Arizona Senior Academy members and friends were saddened to learn of the passing of Michael J. Ronstadt this past August, just shy of his 63rd birthday. Always a popular performer at the ASA, together with sons Michael G. and Petie and their bandmates, his original songs and arrangements captured the spirit of the Ronstadt family’s history in the American Southwest and Mexico. He harmonized with sister Linda on some of her biggest hits and appeared on several of her albums, most notably Canciones de mi Padre.
Ronstadt Generations, the family band he formed with Michael G and Petie, who were songwriters and multi-instrumentalists in their own right, entertained us with traditional Southwestern and Mexican songs along with innovative original material, stretching the boundaries of folk, blues, world music and jazz. Their expanded band, Ronstadt Generations y los Tucsonenses (RGYLT), added Alex Flores on tenor sax and vocals, Sam Eagon on bass, and Aaron Emery on drums.
RGLYT continues the Ronstadt legacy and will perform at the Arizona Senior Academy on Tuesday (Dec. 6) at 11:30 a.m. in a show paying tribute to “Papa Mike,” and featuring songs that paint vivid canvases of life, history, love, joy and hardship. “The Mill of Oracle” elicits tears, while “Wagon Mound” transports listeners back to the Santa Fe Trail in the 1800s. Sadness is felt in “Heartbreak” and “Feel the Wind,” and the Civil War comes alive in “Off to Battle.” “Mary” is an exquisite lullaby for children of all ages.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer