Introducing new CMC staff: Ken Ingraham and Michelle Lee

Welcoming Ken Ingraham, Grant Writer

Ken started working at CMC in the middle of February. He’s no stranger to the world of development. Some of his more recent career highlights include the Institutional Giving Manager at the Museum of the African Diaspora (2011-2013) and the Director of Development at the Oakland Symphony (1999-2009).

What do you think of the environment and atmosphere of working at CMC so far?

I find the environment of working at CMC to be very stimulating. You’re surrounded by what the organization is all about: hearing music, rehearsals, lessons. Often times when you work for an organization, you can be little separated from seeing the mission in action, by virtue of being in a different building. You don’t see who you’re serving. At CMC, you’re surrounded by the mission all the time. I find it very stimulated.

You have quite an extensive background in Development. What’s one career highlight that really sticks out for you?

Working with Michael Morgan the Music Director at the Oakland Symphony was invigorating. Michael Morgan is a visionary in the true sense of the word. When I worked there, he was always coming up with great and interesting projects, one after the other. One project, the American Masterworks series, explored great symphonic works from the American musical theater tradition. One show I remember from this series, Porgy and Bess, incorporated panel discussions on the cultural commentaries and ramifications of the musical. The American Masterworks series embodies social and political commentary on the times, as well as highlighting the music. Michael Morgan sees the orchestra as a vibrant and organic part of the community rather than a relic of symphonic tradition. Quite inspiring.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I continue to write through taking classes in the UC Berkeley Extension Program. I’m starting a nonprofit called the Truth and Reconciliation Project. The purpose is to bring people together, focus on race relations, create dialogue, and root out systemic racism in America. I’m organizing workshops where people read books related to race relation and discuss the content with facilitation help to explore these conversations. I also love to travel. I am hoping to go to on a cruise from San Francisco to Sydney.

Are you a music lover?

When I went to Harvard, I started a music group Kuumba Singers to promote the African-American choral tradition. I sang baritone. I’m thinking of getting involved in choral group in the East Bay.



Meet Michelle Lee, Marketing Assistant

Michelle started as the Marketing Assistant on February 21. She has been churning out fliers and programs for faculty performances and events. She has also taken over the volunteer recruitment and been helping with event promotion.

What brought you to working in the arts and to CMC?

The idea of community music is very important to me. The communities I form as a music-maker are some of the most meaningful ones in my life to me. Growing up, I was able to study music through scholarships. So the aspect of music access at CMC is particularly meaningful to me.

I also do admin and development work for other groups, the Sacred and Profane Chamber Chorus and for some independent artists.

Any other interests or hobbies you’d care to share?

I like to cook. I like to hang out in the park and people watch. I also enjoy hanging out with my cats, Peanut Butter and Jelly Fish.

Are you a musician?

I’m a flautist. I have a degree in Performance from Mills. I focus on contemporary chamber music. I play with chamber groups and like incorporating different styles of notation, extended techniques, and multi-media.

CMC piano student Rebecca Portnoy performs at Carnegie Hall

“Playing at Carnegie Hall was a once in a lifetime experience that I really enjoyed. Although I was really nervous before the recital, after performing my piece, I felt a great rush of relief. Everyone performing there supported each other and I got to make some new friends from other countries.” Rebecca Portnoy



Rebecca Portnoy, piano student of Juliet McComas, has reached a milestone few musical performers reach. She performed at Carnegie Hall, by the age of thirteen no less!

In December 2017, Rebecca auditioned to be part of the Elite International Music Competition for 6-21 year-olds. The auditions were open to students from all over the world including Russia, Canada, Ukraine, China and South Korea. Rebecca’s teacher Juliet helped create a video of Rebecca playing Chopin’s Waltz in Em for her submission. She received second place in the audition.

“I had entered the competition for fun,” said Rebecca. “I never expected to get second place. It was very exciting and nerve-racking.”

It was nerve-racking because all first and second place winners in the audition got to perform in at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Feb 5, 2018.

“I felt happy, but very nervous,” Rebecca shared about finding out she was going to play at Carnegie Hall.

At the beginning of February, Rebecca, along with her mother and Juliet flew to New York. When she first walked into Carnegie Hall, she was amazed.

