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Photos: Tucson Music Hall named for Linda Ronstadt

TCC venue will commemorate celebrated singer & 'daughter of Tucson'

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Linda Ronstadt during a ceremony naming the Tucson Music Hall in her honor. - Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

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The Tucson Music Hall will now carry the name of famed singer and Tucson native Linda Rondstadt as she was honored by Mayor Regina Romero just before the Tucson International Mariachi Conference Saturday evening.

Earlier this week, the Mayor and City Council voted to commemorate Ronstadt by renaming the hall in honor of "the daughter of Tucson."

During the event, Romero said that Ronstadt's name belongs on the music hall and linked the change to the original construction of the Tucson Convention Center. During a bout of "urban renewal," the TCC was built on the razed remains of 'la calle,' a largely Latino neighborhood, she noted. "Being able to rename the Tucson Music Hall is my way of saying there is history here and we have to add the names of Mexican American families and Mexican American people into a space that experienced horrific trauma, gentrification, and the displacement of Mexican, O’odham, Yaqui and other families."

"This is perhaps why the music of Mariachi se escucha con tanto sentimiento aquí," Romero said, or "is heard and echoes with so much feeling in this block."

"Because as the past was being erased, our music reminded us that this is where we belong," Romero said. "And this is where your name belongs, Linda."

Ronstadt's widely acclaimed album "Canciones de Mi Padre" not only won awards, but also gave people in Tucson "permission" to "reclaim our language," Romero said. "So many of our parents and grandparents were not allowed to speak Spanish in our schools. With each violin note and each strum of the Guitarra, your interpretations healed us of historical hurt."

"These songs were carried from Mexico and across the desert. Into our homes, into our schools. They are an account of our resilience, of our joy, of our melancholy," Romero said. "Thank you for helping us celebrate, helping us heal, and helping us connect with our past so that we can forge a more authentic future."

"Finally. I want to thank you, Linda, for being here tonight," said Romero. "I want thank you and the Ronstadt family for honoring Tucson with your presence and gracing the world with the gift of your music. "

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Unsteady on her feet, and quiet because of progressive supranuclear palsy—a degenerative disease that compromises walking, speech and causes blurred vision—Ronstadt thanked her family for keeping music alive in Tucson while she was "touring around with a rock band." A reference to her time with the the Stone Poneys.

Toward the end of the ceremony, Giselle Aubrey, a senior with Mariachi Aztlán de Pueblo High School serenaded Ronstadt with “Blue Bayou,” a Roy Orbison song that became a signature performance for Ronstadt when she scored a Top 5 hit with it in 1977.

As the singer belted out the lyrics, Ronstadt mouthed the words and smiled.

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