100-Year-Old SF Community Music Center Breaks Ground on New Building

Feb. 15, 2022
KQED
Chloe Veltman
100-Year-Old SF Community Music Center Breaks Ground on New Building

The San Francisco Community Music Center (CMC) is breaking ground Wednesday on a new building next door to its existing facility on Capp Street in The Mission.

Julie Rulyak Steinberg, executive director of the 100-year-old non-profit, says the expansion will almost double the number of students CMC serves, which currently stands at around 3,000.

“We have been short of space for about 30 years,” says Steinberg. “For us to be able to to continue to say we serve everyone, that’s really a high priority for us.”

The new building at 552 Capp Street will add soundproofed classroom and performance spaces as well as increase ADA accessibility. “We expect to welcome over a thousand new students to our expanded Mission campus,” Steinberg says.

CMC purchased the new building 10 years ago. Steinberg says it will cost around $15 million to renovate, of which around $13 million has already been raised through philanthropy and market tax credit financing. The building is scheduled to open next February, capping a year of centennial celebrations for the organization which also includes musical commissions and performances.

 
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Community Music Center celebrates 100 years with a concert on steroids

Feb. 28, 2022
San Francisco Examiner
James Ambroff-Tahan
Community Music Center celebrates 100 years with a concert on steroids

For 100 years now, San Francisco’s Community Music Center has stood out for its mission of making music accessible for all people, regardless of financial means. It has offered classes tuition-free or on a sliding scale taught by local talents in Latin, jazz, blues, Middle Eastern and string orchestra, serving 3,000 student annually.

On Wednesday evening, CMC will celebrate its centennial with a benefit gala and concert of star performing artists at the Julia Morgan Ballroom. Performers include mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, tenor Pene Pati, soprano Amina Edris, contralto Paula West, pianist Jake Heggie, guitarist Jason Vieaux, trumpeter Sean Jones, the Marcus Shelby Trio, the Alexander String Quartet and percussionist John Santos.

“Everybody who is performing has been a part of our mission, whether they have worked with our students, done concerts here for free or done master classes,” said CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg of the gala. “We thought, ‘What if we had a CMC recital on steroids?’”

CMC is growing in physical size and number of students served. In February, the nonprofit broke ground on an expansion of its main Mission District Branch at 552 Capp St. — there’s also a campus in the Richmond District at 741 30th Ave. — which will allow CMC to teach music to 1,000 more students.

“There is a struggle between wanting to grow profitably and reaching more folks,” Steinberg said. “We are lucky to have a huge resource of really talented teachers and people working with us; but for us, it’s about capacity and space. CMC has been so constrained by how much space and financial resources we have available.”

 
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CMC’s Centennial Gala: Diverse Artists Join to Benefit Music Access and Honor Community Impact

Download full press release

COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER MARCH 2 CENTENNIAL GALA TO HONOR ROSELYNE CHROMAN SWIG, BETTY WONG, SHIRLEY WONG-FRENTZEL AND LA DOÑA

GUEST ARTISTS INCLUDE SEAN JONES, PENE PATI, AMINA EDRIS, ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET, FREDERICA VON STADE, JAKE HEGGIE, JOHN SANTOS, JASON VIEAUX AND PAULA WEST


PERFORMANCES, DINNER AND AUCTION BENEFIT COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER’S DIVERSE PROGRAMS

San Francisco, January 13, 2022—San Francisco’s leading performers, arts leaders and educators will come together Wednesday, March 2, to celebrate the Community Music Center’s centennial and honor Roselyne Chroman Swig, Betty Wong, Shirley Wong-Frentzel and La Doña with the Gertrude Field Community Impact Awards. Gala Chair Sharon Seto, Centennial Chair Fred Levin and Honorary Chair Ellen Magnin Newman and committee members have planned an evening featuring dinner and performances by some of the Bay Area’s leading artists. An online auction of one-of-a-kind items and packages will be open to all February 25 through March 5. The Centennial Gala celebrates CMC’s historic legacy providing a century of music for everyone as it looks forward to the next century of arts access. All proceeds support CMC’s mission to make high-quality music education accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. The evening begins at 6 pm at The Julia Morgan Ballroom, 465 California Street in San Francisco. Tickets, beginning at $500 and sponsorships beginning at $2,500 may be purchased at https://CMC100.givesmart.com

“The Community Music Center is a treasure in our city, and is 100 years strong. I am thrilled to be chairing this event, which will help to provide music scholarships for thousands of local students with financial need,” says Gala Chair Sharon Seto. “The event we’re planning to celebrate this momentous occasion is going to be the hottest ticket in town. The honorees and entertainment are top-notch, so please join us—this will be an unforgettable night!”

Guest Artists Trumpeter, bandleader, composer, educator and activist Sean Jones; tenor Pene Pati and soprano Amina Edris; Alexander String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and composer-pianist Jake Heggie, percussionist John Santos, guitarist Jason Vieaux and jazz and cabaret singer Paula West. Renel Brooks-Moon will be Master of Ceremonies and Greg Quiroga will be auctioneer. Click here for more information about the gala guest artists.

Honorary Committee Marcia and George Argyris, JD Beltran, San Francisco Arts Commission; Jim Callahan, Piedmont Piano; Yanek and Mary Chiu; Janet Cluff, Ramón Cortines, Tom DeCaigny, Ruth A. Felt, Matt Haney, Dr. Elizabeth L. Hillman, President, Mills College; Dorka Keehn, San Francisco Arts Commission; Jean Kellogg, Merola Opera Program; Patricia Taylor Lee, Fred Levin, Linda Lucero, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival; Honorable Rafael Mandelman, Garrick Ohlsson and Bob Guter, Carlos Ortega, Helen Hilton Raiser, Hillary Ronen, Stephen Shapiro and Ellen Rosenthal, Melanie Smith, San Francisco Performances; Catherine Stefani, Shamann Walton and Diane B. Wilsey

Event Committee Sharon Seto, Chair; Kathy Aizawa, Katie Colendich, Nicole Cooper, Pamela Culp, Tim Eischens, Lauren Erickson, Joel Goodrich, Lin Hoffman, Esq., Brooke Joseph, Ludmila Kisseleva, Patricia Taylor Lee, Sharon Litsky, Ann Ludwig, Irena Matijas, Trisha Mount, Russell Martinelli, Amanda Sargisson, Yuan Yuan Tan, Diana Whitehead and Diana Wild Centennial Sponsors Platinum Sponsors: Dan Dodt, in memory of Linda Kay Blacketer; Gold Sponsors: Cathi Kwon; Fred Levin, The Shenson Foundation; Oak Hill Capital Corporation; Silver Sponsors: Barbara Kosnar and Thomas Goldman, Diane B. Wilsey; Bronze Sponsors: Katherine and Roy Bukstein, Yee-Wan and John Stevens

Event Sponsors Media Sponsor: The Nob Hill Gazette; Wine Sponsor: Miner Family Winery

For questions about sponsorship, contact Elenka Refsell at 415-647-6015 x178 or erefsell@sfcmc.org.

About Community Music Center Community Music Center (CMC) is celebrating 100 years of music for everyone! A nonprofit music school and performance space with branches in the Mission and Richmond Districts, CMC provides high-quality music to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded nearly $2.8M in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,800 students. The school offers online and in-person music lessons and classes on over 30 instruments, and a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, Latin, pop, folk, rock, and western classical. CMC also presents free and low cost events, workshops, and master classes for its students and for the public. Learn more about the CMC Centennial celebrations at sfcmc100.org.

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A Message of Solidarity from CMC

Community Music Center was founded nearly 100 years ago with the desire to bring together a diverse and vibrant community through the unifying power of music.

Racism has no place in our community. We denounce violence against black, brown, and indigenous people. We stand in solidarity with the black community in calling for justice in the murder of George Floyd, and the ongoing acts of brutality against committed against this community every day.

We will listen to, support, and amplify the voices of marginalized communities who are suffering. We are committed to bringing marginalized voices to the forefront of our organization.

We will share music as a powerful tool of personal and communal expression—of grief, justice, and hope.

We must stand together to make a change for the future, for our children, and for our world.

CNN: Study sings the praises of choir membership for lonely older adults

Aired March 2 and March 3 on CNN Staying Well
by Lauren Lee

CNN coverage of the CMC Older Adult Choir Program and the Community of Voices Study in collaboration with UCSF and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS). The story features interviews with CMC Older Adult Choir staff and singers about the benefits of singing in a community choir for older adults. The coverage focuses on key findings of the Community of Voices Study with lead author of the study Julene Johnson, PhD, associate dean for research and professor in the UCSF School of Nursing. The study was released in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences online Nov. 9, 2018.

Watch HERE.

Community Music Center to host “Trans and Singing: A Symposium for Voice Teachers and Singers” to encourage transgender voices to be strengthened and heard

Photo credit: FeinMentschFilms

 

 

 

 

Community Music Center to host “Trans and Singing: A Symposium for Voice Teachers and Singers” to encourage transgender voices to be strengthened and heard

Contact:
Anne C. Mitchell, Marketing Manager
415-647-6015 x175, amitchell@sfcmc.org

 

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, January 23, 2019 – New voices and new ideas are creating a first-of-its-kind transgender vocal symposium. The free symposium is set to take place on Saturday, February 23 at Community Music Center (CMC) in San Francisco. “Trans and Singing” is a day of presentations and discussion on transgender singing for voice teachers and singers of all genders and is hosted by the CMC Voice Department, New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, and funded by a CMC Partnership Grant.

This past fall, CMC, whose mission is musical access to all people regardless of income, launched New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, a mixed voice tuition-free choral ensemble for self-identified transgender, intersex, and genderqueer (TIGQ) singers. “Community Music Center’s intention is to create a great choral ensemble and to provide a safe, creative space for transgender, intersex and genderqueer singers to make music, learn, and create community together,” said CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg upon the launch of the pilot program.

This free chorus not only strives to create musical spaces for the San Francisco Bay Area TIGQ community, but also to encourage voices that have been silenced or shamed to grow and be heard. Made up of singers from beginners to professionals, the chorus performs music from diverse traditions, builds strong connections, and lifts up the TIGQ community’s strength and struggle through great choral singing.

“As a transgender singer and conductor, I have experienced first-hand the barriers that TIGQ face to musical participation,” said Reuben Zellman, Director of the New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, “Singers tend to be rigidly and often thoughtlessly sorted by sex. Yet TIGQ vocal stories are often more complex.”

The “Trans and Singing” symposium emerged out of similar needs as the NVBA TIGQ Chorus. The symposium seeks to educate CMC faculty, CMC students, and the Bay Area vocal community at large on TIGQ singing. The symposium re-examines the thinking and approaches on TIGQ singing in light of new information. The day-long symposium on transgender singing, will be followed by ten weeks of individual vocal instruction for NVBA choir members. The symposium features presentations, masterclasses, and demonstrations by experts in TIGQ vocal pedagogy and voice science, panel discussions with TIGQ performers, and an open rehearsal and community sing with NVBA TIGQ Chorus. Both the symposium and the NVBA vocal training will be offered as a service to the community, completely free of charge.  

“We feel TIGQ vocalism is an emerging field of study of great importance,” said Jonathan Smucker, CMC Voice Department Chair, “and are thrilled to bring it to light in the Bay Area. Through deepened understanding we hope to help create more safe spaces for TIGQ vocal expression, music making, and community building, bettering TIGQ people’s lives, and broadening musical perspectives in the field at large.”

Trans and Singing Symposium:
Trans and Singing: A Symposium for Voice Teachers and Singers
Hosted by Community Music Center Voice Department and New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, and generously funded by Community Music Center and the Community Music Center Partnership Grant program

Saturday, February 23rd
Community Music Center
Concert Hall
544 Capp Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Trans and Singing is a a day of presentations and discussion on transgender singing for voice teachers and singers of all genders.