“It was a really beautiful recital hall, and it felt good to play in a place where so many great musicians performed music.”

Understandably, Rebecca was very nervous about the imminent moment of performing in the hall. Luckily, her musical training supported her through the experience.

“When I sat down at the piano on stage, I relaxed a little. My performance went well. I didn’t make any mistakes,” Rebecca reflected.

In thinking about what this moment will mean to her throughout her life, Rebecca shared, “I never expected this moment. I was happy to take the chance and to do it. It’s an experience, I’ll never forget.”

Spring Gala features delectable menu

Community Music Center’s Spring Gala promises to be an unforgettable evening in support of CMC’s mission of music for everyone. The evening program features honoree Frederica von Stade and a special performance by renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and operatic composer Jake Heggie. The evening also includes performances by CMC faculty, Children’s Chorus, Older Adult Choirs, and the Teen Jazz Orchestra.

Not to be overlooked during the evening program will be the scrumptious three-course dinner served by the Four Seasons. The menu includes delectable dishes featuring crowd-pleasing tastes and flavors.


Melon & Tomato Panzanella
Charred Cucumber, Fresh Burrata, Basil & Parmesan Crostini


By guest choice

Herb Roasted Chicken Breast
Sweet Potato Puree, Chargrilled Sweet Peppers, Green Onions, Pink Pepper Jus

Grilled Asparagus, Oven Dried Tomato Risotto, Orange Saffron Sauce

Eggplant Parmesan
Tomato, Basil, Smoked Mozzarella, Herb Salad


Served alternating at the table

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake
Passion Fruit Caramel Sauce

Lemon Meringue Tart
Raspberry Coulis


Gala attendees will leave the event feeling gratified by the delicious meal, the world-class entertainment, and the community spirit of the evening.

For more information and tickets, please go to the ticketing website.

Drama of the emotions at this year’s Keyboard Marathon

By Suzanne Korey, Keyboard Marathon Event Producer and piano student of Lauren Cony


This April the Community Music Center is preparing to host the 15th Annual Keyboard Marathon Concert, Sunday, April 22 at 3pm. As keyboard performers, we are thrilled that this yearly event has been sustained for 15 years through the interest of the community, the active engagement of the performers, and a keen appreciation in learning about and hearing the wide range of keyboard compositions that are chosen for each year’s event.

Our theme this year is Joy and Sorrow, reflecting both the quandary we find ourselves in the world at this time, as well as the wide range of emotions that music evokes in the listener.

Performers have selected original compositions, solo pieces and duets, classical music, contemporary pieces, and old favorites. This year’s theme has brought out some of the most varied compositions that we’ve offered yet.

The Keyboard Marathon is a beloved CMC institution. It is one of the few opportunities we have to gather members of the keyboard faculty and listen to the richness of the music, the diversity of taste and styles, and the quality of performance. It is a special afternoon that brings friends and family together for music and celebration.

The Keyboard Marathon takes place in the CMC Recital Hall, at 544 Capp Street in San Francisco. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, with tickets available at the door. A champagne reception follows the performance – we are fortunate to have a courtyard and often beautiful weather, that allows us to take the reception outside and celebrate the day.

This year’s performers are faculty members Lauren Cony, John Kyrk, Juliet McComas, Jennifer Peringer, Lilia Zheltova, Paul Dab, Erik Ian Walker, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong Frentzel, Elektra Schmidt, Maestro Curtis, Jon Jang, Theodore Carson, Jacqueline Chew, Allison Lovejoy, Paula Dreyer, and guest artists Grace Huenemann, Esther Chan and Annie Nalezny.

Early childhood education at CMC, a faculty profile with Irene Chagall

For more information on all of CMC’s early childhood education offerings and faculty, visit the Youth Group Classes and Ensembles page.


Irene Chagall: Music for Children Instructor

“I give them (the students) each a piece of string.
I say, ‘We’re studying the string family. How do you make an instrument out of a piece of string?
Take this piece of string home and see what you can come up with.”

