CMC partners with EngAGE to provide a Cantonese Older Adult Choir

CMC is proud to partner with EngAGE to provide a Cantonese older adult choir residency at a Mercy Housing site in the Tenderloin. EngAGE is an organization that promotes arts, wellness, lifelong learning, community building, and intergenerational programs to thousands of seniors and families living in affordable senior and multi-generational apartment communities in California, Oregon, and Minnesota. Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest developers of affordable housing. The new choir had its first meeting in late February and is directed by CMC faculty member, David Wong.

Each week, about 30 people come together to learn a variety of Chinese music. The new choir is modeled after other choirs in the Older Adult Choir Program through the guidance of Older Adult Choir Program staff, faculty, and the use of the Community of Voices Program Manual, following a routine that includes physical and vocal exercises, learning songs, and opportunities for socializing. Their first performance is scheduled for Monday, May 13 at Glide Memorial’s monthly celebration of birthdays.

The choir has been well-received with favorable feedback from the participants, and CMC is looking forward to continued partnership with EngAGE and serving more seniors in affordable housing communities.

To learn more about how singing in choirs reduces loneliness and increases interest in life for older adults, watch this CNN story featuring CMC Coro Solera Older Adult Choir and CMC Older Adult Choir Program staff.


Revolution in four acts and 88 keys

On April 14, the Community Music Center will host the 16th annual Faculty Keyboard Marathon Concert. The concert this year will start at 1pm. As keyboard performers, we are thrilled that this yearly event has been sustained for 16 years through the interest of the community, the active engagement of the performers, and a keen appreciation in learning about and hearing the wide range of keyboard compositions that are chosen for each year’s event.

Our theme this year is Revolution, which resonates with the current climate of deep political upheaval, and with our desire to be agents for positive change in the world. Faculty will perform pieces which connect with the theme in a variety of ways, such as composers who lived through revolutionary times which affected their lives and music; pieces with revolutionary titles and/or lyrics; composers who created a musical revolution of some sort; and pieces which reflect one of the current movements for social justice, such as the latest wave of feminism.

The Keyboard Marathon is a beloved CMC institution. It is one of the few opportunities we have to gather members of the keyboard faculty and listen to the richness of the music, the diversity of taste and styles, and the quality of performance. It is a special afternoon that brings friends and family together in the CMC auditorium for music and celebration.

The Keyboard Marathon takes place in the CMC recital hall at 544 Capp Street in San Francisco. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, with tickets available at the door.

This concert this year is a true marathon, with four 50-minute sets divided by ten minute intermissions. There will be a concession stand in the courtyard for audience refreshments during the intermissions, and a champagne reception at the end of the concert for the performers and audience to enjoy, providing a great way for the audience to meet and greet CMC’s talented piano faculty.

This year’s performers are faculty members Shirley Wong, Richard Thomas, Lilia Zheltova, Matylda Rotkiewicz, Jon Jang, Grace Huenemann, Bruce Loeb, Lauren Cony, Jacqueline Chew, Allison Lovejoy, Juliet McComas, Janis Mercer, Elektra Schmidt, Esther Chan, Betty Wong, Paula Dreyer, Maestro Curtis, and guest artists, Erik Walker, Esther Chan and Annie Nalezny.

16th Annual Faculty Keyboard Marathon
Revolution! Music in Times of Turmoil, Trouble, and Triumph
April 14, 2019
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
CMC Concert Hall
$15 general / $10 students and seniors

Program information

A Day in the Life of Musical Discovery Camp

“Musical Discovery Camp is a fun way to explore the excitement of making music together. Campers develop concrete, hands-on musical skills playing instruments and singing. Kids learn about the world through music. They learn ear-training, musical appreciation, rhythm, voice, playing in a group—all in a fun social environment. No musical experience is required.” Hector Lugo, Camp Director, Musical Discovery Camp


Hector Lugo, the Director of Musical Discovery Camp shared the high points of this camp as a “A Day in the Life of Musical Discovery Camp.”

