CMC Older Adult Choirs Conclude Their Season with Ten Free Concerts Across San Francisco

CMC’s 30th Street Chorus Performing at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, May 2017.
Photo courtesy of YBG Festival/Photos by Bishoculars

Sonia Caltvedt
Marketing Director
415-647-6015 x75

SAN FRANCISCO (May 26, 2017) – Over three-hundred singers in Community Music Center’s Older Adult Choir Program are preparing for a series of ten concerts across the city between May 30 and June 15. The free performances, open to the public, will take place at San Francisco community and senior centers, with a special appearance of the 30th Street Chorus at the JCCSF’s Brain Fitness Forum on June 11.

The concerts will feature music that represents the many cultures of the choir members and their communities, including gospel, jazz, Latin American, show tunes, folk songs, oldies and Americana, among others.

CMC’s Older Choir Program brings the many personal, social, and quality of life benefits of making music to hundreds of seniors in the city each week. The program began five years ago when CMC began partnering with senior centers to provide music opportunities for older adults. It has grown to include twelve choirs as choirs have cycled out of the Community of Voices research study, a three way partnership between UCSF, Community Music Center and the Department of Aging and Adult Services. The choirs are active in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, serving a diversity of communities.

The choir program is free for any older adult ages 55 and up, regardless of musical background or experience. The choirs provide a unique way for seniors to learn about singing, form new friendships, perform in community concerts, and improve their quality of life.

A complete list of the free concerts can be found below. A short video documentary about the Older Adult Choir Program and information about how to participate can be found here.

CMC Older Adult Choir Program Concert Schedule

CMC Richmond Senior Center Choir
Tuesday, May 30 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Richmond Senior Center, 6221 Geary Blvd.

CMC Western Addition Older Adult Choir
Wednesday, May 31 from 10:00 – 11:30 am
Western Addition Senior Center, 1390 ½ Turk St.

CMC Bayview Older Adult Choir
Wednesday, May 31 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center, 1753 Carroll Ave.

CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir
Thursday, June 1 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Aquatic Park Center, 890 Beach St.

CMC OMI Senior Center Choir
Friday, June 2 from 12:30 – 1:30 pm
OMI Senior Center, 65 Beverly St.

CMC Solera Singers of Mission Neighborhood Center
Friday, June 9 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Mission Neighborhood Center, 362 Capp St.

CMC 30th Street Chorus of 30th Street Senior Center
JCC Brain Fitness Forum
Sunday, June 11 from 1:15 – 2:00 pm
Jewish Community Center of SF, 3200 California St.

CMC Bernal Heights Older Adult Choir
Monday, June 12 from 2 – 3:30 pm
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave.

CMC Older Adult Choir at Castro Senior Center
Tuesday, June 13 from 2 – 3:30 pm
Castro Senior Center, 110 Diamond St.

Coro CMC del Centro Latino de San Francisco
Thursday, June 15 from 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Centro Latino de SF, 1656 15th St.

About Community Music Center
CMC is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast making high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means since 1921. During the last school year, more than 2,400 students studied music at CMC in a wide array of programs, classes, workshops, and community events. Thousands more attended free concerts, performances by acclaimed visiting artists, instrument “petting zoos,” and many other events. CMC offers lessons on over 30 instruments to its students, whose ages span nearly 100 years. Learn more about CMC at and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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CMC’s Sylvia Sherman recognized by SFUSD with Dreamcatcher Award

On May 4, the SFUSD Visual and Performing Arts Department recognized our Program Director Sylvia Sherman as a community arts partner with a Dreamcatcher Award. The award ceremony was held at the SFUSD Arts Festival Community Celebration at the Asian Art Museum, and featured exuberant live music and dance by SFUSD students.

Donn Harris, SFUSD’s Executive Director for Creativity and the Arts and Chair of the California Arts Council, presented Sylvia with her award, beginning with a quote from John Coltrane, “You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.”