-Irene Chagall, Music for Children instructor

By Katy Fox, guest writer


CMC violin student Alycia Tam gives Irene’s class a demo

Thus begins the Winter Quarter for students in Irene Chagall’s Music For Children class at the Community Music Center. Over the following weeks, children ages 4-7 will gain direct understanding of how strings create vibration, build their own cuica (Brazilian friction drum), try-out and compare various string instruments. They will dance, they will laugh, and they will play a violin both pizzicato and with a bow. By the time a 12-year old CMC violin student visits their class to give them a demo, they will already know why she first takes out her rosin. And if the children are feeling shy, one of Irene’s puppets will lead the games and songs. By the end of the semester, a certain beloved skunk puppet will have received gifts from many adoring students.

Irene’s curriculum begins by encouraging children to imagine how natural sounds could have inspired the development of instruments. “Maybe it happened because the wind blew in the trees and people said ‘what’s that sound?’ That’s so much more basic than what we think of when we think of ‘symphony.’ It connects music to life experience, to awareness.” For the wind family, she will bring in a blade of grass. To introduce horns, Irene will pass around a seashell and a ram’s horn. If she has slightly older students, she will show off a donkey jaw, commonly used in Brazil.

“My point of departure is the same in all my classes: music as a design made of sound in time. I ‘read’ the group and find the material that they can connect with. If I have a more sophisticated group of children, I’ll do more with rhythm, reading and preparedness for what it takes to actually study an instrument. The teachers I’ve gotten to know at CMC say that the kids who have taken my class are great to have as students because they already have a foundation. That’s really wonderful!”

Irene inspires musical curiosity in her students.

Irene emphasizes a joyful ensemble, embodying musical vocabulary as a way of learning it, and breaking down complex concepts into digestible parts. Her primary influences are the Orff Approach and Dalcroze method. She was trained in the latter as a child and attributes this early exposure (“I wasn’t aware that I was learning music, but I was really learning music”) to her lifelong work as a self-described minstrel. In the Dalcroze method, children are taught that the body is their first instrument and are encouraged to interpret rhythm, melody and harmony through both specific and spontaneous movement. As a child, Irene remembers marching in quarter notes, jogging in eighth notes, running fast in sixteenth notes, taking huge steps to “get” whole notes.

The Orff Approach to teaching music is modeled on how we learn our native tongue. It’s focus on immersive, imaginative group learning is what Irene loves most. “To get a group of children laughing and moving their bodies and experimenting and finding their limits—that is what makes this work. It is universally human to respond to rhythm. We synchronize to each other.” (This concept is Irene’s soapbox. As a recent research associate at the Smithsonian, she wrote and co-directed Let’s Get the Rhythm, an acclaimed documentary on hand-clapping games from around the world.)

Irene Chagall has been teaching at CMC for 35 years. Though initially encouraged to pursue a career in the sciences, Irene’s gravitational pull has always been music and the arts. She pursued an independent study of classical guitar in Spain, traveled through Northern Africa and came back to the States to get a teaching degree. “The deal is that CMC felt like home from the beginning…it was a place where I could be myself and grow as well, and I have. The mission of the institute is just something I believe in. The beauty of CMC is that the classes are small enough that you can give individual attention, without making a child feel like they’re being singled out…Now too, with the new director, it’s rejuvenating. It’s warm and welcoming, it’s a sanctuary.”


Thank you to Katy Fox the guest writer for this article. The article is part of an interview and article series about early childhood education faculty at CMC.

Early childhood education at CMC, a faculty profile with Susan Peña

For more information on all of CMC’s early childhood education offerings and faculty, visit the Youth Group Classes and Ensembles page.

Susan Peña: CMC Chiquitos Instructor

By Katy Fox, guest writer

“Playing music together, that’s what people want to do.”

Susan Peña, CMC Chiquitos Instructor


When audiences watch La Familia Peña-Govea play music together, something Susan Peña, her husband and two daughters have done for over twenty years in the Bay Area, they often become overwhelmed with longing and excitement. “It’s something that we really would have taken for granted, except people kept saying ‘How did you get that? How can we get our kids to play with us like that?”

