California Missions Conference


The 37th edition of the Annual California Missions and Presidios Conference presented by California Missions Foundation will be held February 14-16, 2020 in Monterey and Carmel. Monterey is the second permanent Spanish settlement in Alta California, and its first capital. Gaspar de Portolá arrived here in 1770 after the first mission was established at San Diego.

The theme for the upcoming Conference will be Monterey: Alta California's First Capital.

2020 will be the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey.

The CMF Annual Conference will kick off on Friday, February 14, with the 2nd Annual Missions and Presidios Docent Gathering, Networking and Workshop. After lunch at the Mission, all Conference attendees will enjoy an exclusive tour at Mission Carmel from 1:30 pm-3 pm.

That Friday evening, CMF’s Annual Meeting will be held at Monterey's historic Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo. The evening will include a special Keynote and Musical performance by Dr. Craig Russell, accompanied by Canzona Women's Ensemble from San Luis Obispo. They will perform The 4 Junipero Serra Communion Hymns.

Saturday, February 15, CMF will host its Annual Conference paper sessions.

That Saturday evening, the Annual CMF Awards Banquet will be held at the historic Casa Munras in downtown Monterey.

Sunday Morning, an optional walking tour will be offered of the historic district of Monterey.


Weekend Schedule


9:00-12:00 Annual Missions and Presidios Docent Gathering and Networking CRESPI HALL - MISSION CARMEL

12:00-1:30 CMF Hosted Lunch CRESPI HALL - MISSION CARMEL

1:30-3:00 Tour for Conference Attendees - MISSION CARMEL

6:00-8:00 Special 250th Commemoration Concert - Recital by Dr. Craig Russell accompanied by Canzona Women's Ensemble performing Hymns, Processions, Masses, and Dances: A Celebration of Monterey on the Occasion of its 250th Birthday - CATHEDRAL OF SAN CARLOS BORROMEO, MONTEREY ROYAL PRESIDIO




6:00-7:00 CMF Annual Award Banquet Social Hour - CASA MUNRAS

7:00-9:00 CMF Annual Banquet and Award Ceremony - CASA MUNRAS


10:00-12:00 Walking Tour of Historic Monterey - CASA MUNRAS LOBBY


Conference Keynote

Hymns, Processions, Masses, and Dances: A Celebration of Monterey on the Occasion of its 250th Birthday
A lecture-recital by Dr. Craig H. Russell and Grace Seng, Emily Lanzone, Barbara Spencer, Kathryn Summersett, and Jessica George

In commemoration of the founding of Monterey on 3 June 1770 and the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi just a few days later, Professor Craig Russell (and the professional musicians he has assembled) will explain and perform much of the same music heard at this auspicious occasion.  They will delve into the communion hymns for Corpus Christi that were presented in the quadrangle that Serra had arranged outside, with the four communion tables defining the square’s corners.  The exquisitely lovely “¡O qué suave!” and “¡O Rey de corazones!” were most likely two of these hymns, and their lilting melodies, varied surface rhythms, clear phrase structure, and jaunty dotted rhythms are astonishingly “modern”—almost Mozartian!—demonstrating that the Franciscans had brought the most up-to-date stylistic trends to California’s shores.  Prof. Russell and ensemble also will delve into the sequences from Corpus Christi and Pentecost that Serra brought with him to Monterey.  They were catchy, repetitive, and memorable—the perfect music to entice new listeners to follow the friars in their evangelizing zeal.

