CMC’s Mission District Young Musicians Program – Transforming lives through music

Community Music Center’s Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP) creates a musical community unlike any other in the Bay Area. 25 students each year enjoy a comprehensive music education, with a focus on Latin music, completely free of charge. MDYMP students are also empowered by their teachers to take ownership of their experiences and to contribute to their community.

Alicia Naylor-Guerrero, now a student at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), emphasizes the sense of responsibility MDYMP instilled. She and her fellow students took active roles in all aspects of their music making – listening to and supporting each other in ensemble rehearsals and performances, setting up and breaking down after every rehearsal, and communicating with each other when life got in the way.

For Cecilia Peña-Govea, an alumna who is now an MDYMP instructor, the most important thing about the program is the emphasis on teamwork and mentorship. Students from ages 11 to 18 are expected to work together as an ensemble, supporting each other and mentoring each other throughout the year.

Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, a long-time CMC faculty member and former MDYMP coordinator, remembers recruiting public school students in the Mission District when the program first began in 2006. She met many parents who were grateful to have a way to teach their children about the richness of their culture. Through the universal language of music, and shared cultural traditions, students were able to connect with their families and their community more deeply than ever before.
Learning the varied and complex rhythms and harmonies of Latin American music has set Alicia up for success at SOTA. She approaches every style of music with confidence knowing that, thanks to the skills she learned in MDYMP, she can tackle whatever comes her way. Alicia now advocates for expanding the music instruction offered at SOTA to include more diverse styles and traditions. Cecilia adds that MDYMP’s focus on Latin American music, rather than traditional Euro-centric classical music, creates more well-rounded musicians.

MDYMP engages with and creates a vibrant community in many ways. Each week students rehearse at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and perform with partners in the community throughout the year. Alicia, Cecilia, and Martha all recall the joy and power of performing at Carnaval, Cinco de Mayo, and CMC’s former holiday program La Posarela. Through these performances students develop deeper connections with their community in the Mission District and the wider Bay Area.

But MDYMP doesn’t just connect students to their local community, it also creates a musical family of students, alumni and faculty. Alicia always felt supported by her fellow students when they rehearsed and played as an ensemble. Cecilia continues to collaborate with her fellow MDYMP alums. Martha’s former students still help her when she works each year on the San Francisco Symphony’s Día de Los Muertos Community Concert.

Alicia, Cecilia, and Martha – and the hundreds of students and families who have been touched by MDYMP – know that music connects communities and changes lives.

Welcome Molly Krost, CMC Development Assistant

Interview: Molly Krost, Development Assistant

We’re happy to have Molly Krost on board as our Development Assistant. Molly brings experience in the arts through her work with Cal Performances. She is also a playwright, so is versed in the necessities of fundraising to bring artistic works to life. Welcome Molly!


How did you come to CMC?
I was working at Cal Performances in the box office as a ticketing agent. I had been working at Cal Performance for six years and was ready for something new. Development seemed like a good next step for me.


What drew you to the position?
Development is something that’s important for me to learn. I am a playwright, and if you want to have your work staged, you need to self-produce which means fundraising. Learning and working on the arts administration side is an important skill. I like the challenge of being busy and having a lot of responsibility in my role as the Development Assistant. I was drawn to CMC because I grew up playing cello and have always loved music.


What do you like about development and fundraising?
Fundraising and development are an essential part of the arts. The only way the arts are going to survive in today’s world is to raise the funds for them.


When you’re not working at CMC, what do like you do?
I am a playwright. I am working on my MFA in Creative Writing at SF State which takes up 90% of my free time. I have a play being staged this Sunday, December 16 in New York at Clutch Productions Theater. I’m also a member of Playground, an organization that helps develop new plays. Every month Playground sends its members a prompt. You have four days to write a short play based off that prompt. Then they select six plays to be staged at Berkeley Rep. My play was selected and staged in November, which was exciting. I like to write about identity, mixed race subject matter, family dynamics, and stories of the Filipino experience. I’m half Filipino and half Jewish. Mixed race subject matter is underrepresented in the arts.

I like to to bake cakes, especially from the Great British Bake Off Cookbook. Also, I just picked up cross-stitching!

Announcing 2019 Shenson Faculty Concert Series Grant Recipients

The Shenson Faculty Concert Series 2019 will be lighting up the stage with four free concerts featuring CMC’s talented faculty and their collaborators! The concerts will span genres and instrumentation, encompassing classical, jazz, gospel, neo-classical, and avant-garde genres.

