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!