Two Stories: Remo and Maya supported by you

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Remo at the Richmond District Branch. Photo by Heidi Schumann

Remo del Tredici:  A Story of Community Participation

“I’m surprised I got all this publicity, just because I’m old and starting making violins.” This was the response of Remo del Tredici, CMC violin student, about the San Francisco Chronicle“Datebook” article featuring him on the cover.

Remo, now 95, took up the violin again in 1995. He retrieved the violin he used as a teenager from his closet, dusted it off, checked the Yellow Pages and found Community Music Center. He enrolled in the Richmond Branch and has studied there for the past twenty years.

Four teachers and three registrars later, he is now studying with Tregar Otton. “I always learn something (from Tregar). Even today, when I practice, I come to certain notes and remember what he said. The main thing is to listen to your teacher and then go home and practice, practice, practice.”

Says Tregar, “Remo is totally dedicated to all things violin- from practicing every day from one to three (or more) hours to actually teaching himself to make violins! His memory is perfect, and it’s great to hear the stories of San Francisco in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.”

Remo recalls that after three years of studying the violin, he became determined to make his own violin. He bought several books on violin-making, found lumber in his backyard and made several violins. “When I played the third one, I got a sound out of it!”

Since those first attempts, Remo has made more than sixty violins. In the same spirit as all his music-making, he offers his instruments freely to potential players. Remo has donated countless violins to his former school, Geary Elementary School located on Cook and Geary. When he performed at the re-opening of the War Memorial (“the acoustics were terrific”) he agreed to donate some of his violins to veterans’ groups. One of his three great-grand- daughters has received several of his violins. Since she turned seven, he has made progressively larger violins for her: “violins to grow on.”

As Remo reminisces about performing in string and chamber orchestras, and post-performance dinners and celebrations, he creates a picture of the community that his music and violin-making have provided. He enjoys the friendships that develop with his teachers and fellow music students and loves the “good vibe” he feels when performing for an audience.


Shirley Wong-Frentzel, Maya Enriquez

Maya performing at a CMC event. Photo by Drew Altizer Photography

Maya Enriquez: A Story of Community Leadership

“I’ll hold out for the oboe,” Maya Enriquez recalls saying when she decided to switch instruments (from flute) to play in her elementary school’s band. She added that although she does not sing, she feels that playing the oboe is an extension of her voice.

Maya has studied oboe for ten years, six of those at Com- munity Music Center in the Mission District, near her home. “Kathleen Connor, my music teacher at CMC, is amazing. She taught me how to sing out with expression and imbue my music with meaning. And even as I mastered this, she encouraged me to respect the piano passages and the silences.”

Music study at CMC has both tracked and guided Maya’s academic career. When she was accepted at both Lowell and School of the Arts (SOTA) high schools, she held out once again — this time, in favor of music education: She enrolled in SOTA. She’s now a junior at Vassar, and the first in her family to attend college. Maya makes sure to incorporate her music into her curriculum. Although she is pursuing rigorous undergraduate science courses and planning to enter medical school, Maya rehearses and performs in the orchestra.

To practice successfully, she advises, “Take it slowly. Don’t rush through – give it time. Break it up into small parts, and then add the parts together. And always keep in mind that an audience will be listening.”

Maya is leading the way among a growing number of CMC’s young musicians to practice leadership and give back to the community. Recently, she has become the newest—and youngest—member of Community Music Center’s Advisory Board. “Maya is a remarkable CMC success story,” said Executive Director, Chris Borg, when announcing Maya’s acceptance to join CMC’s Advisory Board.