Also, Professor Russell and ensemble will explore the music of Juan Bautista Sancho, arguably the most sophisticated musician in North America in the early nineteenth century.  After leaving his directorship of music at the Convent de Sant Francesc in Palma de Mallorca, he journeyed to the New World to adopt his new life as a missionary.  By using manuscripts at Stanford, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and San Fernando, Prof. Russell has reconstructed a performable edition of Sancho’s gorgeous Misa en sol for two sopranos and instrumental ensemble.  Vocalists Kathryn Summersett and Jessica George will sing the florid and virtuosic vocal lines, while violinists Grace Seng and Emily Lanzone, cellist Barbara Spencer, and baroque guitarist Craig Russell supply the instrumental accompaniment.  As a worthy complement to the Sancho mass movements, the musicians will present various aria-like sections from Ignacio Jerusalem’s mass settings found in the Santa Barbara and San Fernando missions: whereas Sancho almost could be mistaken for Schubert at times, Jerusalem is our equivalent of a Joseph Haydn.  In truth, California (even in its earliest years) had a vibrant musical culture that in some ways approached the beauty, sophistication, and technical virtuosity of Mother Spain and other European centers. Craig and company hope to bring that beauty to life.

And no exploration of Monterey and Alta California in 1770 would be complete without a musical excursion or two into the secular repertoire.  Using the manuscripts of Santiago de Murcia, Sebastian de Aguirre, Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz, and others, the ensemble will play a few top-40 hits that our founding-Franciscan brethren would have known by heart.  Craig will play the spunky marionas, and the strings will play a fandango—the most well-known genre of the Mission Period.


Speaker Schedule

With the 2020 CMF Conference theme, "Monterey: California's First Capital," the CMF Papers Committee has put together a solid list of presenters for the Saturday Paper Sessions scheduled for Cal State University, Monterey Bay. Beginning at 8:30 and ending at 4 pm, a series of speakers will present their recent research on a variety of topics from Monterey history to so much more.

Download Speaker Schedule


Jennifer Colby
Guadalupe at the Presidio Chapel: California’s first stone building and oldest non-indigenous sculpture

Elisabeth Rareshide
Remembering the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island: Addressing Conflicting Narratives in the Museum Exhibit at Mission Santa Barbara

Ruben Mendoza
The Legacy and Master Works of a California Missions Master Craftsmen and Papal Knight

Martha McGettigan
Son of Monterey – General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo


Jennifer Lucido
Drip, Drip, Drought: Climate Patterns at the Presidio & Mission of San Carlos de Monterey, 1770-1790

Damian Bacich
Jesuits and Land Struggles at Mission Santa Clara

Alan Kemp
Maritime Accounts of Our Lady of Bethlehem

Russell K. Skowronek with Richard E. Johnson and Brandi Reidy
Cobre Sagrado - Sacred Copper on the Alta California Frontier

11:45 – 1:00 LUNCH

CMF Annual Membership Meeting

Baile de Californio Performance

Paul G. Chace
Jose Ortega’s Gallant Career, the Bold Lead-Scout to Monterey

William Whobrey
Scotism and Lullism: Two Medieval Schools of Thought in New Spain


Skyler Reidy
How should scholars think about accounts of a levitating cross at Monterey?

Victoria Assad
Harvesting the Sea: A Site-Specific Study of Shellfish Exploitation in the Monterey Bay

Alijandra Mogilner
Alta California’s First European Child

Jewel Gentry
The Path Forward Through the Narrow Mission Gate: Mission Parishes of the Diocese of Monterey - Preservation, Relations, and Community Experiences



CMF Plans Second All Docent Workshop

In an effort to provide a valuable networking and learning opportunity, CMF is presenting its second Missions and Presidios Docent Workshop at Mission Carmel on Friday, February 14, 2020. The gathering will run from 9 am to 12 noon and will include several speakers, discussions, questions and answers, networking and more. If you are a docent at any of California's historic sites, this annual gathering is valuable and worth attending. Feedback was extremely favorable after last year's first meeting at Mission San Diego. Please call CMF office at 805.963.1633 for additional information.

Thank you to our Docent Committee for coming together from various historic sites to coordinate an educational workshop that is presented by docents for docents.

