Marco Diaz: A musical upbringing at CMC

September 15, 2021

Marco Diaz’s commanding presence in the Bay Area music scene has its foundations in the scholarship program at Community Music Center. For this trumpet player and pianist, who is the bandleader for Cuban singer Bobi Céspedes and a central member of the John Santos Sextet, Diaz’s love of music first began in public school. “I heard the trumpet for the first time when I was in fourth grade,” said Diaz. “I knew that was the instrument I was going to be playing.” This passion for music was nurtured and developed through the scholarship program at CMC taking Diaz through his high school years in the early 1990’s and preparing him for studying music at San Francisco State. “I started taking piano lessons at CMC in the eighth grade,” said Diaz.“In my first year of high school, I auditioned for a scholarship, and I was awarded piano lessons, trumpet lessons, and jazz theory. That blew everything open for me. That was it. I was hooked.”

The encouragement to pursue music and extra curricular activities was also given by Diaz’s family. “They would tell us, ‘We want you to have a way to express feelings that you have but that you may not have words for,’” supporting Diaz and his brothers to pursue the arts and sports. 

As an educator, Diaz provides similar encouragement to his students. As a faculty member at CMC in MDYMP and Campamento CMC / Camp CMC this past July, Diaz nurtured spaces of safety and artistic expression for the youth. “With all that’s going on in the world, in addition to just being a teenager together with all that turmoil, music is a place where you can be yourself and not feel like you’re being judged,” said Diaz. “It provides a great place for kids to have a healthy dialogue with each other and also to get to know themselves. I think that’s pretty amazing.”  

See Marco Diaz perform in-person in a solo piano performance “Journey through the Americas and the Great American Songbook”on Monday, September 20 at 2pm at Flower Piano in the Celebration Garden. Learn more about the concert and get tickets HERE