Each year, The Shenson Foundation sponsors four free community concerts for CMC faculty music projects. The faculty members and their ensembles are selected by a committee of musicians from CMC’s Board of Directors. It’s truly a difficult decision for the committee with wonderful proposals from talented CMC faculty.

The following faculty were selected for the 2019 Shenson Faculty Concert Series. The dates for the concerts are also noted, so mark your calendar!
Ben Snellings: Sunday, March 31, 2019 – 4:00 pm
Cello faculty Ben Snellings will be presenting a concert of string solos and duos from the Baroque, Classical, Neo-classical, and Hungarian genres. Selections will include Haydn, Bach, Prokofiev, and Kodaly.



Jon Jang: Saturday, April 27, 2019 – 8:00 pm
Piano faculty Jon Jang presents “Come Sunday: The Music of Duke Ellington in Celebration of his 120th Birthday Anniversary” featuring the works of Duke Ellington. Because the name “Come Sunday” refers to a recording by Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson celebrating black people’s struggle to have their own church, there also will be songs performed in the concert that Mahalia Jackson sang in the context of the black church.



Jono Kornfeld: Saturday, May 4, 2019 – 8:00 pm
Piano, guitar, and theory faculty Jono Kornfeld performs with the band Hop Sauce. The group performs mainly original compositions in a funk/jazz style, with a strong emphasis on improvisation and spontaneous in-the-moment composing.



David Steinberg: May 10, 2019 –  7:00 pm
Woodwinds faculty David Steinberg presents works that feature a combination of live instrumental performances paired with electronic and sampled elements and will feature works that are inspired by jazz, R&B, gospel, musique concrete, and avant garde. The program is an exploration of the concept of “lifestyle” and puts forth the hypothesis that the popularity of lifestyle journalism and content is due to the need to fill the void that traditional and now largely-unattainable sources of meaning such as owning a home, raising a large family, or working in a field that provides both a strong sense of purpose and a living wage, have left behind. By attempting to imbue consumerist habits with the pretense of social activism or spiritual enrichment, lifestyle journalism and content foster a soothing but ultimately artificial sense of purpose.

Ready to try something new?

Have you been thinking about exploring a new musical style, developing a new skill, or playing in a group setting?

CMC offers new music classes this year to help you take your music to the next level!

Beginning Voice with Michael Mohammed
Learn beginning vocal technique and interpretive skills in a fun group setting. 
Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch; Mondays, 8:15–9:45 pm


Beginning Jazz Ensemble with Erick Peralta
Work on improvisation and develop ensemble skills in this is beginning/intermediate ensemble. 
Ages: Adults and older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Thursdays 8:15 – 9:45pm


Beginning Ukulele (adults) with Sandy Brassard
Grab your instrument and join us for a beginner’s course on how to play ukulele in a relaxed group setting. 
Ages: Adults
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays, 8:15 – 9:15pm


Beginning Ukulele (all ages) with Sandy Brassard
This class covers the basics of how to play ukulele in a fun group class environment. 
Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Saturdays, 3:30 – 5:00pm


Cuban Dance Music Ensemble – Learning the Fundamentals with Tregar Otton 
Learn the fundamental rhythms that are key to Afro-Cuban music.
Ages: Adults and older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays, 5:30 – 7:00pm


Group Cello Practice with Erik Andersen
This group cello class focuses on the fundamentals of cello technique including long tones, string crossings, scales and arpeggios, position practice, and shifting. 
Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Sundays 10:00 – 11:00am


Introduction to Viola da Gamba with Erik Andersen
This is an introductory course to playing the viola da gamba, a fretted, bowed instrument from the Renaissance and Baroque.
Ages: Adults and kids (elementary, middle, high school)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Sundays 11:00am – 12:30pm


Musical Storytime with Emily Shumway
A drop-in magical musical class for babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.
6 months-5 years (siblings under 6 months attend free!)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Wednesdays (two sections): 10:00-10:45am and 11:00-11:45am


Music Theory IV with Jono Kornfeld
If you have a basic knowledge of music notation, this class will further your understanding of musical components and structures. Other Music Theory classes.
Ages: Adults, older teens (high school students)
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 6:15-7:05pm


Old-Time Music Ensemble with Tregar Otton
Come on all you fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin players. Learn some traditional fiddle tunes in an informal setting.
Ages: Adults
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Mondays 11:30am – 12:30pm


Teen Beatles Ensemble with Scott Feichter
Recreate the immortal music of the Beatles while developing essential skills for ensemble playing! 
Ages: 12-18
Day/time/location: Mission District Branch, Thursdays, 5:00–6:30pm