Morning circle rhythm games

Morning circle
Every morning the whole camp gathers together in a morning circle. The camp instructors lead musical games with singing, rhythm, and movement. The instructors check-in with the campers letting them know about the day’s activities. The morning circle is a chance for everyone to get to know each other.






Percussion session with Hector Lugo

Percussion and guitar/singing groups
The campers split into two groups. One group stays with Hector, where they learn percussion. Hector teaches Latin, Caribbean, African-American rhythms using drums, percussion instruments, and body percussion. He also talks about the musical history of the music.






Guitar and singing session with Arwen Lawrence and Jorge Liceaga

The guitar groups goes with the camp instructors Arwen Lawrence and Jorge Liceaga to learn guitar and singing. The campers get hands-on experience learning guitar, playing simple chords to blues, folk, and Latin songs. They also learn to sing the songs they are playing on guitar. As part of the guitar and singing component, the camp instructors teach the campers to write a blues song.






Afternoon circle and musical appreciation
After lunch, the whole camp comes together again for an afternoon circle. The camp instructors play recorded and live music for the campers. The campers listen to the types of music they are learning in their percussion and guitar/singing groups. The kids learn more about the history and the musical structure, which helps them to play and understand the music.


Campers play as a group in the afternoon session

Playing together as a group
The rest of the camp day is dedicated to playing music together. The campers learn many skills during this time. They learn how to listen, while they are playing, in order to play all together. The campers follow a conductor, learning about tempo (fast or slow), musical dynamics (loud and soft), starting on the beat, and ending all together. This afternoon session prepares the campers for the showcase performance at the end of the week.


Register now to secure your spot in Musical Discovery Camp!





Hector Lugo, Camp Director
Jorge Liceaga, Camp Instructor
Arwen Lawrence, Camp Instructor

CMC students on the road with outreach concerts in San Francisco

“Doing community outreach…is important to our humanity,” said Kim. “I believe in using the gifts we have to beautify our corners of the world and beyond, whenever possible.”

Strings faculty member Heidi Kim is no stranger to playing music as a way to give back to the community. When she was a young violin student, she played concerts at retirement homes and assisted living centers. Playing in front of people and having a concert to work towards were important elements of her music education. Just as important as the practice of performing is sharing the gift of music with others. “Doing community outreach…is important to our humanity,” said Kim. “I believe in using the gifts we have to beautify our corners of the world and beyond, whenever possible.”

Heidi Kim is giving her students the same opportunities she had with monthly community concerts.

On December 8, a small group of her students played at the San Francisco VA Hospital Community Living Center, dedicating the concert to the veterans for their service to the country. Her young students performed classical and Christmas music for the veterans, and were well-received by the residents and staff alike.

On December 23, a larger group of Heidi’s students performed at the San Francisco Fire Department’s Station 14. According to Heidi, planning a concert at a firehouse was “tricky” since the station could get an emergency call at any time. They were able to arrange a concert at a station in the Richmond District that doesn’t get as many calls as other stations. The strings concert was dedicated to the memory of one of the station’s firefighters who had lost his life in an automobile accident and as a general “Thank You” to the firefighters. The students performed classical music and Christmas songs for an audience made up of firefighters and families in the station garage. After the concert, the students got a tour of the fire station with the fire pole being a major highlight.

Heidi remarked that her students are enjoying the community outreach concerts. One of her fourth grade students said the concerts made him feel like he was “traveling the world.” Heidi mentioned that one of the important parts of the outreach concerts is for students to get out of the familiar spaces of performing only at CMC. She is interested to see how her students react to new spaces and feels that performing is great for not only encouraging practice, but also for getting over performance anxiety.

The next studio recital is on January 26. Both her Mission and Richmond District students will be performing at Cypress at Golden Gate retirement home.