Susan’s passionate about making music an enriching part of her student’s lives—something that they’ll continue to do for fun, socially. At Community Music Center (CMC) Peña teaches the CMC Chiquitos class, a Spanish-English bilingual family music class for infants to three-year-olds. She also co-teaches a children’s violin class and a guitar class for older artists at CMC’s partner organization Mission Neighborhood Center (MNC), as well as at César Chávez Elementary School as part of of CMC’s partnership with SFUSD in the Mariachi music program.

As a (now retired) high-school Spanish teacher, Susan was introduced to a language acquisitions method called Total Physical Response Storytelling. Modeled on how infants pick up their native language, the method is based on immersion and play. Susan used folk songs and games of Latin America and Mexico to teach grammar and vocabulary. Now she uses the same method to expose small children to basic skills like hand-eye coordination and absorbing different rhythms. She feels this method creates a lasting relationship with music, in conjunction with acquiring a skill. “I know so many people who ‘took flute’ in school or ‘took trumpet’ only to put it down and never play it again.”

In the CMC Chiquitos class, which provides a “musical bonding experience” through group song and and musical play, Susan spends as much time making music as she can—not talking, not explaining. This immersive experience includes parents and caregivers. Imagine an hour of clapping, call and response, hand gestures and playing with instruments. “I think that the most important thing is modeling for the kids, that it’s something their parents love to do with them.”

Music and education have been conjoined in Susan’s work over the last thirty years. She has taught for Guitars in the Classroom, recorded a bilingual CD of children’s songs accompanied by a teacher’s manual, and shared music-making for all ages at multiple camp and festivals. She and her family are as well-known in the Bay Area for La Familia Peña-Govea’s performances as for their Latino cultural presentations, often at public libraries. Susan has been singing since she was a child and began collecting songs, mostly folk, when she was twelve. Such a rich career, and she didn’t even begin to teach professionally until after she ended a twenty year career as a lawyer.

Law was never a passion for Susan. But not wanting to follow in her parents footsteps—both were teachers—she held on to “a sense of rebellion” for many years. She had been volunteer teaching in her daughters’ classes at Buena Vista Alternative Elementary School (now Buena Vista/Horace Mann, K-8), a Spanish immersion school in the Mission, when she heard that a high school in Pacifica was looking for someone to teach Spanish. They were using a new method that combined song, stories and art. “It turned into [another] 20 year career that I really loved. And I found out it wasn’t just my parents who were teachers, but my dad’s entire family that I hadn’t really grown up with. I was like, ‘Ok, should’ve done this a long time ago!’

Having lived in the Mission, Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill for decades, Susan continues to be impressed with the support and outreach that CMC extends to the Mission community. She sites CMC’s partnership with the MNC, CMC’s Mariachi program with SFUSD, numerous musical collaboration opportunities, and the dedication of CMC’s administrative staff. Peña also appreciates the accessibility of CMC’s Young Musicians Program that provides youth an opportunity to play in ensembles and take lessons free of charge. “Now those kids are likely to have music in their lives forever…playing music together, that’s what people want to do.”

What is on offer in Susan’s CMC Chiquitos class—what is offered at CMC in general—is a way to enter into a life that cannot be imagined without music.

Thank you to Katy Fox the guest writer for this article. The article is part of an interview and article series about early childhood education faculty at CMC.

Early childhood education at CMC, a faculty profile with Diane Aurelius

For more information on all of CMC’s early childhood education offerings and faculty, visit the Youth Group Classes and Ensembles page.


Diane Aurelius: CMC Family Music and Music for Children Instructor

By Katy Fox, guest writer

“They (families) are brought together for music, but it’s really community that we’re going for.”
—Diane Aurelius Family Music and Music for Children Instructor


The Family Music class at CMC is described as “… a musical bonding experience and an introduction to singing, rhythmic activities, movement and musical play.” To illustrate the role that these activities play in child development and bonding, instructor Diane Aurelius describes an activity she uses in her classes. She’ll turn on a recording of Fur Elise, give each child a scarf and from there, the journey begins:

Diane: I give them the idea that there’s a ‘home’ in this piece of music and play with the concept that we are going on a journey. Coming back home means we come back to the theme. Then there’s the storm in the music—the tension—and then there’s the way back…So we frolic out, away from home on an adventure, into fields of flowers and butterflies, and then we end up in a place we don’t know that is scary and we have to find our way back home. In that reenactment the children feel this [specific] beginning/middle/end but also a very life-like, artistic process that they’re going to live a million times over.


Diane completed her 3-year Waldorf teacher certification in 2004 and has worked in Waldorf-inspired preschools since 2001. Diane joined the faculty of CMC in 2015. Of the many Waldorf principles that inform her teaching, she discussed the importance of melody and the Pentatonic Scale.

D: In terms of musical education, the notion of melody is where the children experience continuous flow and levity. With the young child, I feel that our culture emphasizes percussion—stomping and shaking and drumming and beating—which is great, but melody is also important in order for them to experience the dreamlike, imaginative, almost trance-like act of listening. They listen to melody and then they express it through their movement; it can elicit a completely different movement than with percussion.

Another Waldorf principle is the use of the Pentatonic scale for early childhood education. The young child’s ear is developing so it is appropriate to begin classes with this scale. It is important to use the best instruments we can afford, and use instruments that stay in perfect tune. I love my little glockenspiel which has a very subtle tone. Then the children’s ear gets used to hearing an A—really an A, not ‘kind of’ an A.


In November 2017, Diane wrote and was awarded a CMC partnership grant which funded the addition of five ukuleles to her Saturday class.

D: Being awarded this grant is great! I can now teach ukulele in my classes which adds to my curriculum and my work can benefit other teachers and students well beyond me, I love that.


What else supports you as a teacher?

D: Walking into the CMC and hearing the sound of everyone practicing: that’s a way of supporting my dream. To hear people really work on their music, I recognize something in that that makes me so happy…The more I play (music) the more I can hear it. Learning how to read music was like being given a key to a book— you unlock it, you open it, and it just keeps opening into new places. So continued learning supports me.


As a choreographer and dancer in the 90’s, Diane improvised with instruments and musicians for years. She began learning to read music during her Waldorf training—on a recorder. But it wasn’t until the age of 45, when she was given a saxophone, that she began music lessons with CMC instructor Bill Fiege. After that it seems instruments began collecting her: a beautiful mountain dulcimer, an accordion, a clarinet, “many, many” recorders, a guitar. Now she plays in the CMC Woodwind Ensemble and enjoys offering the odd street performance. But she’s always been a singer.

D: I feel that singing, as our first instrument, is the original bond to music. As a singer I literally try to make my voice warm and I imagine the child surrounded by warmth. I started singing in choirs when I was going to church with my mother…My mother loved to sing around the house—both she and my father have great voices. My father started collecting jazz albums when he was 12, so I grew up with jazz just in the background, a lot of 1950’s, 1940’s, even 1930’s music.

My own journey as a musician is also part of my Waldorf training. My journey is concurrent with their [the children’s] learning; I’m also struggling with practice, with my not wanting to push myself to learn a new mode or new scale—I understand their (students) struggles first-hand…As an adult I know the benefit of what it brings, so I get to pass that to them and be inspiring them all the time.


…Which brings us back to the Community Music Center.
D: In this (Family Music) ensemble class, my most heartwarming moments are after the class when these children go play with a new family, go check out the garden, go even make plan to have lunch, I just love that. They are brought together for music, but it’s really community that we’re going for.

When I see ‘Music For Everyone since 1921’ and I look at the photograph of Gertrude Field who started it all, I think ‘I’m in the right place.’ When I hear people playing, I think ‘I’m in the right place.’ When I see all the kids and all the adults, I think ‘we’re doing it!’ CMC is totally created out all of us who are striving to get better at our instruments, striving to get better as teachers, striving to get better in the world, to do something that is everlasting.


Thank you to Katy Fox the guest writer for this article. The article is an excerpt of a longer piece, and is part of an interview and article series about early childhood education faculty at CMC. The entire piece can be viewed here.

Partner spotlight: Jazz in the Neighborhood

CMC is proud to partner with Jazz in the Neighborhood to host Jazz in the Neighborhood Concerts.  We invite you to learn more about their great work!


Article by Jazz in the Neighborhood staff writer

Jazz in the Neighborhood has been making its presence known all across the Bay Area. It’s been part of Community Music Center’s neighborhood in the Mission since 2015. They have brought performances to CMC’s Concert Hall that include Jon Jang and Francis Wong, Montclair Women’s Big Band, the Alison Miller Trio, and TrumpetSuperGroup. Audiences have found that it’s a great place to enjoy top Bay Area jazz musicians in a comfortable, great-sounding environment, and at affordable prices.

Founded in 2013, Jazz in the Neighborhood is a nonprofit that works to improve the economics of jazz performance in the Bay Area by presenting affordable concerts, paying musicians a guaranteed wage, and supporting the work of established and aspiring jazz artists.

The idea was born when Mario Guarneri, a trumpet player at home in both the classical and jazz idioms, set up a casual gig in a bookstore near his home in Fairfax. Having played professionally for decades, Mario felt that putting out a tip jar seemed demeaning, so he paid the band out of his own pocket. Within a few years, he decided to expand the concept so that other jazz ensembles could be paid up front, too. Joined by Jon Herbst, who is a composer, audio engineer, and jazz pianist, they formed Jazz in the Neighborhood to support the profession of being a jazz musician. It works on the model of public radio, where members and other donors contribute to help fund the production of live jazz events that are affordable for audiences, but at the same time, pay musicians a fair wage.

Since its inception, Jazz in the Neighborhood has presented over 200 jazz concerts at neighborhood venues from Santa Rosa to San Jose. Many of these events have been free, and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. The work has been supported by grants from the Zellerbach Foundation, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and the Music Performance Trust Fund, as well as through generous donations by individuals and corporate sponsors. There are over 350 Jazz in the Neighborhood members. For information about becoming a member visit


Guaranteed Fair Wage Fund

The most recent Jazz in the Neighborhood initiative is its Guaranteed Fair Wage Fund, which has been created to encourage venues to pay musicians a minimum guaranteed amount, regardless of ticket sales. When event revenue doesn’t cover the cost of the guaranteed compensation, Jazz in the Neighborhood can step in to help make up the difference. The inaugural event took place last month at Bird & Beckett Books and Records. Said store-owner Eric Whittington, “The trick is to provide our musicians with good venues and appreciative, informed audiences so that being a professional jazz player in San Francisco is a viable way to make a living. The bookstore’s music series is our way way of offering support to the musicians, ensuring that the cultural legacy they safeguard isn’t squandered and lost.” The California Jazz Conservatory has joined as a participating venue, too.

The economics of paying musicians a decent wage can be daunting. Through fundraising, Jazz in the Neighborhood is working to make the Guaranteed Fair Wage Fund sustainable with the ultimate goal of raising standards for all musicians. With limited funds, however, the focus is on supporting groups in a way that emphasizes the diversity of jazz performance across the Bay Area. For more information about the program, visit


Emerging Artists Program

In addition to supporting professional musicians, Jazz in the Neighborhood works to build the bridge between classroom and stage by giving pre-professional musicians an opportunity to play with the pros. It’s called the Emerging Artists program, and since 2013, over 100 aspiring jazz students have taken part in the time-honored tradition of “learning on the bandstand.” Starting with the 2017-18 season, musicians are selected through an open competition process, and those working towards a dedicated career in jazz are encouraged to apply. In addition to coaching and performance experience, Emerging Artists receive on-going mentorship to help advance their careers. Serving as the Emerging Artist coordinator is trumpeter and educator Erik Jekabson.

Emerging Artists who have been selected for 2017/18 include William Berg, sax; Dante Billeci, sax; Isaac Coyle, bass; Shana Dinha, vocals; Tyler Harlow, bass; Justis Jones, vibes; Gio Mendez, sax; Dan Neville, vibes; Zack Shubert, piano; and Kate Williams, trumpet.


