■ Chronicle News Service
On April 28, a cast party was held at Golden Era Productions to honor the 95th season of “Ramona.”
The San Jacinto Valley has a rich history, which is kept alive through the Ramona Pageant, and its dedicated volunteers and cast. There are over 600 volunteers from the community. Through their hard work and dedication, these volunteers are continuing the historical legacy of “Ramona,” and make the Ramona Pageant possible.
The cast party was held in the historic Massacre Canyon Inn (commonly known as MCI), which was built in 1962 as part of the old Gilman Springs Resort. Golden Era Productions has been hosting the party now for over 19 years. The cast enjoyed dancing to the music of the Golden Era Musicians throughout the evening, as well as, surprise karaoke performances by some the cast and invited guests. The Golden Era kitchen staff prepared a meal in the “Ramona” theme and it received raves from the cast.
At every cast party, it has become a tradition to acknowledge a Ramona Pageant cast or crew member for their outstanding dedication. This year, a special proclamation was presented to long-time Hemet resident and business owner, Al Cordova.
Cordova, who has been with Ramona for 49 years, is tremendously passionate about everything he does at the Ramona Bowl. From overall Bowl supervision, landscaping and caring for the trails, to looking after the public, Cordova is the “go-to” guy who makes sure every service facility is there and in proper working order.
His love of the Bowl began when he was a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts, who volunteered at the Pageant. From there, it was a short step up to the role of Bowl supervisor, and soon thereafter, he was invited onto the Ramona Bowl Board of Directors. For the past two years, he has been the Bowl’s official general manager—but the “unofficial” general manager for much longer than that!
Rain or shine, 12 months a year, one can always find Cordova at the Bowl taking care of it. He is always thinking ahead to personally guarantee it will be ready for “Ramona” and all the events held at the bowl, including the summer concerts.
Cordova has always been involved in the community, contributing his time and effort to helping people. He was a Boy Scout leader for over 25 years. Cordova is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and is very involved with his church at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Cordova and his wife, Irene, raised three children, who have provided them with beautiful grandchildren. Their twin sons, Richard and Raymond, are with Cal Fire. Their daughter, Emily, is a beautician.
Mark your calendar for next year to see the Ramona Pageant and experience early California history come to life.