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

CMC choirs spread the joy of song this December

As the year comes to a close, CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program is celebrating with festive concerts all over San Francisco during the month of December. The concerts take place around the city in the various neighborhood centers where each choir holds weekly rehearsals, and are free and open to the public. These year-end performances feature songs in many styles and languages: from gospel and jazz, traditional folk songs from Latin America, to showtunes and oldies, these songs are sure to bring holiday cheer.  Be sure to catch a performance in the coming weeks, and be uplifted by the joy of song.

Older Adult Choir December Concerts:

Monday, December 3 from 10:00am-11:00am – CMC 30th Street Older Adult Choir at Canon Kip Senior Center, 705 Natoma Street

Saturday, December 8 from 3:00-4:00pm – CMC Children’s Chorus with CMC OMI Senior Center Choir and CMC Richmond District Center Choir  at Community Music Center Concert Hall, 544 Capp Street

Tuesday, December 11 from 10:15-11:45am –CMC Richmond District Center Choir at Richmond Neighborhood Center, 741 30th Avenue

Wednesday, December 12 from 2:00-2:30pm –CMC Bernal Heights Older Adult Choir at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Avenue

Thursday, December 13 from 1:00-2:30pm – CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir at Aquatic Park Center, 890 S Beach Boulevard

Thursday, December 13 from 2:00-2:30pm – CMC Castro Older Adult Choir at Castro Senior Center, 110 Diamond Street

Thursday, December 13 from 1:00-2:30pm – Coro CMC del Centro Latino de San Francisco at Centro Latino de San Francisco Community Center, 1656 15th Street

Friday, December 14 from 12:30-2:00pm – CMC OMI Senior Center Choir at OMI Senior Center, 65 Beverly Street

Friday, December 14 from 1:00-3:00pm – CMC Solera Singers of Mission Neighborhood Center at Mission Neighborhood Center, 362 Capp Street

Monday, December 17 from 10:00am-11:45am – CMC 30th Street Older Adult Choir at 30th Street Senior Center, 225 30th Street







Meet Andy Huber: CMC Senior Staff Accountant

Interview: Andy Huber, CMC Senior Staff Accountant

Over the summer, we welcomed a new member to the CMC community. Andy Huber started as Senior Staff Accountant in July. Like so many staff, in addition to being a nonprofit professional, he’s also a wonderful musician. If you see Andy around the building say “Hi!”

What’s your background?
I went to school for Music Education and Acting focusing on voice, choir teaching, and conducting. While I was an undergrad, I interned at Michigan State University Community Music Center. That’s where I became familiar with the administrative side of community music schools. In the last semester of my undergrad, I student taught a middle school choir. I learned to value educators, but decided not to pursue music education as a career. I moved to New York, and after a quick stint as an intern at a classical music artist PR firm, started out as a registrar at Turtle Bay Music School in New York, which is a community music school similar to CMC. From there, I got an “on the job” education in community music organizational life. I learned business management from a colleague who mentored me, becoming the Business Manager of Turtle Bay, managing all financial, accounting and human resources functions.

How did you first come to CMC?
After being at Turtle Bay Music School for five years, I was looking forward to something new and to expand my horizons. It was an exciting step to move from New York to the Bay Area.

What are you passionate about in your work?
I’ve been a both a musician and a music student. I value paying musicians, and I like that my job is paying musicians on a regular basis. The fact that CMC is a place that provides a livelihood for musicians and is a place for people to learn music is something I take pride in.

One of the other things I feel passionately about is working at a vibrant center for people to receive a music education, when the arts often don’t exist in the classroom. Cities need a resource like CMC to provide an arts education, where it otherwise might not be accessible.

How is going so far?
After being in Michigan and then New York, the Bay Area weather is consistent, which I like. The amount of programming and assistance CMC provides says a lot about what’s at the heart of this organization. The fact that CMC works very hard to provide both quality programming and tuition assistance is great.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to jog. I love eating interesting cuisine. I live in Berkeley, which is optimal for eating out. I like to play video games. I listen to a lot of podcasts and NPR. My favorite podcasts are the Vergecast, The Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, and Spilled Milk where comedians talk about food. Very funny!