Wendy Eales
Head Docent of Carmel Mission

Hank Prager
President of SLO Docents

Donna Friess
Docent of San Juan Capistrano

Alan Kemp
CMF Board Member


2020 CMF Awards Announced

The CMF Awards Committee has selected the 2020 recipients for prestigious awards to be handed out at the 2020 Conference Awards Banquet on Saturday, February 15 at Casa Munras in Monterey. The CMF awards recognize individuals and organizations that have played a significant role in Missions and Presidios related organizations, CMF as a whole, and missions and presidios studies, research and service.

Alan S. Kemp - Norman Neuerburg Award

Brian Kelley - Norman Neuerburg Award (2018)

Mary Susa - Edna Kimbro Award

Mary Wood - CMF Chairman's Award

Joan Steele - CMF Chairman's Award

Carmel Mission Docents - CMF Chairman's Award

Dr. Knox Mellon - Lifetime Achievement Award


Suggested Conference Hotels

CMF has selected Casa Munras as the host hotel for the upcoming 2020 CMF Missions and Presidios Conference. As the host hotel, Casa Munras will host the popular Saturday evening Awards Banquet. Due to Monterey being a popular Valentine's Day weekend destination, room prices in Monterey and Carmel are higher than other cities, but CMF has been able to put together a comprehensive list of hotel options for a variety of budgets. If even more economical options are desired, Salinas is just a short drive from the Conference locations.

If booking at Casa Munras, please let reservations know that you are under the CMF room block. Discounted space is limited.

Please note that rates are subject to change at anytime without notice. Please call the hotel directly to book your room.

Casa Munras
220.00 a Night
700 Munras ave, Monterey, CA

Inn by the Bay
$199.00 a Night
936 Munras ave, Monterey, CA

$178.00 a Night
831- 649-1414
1386 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

Arbor Inn
$165.00 a Night
1058 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

The Discovery Inn
$161.68 a Night
1106 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA

Hyatt Regency
$154.00 a Night
1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey

Presidents Inn
$155.00 a Night
1150 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

Stargazer Inn
154.00 a Night
831- 373-1337
1046 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

The Inn at 1252
$149.00 a Night
1252 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

Merritt House Inn
$144.00 a Night
386 Pacific St, Monterey, CA

Pelican Inn
$131.00 a Night
1182 Cass St, Monterey, CA

Red Lion Hotel
$129.00 a Night
1425 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

Knights Inn
$124.00 a Night
831- 373-3252
1374 Munras Ave, Monterey, CA

The Stevenson
$100.00 a Night
675 Munras Ave,Monterey, CA

Travelodge Wyndham
$79.00 a Night
2030 N Fremont St, Monterey, CA


Banquet Menu at Casa Munras



Annual California Missions Conferences

2020 **Monterey**
2019 San Diego de Alcalá
2018 Mission Santa Clara
2017 Santa Inés
2016 San Juan Bautista
2015 San Buenaventura
2014 San Antonio de Padua
2013 El Presidio de Santa Bárbara and
Old Mission Santa Barbara
2012 San Rafael Arcángel
2011 San Miguel Arcángel
2010 San Luis Rey de Francia
2009 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmel
2008 Tucson, Arizona
2007 San Francisco de Asís
2006 San Diego de Alcalá
2005 San Fernando Rey de España
2004 San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
2003 Santa Cruz
2002 La Paz, Baja California Sur
2001 Royal Presidio Chapel, Monterey
2000 San Gabriel Arcángel
1999 Santa Inés Virgen y Mártir
1998 San Juan Capistrano
1997 Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó
(Baja California Sur)
1996 San Francisco de Asís
1995 San Francisco Solano
1994 San Diego de Alcalá
1993 San Antonio de Padua and San Miguel Arcángel
1992 San Luis Rey de Francia
1991 La Purísima Concepción
1990 The Presidio of Santa Barbara and
Mission Santa Barbara
1989 San Juan Bautista
1988 San Fernando Rey de España
1987 Santa Clara de Asís
1986 San Buenaventura
1985 San José
1984 San Juan Capistrano