Jazz in the Neighborhood Concerts at CMC

As Jazz in the Neighborhood presents its concerts at Community Music Center, each musician will receive $150 up front regardless of ticket sales. Please come support the musicians and the organization and to hear some great music. There will be six concerts in the winter/spring series, all on Fridays at 8pm. For tickets, go to

Jan 19 — Ben Goldberg School
Feb 16 — Power of Five: Ian Faquini – Erika Oba – Dillon Vado
Mar 16 — Jeff Denson Quartet
Apr 20 — Montclair Women’s Big Band
May 18 — Edward Simon Trio
Jun 15 — Cabanijazz Project

For more information, email or leave a message at 415-737-JITN (5486)

Experience the joy, Older Adult Choirs concerts in December

If you want to bring a smile to your face and a spring to your step, check out the free Older Adult Choir concerts throughout San Francisco this December. These events feature the spirited singers from 10 of CMC’s Older Adult Choirs. The vast array of musical genres these choirs perform includes Latin, jazz, show tunes, gospel, oldies, and popular. Some of the choirs perform music in Spanish and Tagalog, as well. Don’t miss a chance to experience the joy of these choirs first-hand. It’s contagious!

Older Adult Choir December Concerts

CMC 30th Street Older Adult Choir – Holiday concert – Monday, 12/4 (10:15-11:15am), 30th Street Senior Center, 225 30th Street

CMC Western Addition Older Adult Choir – Holiday concert – Wednesday, 12/6 (10:15-11:00am); Western Addition Senior Center, 1390 ½ Turk Street

CMC Bayview Older Adult Choir – Holiday concert – Wednesday, 12/6 (2:30-3:30pm), Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center, 1753 Carroll Avenue

Coro CMC del Centro Latino de San Francisco – Holiday Concert – Thursday, 12/7 (1:45-2:30pm); Centro Latino de San Francisco, 1656 15th Street

CMC OMI Senior Center Choir – Holiday concert – Friday, 12/8 (12:45-1:30pm), OMI Senior Center, 65 Beverly Street

CMC IT Bookman Older Adult Choir – Holiday concert with invited guest choirs (CMC Bayview Older Adult Choir and CMC Western Addition Older Adult Choir) – Monday, 12/11 (11:45-12:30pm), IT Bookman Community Center, 446 Randolph Street

CMC Bernal Heights Older Adult Choir – Holiday concert – Monday, 12/11 (1:15-2:15pm), Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Avenue

CMC Older Adult Choir at Castro Senior Center – Holiday concert – Tuesday, 12/12 (1:15-2:15pm); Castro Senior Center, 110 Diamond Street

CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir – Aquatic Park Center Holiday Concert – Thursday, 12/14 (1:00-2:30pm); Aquatic Park Center, 890 Beach Street

CMC Veterans Equity Center Older Adult Choir – Holiday concert – Monday, 12/18 (1:45-2:30pm); Veterans Equity Center, 1010 Mission Street (confirmed)

Student profile: Greg Kehret bass player for CMC’s Cuban Charanga Ensemble

If you are around CMC’s Mission Branch during lunchtime, chances are you’ve heard someone hammering out scales on double bass. Chances are it’s Greg Kehret. Greg is the bass player for CMC’s Cuban Charanga Ensemble. He often jumps on Bart from his downtown work office at Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, spending his precious lunch breaks practicing. Like many musicians, Greg heard about CMC through word of mouth. A guitar teacher he know mentioned former CMC faculty Chus Alonso and the Latin-Flamenco ensemble he directed.

“Chus put me on a path of diving into Afro-Cuban music…The skills Chus taught me really prepared me for playing in the Cuban Charanga Ensemble,” says Greg.

Greg has been with CMC Cuban Charanga Ensemble since it formed three years ago. One of the things he loves about the ensemble is the music. “The music is great, it compels you to dance!”

On Wednesday nights, he meets with other ensemble members and Director Tregar Otton to rehearse and fine tune the arrangements that Tregar creates for the group. The ensemble is a regular installment with performances at the Mission Arts and Performance Project every other month in CMC’s concert hall. These free events are vibrant and well-attended, with a dance lesson and two sets of music.

One of the other things that Greg enjoys about the ensemble is the “community spirit.”

“The ensemble practice on Wednesdays is the high point of many people’s weeks. Everyone is friendly and down to participate. There is a spirit there.” He adds, “Everyone bring the best they have to offer. It’s light and fresh and free of pressures of a gigging band.”

Keep your eyes on the CMC event calendar for the next Afro-Cuban Dance Party featuring CMC’s Cuban Charanga Ensemble!