cañon City Band was already at work raising donations for their own trip to Ciudad Serdán to play in the festivities celebrating the commencement of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. One of the fund-raising activities was an “Adopt an Instrument” drive with a variety of donations levels to sponsor the travel fees for an instrument, along with their student, to go to Mexico. The students were successful in their fundraising and had the opportunity to march in the Mexican Revolution celebration parade in Ciudad Serdán in November of 1988.
Sister cities are a wonderful chance to share cultures and businesses as well as to foster community involvement between both cities. Cañon City is lucky to have three sister cities through which to share this connection, the last of which will be explored in a later article!
The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.