He went on to make sure the audience knew of CMC’s long history of providing music education to all: “CMC has always been a beacon in our minds, a special place with real roots in the Mission District and the kind of pure mission that we all want to be part of . . . .you know the arts are OK as long as places like CMC are thriving.”

CMC partners with SFUSD to bring mariachi music to SF public schools
In 2015, CMC began work with the SFUSD to provide teaching artists for the district’s mariachi program. Over the past two years, CMC faculty members Miguel Govea, Tregar Otton, and Martha Rodríguez-Salazar have taught at Buena Vista Horace Mann, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Fairmont Elementary and Mission High Schools as part of a San Francisco Unified School District-led initiative to teach mariachi music in their schools.

Mariachi programs are springing up across the U.S. as a way to bring music education to a wider group of students, engage families, honor students’ culture, and better address the needs of Spanish bilingual students. This culturally responsive program meets music education standards and follows a pedagogy just as traditional orchestra and band programs do.

About the Dreamcatcher Award:
Inspired by individually crafted Native American dreamcatchers, highly endowed and talismanic works of art believed to have the power to capture dreams and prevent negativity, the Visual and Performing Arts Department of the San Francisco Uni ed School District proudly presents Dreamcatcher Awards as part of the SFUSD Arts Festival to honor individuals who have inspired our educational community through the excellent work they have done to promote the vision and the promise of the SFUSD Arts Education Master Plan.

Dreamcatcher recipients come from various parts of the community, including arts teachers, school arts coordinators, principals, administrators and community arts partners. The Visual and Performing Arts Department is proud to recognize these arts education leaders with the annual Dreamcatcher Awards, which made their debut in 2007, along with the Master Plan, and have provided our community with a way to recognize and celebrate the excellent work provided by these exemplary and inspiring arts leaders.

More info:

Student leader Dephny Duan on her first arrangement: “How Far I’ll Go”

Interview by Katherine Mumm, student volunteer

Dephny Duan, a cellist from CMC’s Young Musicians Program, took it upon herself to bring some popular kid’s music into the YMP’s repertoire with her arrangement of the hit “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. Dephny, with the support of YMP Director Alex Keitel, arranged the song for two violins, viola, cello and guitar. A YMP ensemble that included Dephny performed the arrangement at the Richmond Branch Library in March to the delight of children who attended the performance. The performance was followed by an instrument petting zoo and an information session presented by the YMP program.

Katherine: What inspired you to arrange a song from Moana? Was there anything in particular about the movie that stood out for you as inspiration for an arrangement?

Dephny: We (YMP leadership team) were planning out our repertoire for the Richmond Branch Library performance, and we wanted to incorporate a piece that younger children [could enjoy].  We thought that performing, “How Far I’ll Go,” would be perfect. The song was about freedom and and discovering oneself. Although the words weren’t sung during our performance, the power of the song was definitely felt while playing. The song starts out with a calm mood and grows with power and passion till the climatic end.

Katherine: What was most difficult and most exciting about the process of arranging a piece?

Dephny: One of the more difficult parts about arranging the piece was transposing the three voice parts into two violins, a viola part AND adding a guitar part. I have never played the guitar, but with some help from my cello teacher and flexibility of the guitar player, I was able to simply write in the chords….

By far, the most challenging part of arranging the piece, was learning how to use the program to arrange the piece. I’ve never arranged a piece before let alone write up music digitally. I learned that using apps like MuseScore definitely makes arranging and composing a lot easier and smoother.

The most exciting part was hearing how the piece sounded with real live instruments!

Katherine: How long have you played your instrument, and what has your experience been as a musician while growing up?

Dephny: I’ve been playing the cello for around four years now. I was first introduced to the piano at a young age. I discovered the cello in middle school.  I slowly drifted from the piano and fell in love with the deep and powerful voice of the cello.

I have and will always love music for its never-ending game. Whether it’s a piece with challenging rhythms, tempo, or fingerings; the thrill of learning and perfecting a piece is the best feeling and has stuck with me all these years.