Registration and meet and greet- 2:30-3pm
Symposium- 3-9:30pm

Admission is free, registration required
http://tinyurl.com/trans-and-singing

New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus: https://sfcmc.org/new-voices-bay-area-tigq-chorus/

Photos:
New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus launch
Credit:Salma Salman

Video still NVBA at Trans Day of Remembrance 2018_1
Credit: FeinMentschFilms

Video still NVBA at Trans Day of Remembrance 2018_2
Credit: FeinMentschFilms

Video: New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus at Transgender Day of Remembrance 11/20/18
Credit: FeinMentschFilms

Available interviews:
Reuben Zellman, New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus Director
Jonathan Smucker, CMC Voice Department Chair
Julie Rulyak Steinberg, CMC Executive Director

About Community Music Center:
Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,600 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more about CMC at www.sfcmc.org and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Groundbreaking UCSF study finds community choirs reduce loneliness and increase interest in life for older adults

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Sylvia Sherman, Community Music Center, Program Director
415-647-6015 x172, Ssherman@sfcmc.org

Groundbreaking UCSF study finds community choirs reduce loneliness and increase interest in life for older adults

  • Community of Voices Trial is a collaboration of UCSF, Community Music Center (CMC), and the SF Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS)
  • UCSF, CMC, and DAAS release Community of Voices Study Choir Program Manual about how to create community choirs for older adults

San Francisco, CA (November 9, 2018)—Community Music Center (CMC) keeps older adults singing throughout neighborhoods in San Francisco, serving nearly 400 adults every year. These community choirs were first developed out of the five-year Community of Voices (COV) trial led by UC San Francisco (UCSF) and in collaboration with CMC and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS).

CMC began its work on the Community of Voices research study in 2012 that aimed to examine whether singing in a community choir is a cost-effective way to promote health and well-being among culturally diverse older adults. Community of Voices choirs were led by choir directors and accompanists from the Community Music Center. Music was culturally tailored for each choir, appropriate for older adults with various singing abilities, and challenging enough to facilitate growth and mastery over time.

The results of this study have just been released in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences study online Nov. 9, 2018. One important finding is that singing in a choir reduced loneliness and increased an interest in life.

“We hear from our older adult choir members all the time how singing in the choirs lifts their spirits, but it’s wonderful to get this confirmation from a research study about the impact of singing in a choir for older adults. We are grateful to UCSF and Julene Johnson for their work on this,” comments Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director, Community Music Center.

Overall, the UCSF researchers found that older adults who sang in a choir for six months experienced significant improvements in loneliness and interest in life. “Our current health and social systems are not prepared to help support our rapidly increasing population of older adults,” said lead author Julene Johnson, PhD, associate dean for research and professor in the UCSF School of Nursing. “For instance, there’s a high percentage who experience loneliness and social isolation, and depression also is relatively high. There’s a need to develop novel approaches to help older adults stay engaged in the community and also stay connected.”

A potential novel approach is to engage them in the arts, as they can be offered in the community, are relatively low cost to deliver, are engaging, and can be culturally tailored. One option is community choirs, as about 32.5 million U.S. adults regularly sing in choirs.

“The choir has made a big change in my life. The experience was wonderful with Community of Voices program, and I wanted to continue singing after the study ended. The choir has helped me with my breathing, with getting me out of the house and meeting new people – things that would not have happened without the choir”, says Isabel Heredia, who sings with the CMC Solera Singers of the Mission Neighborhood Center and the CMC 30th Street choirs.

Along with findings about the community choirs reducing loneliness and increasing interest in life, no substantial group differences occurred in the cognitive or physical outcomes or for health care costs.

“We were a little surprised not to see improvements in cognitive and physical function, especially because the literature, although small, suggested there should be improvements,” Johnson said. “However, our study is one of the first randomized controlled trials of a choir intervention, whereas the others were cross-sectional or did not randomly assign the participants.”

“More research is needed on how choirs improve well-being and the potential long-term health impacts,” said Johnson, who served on a 25-person panel of the National Institutes of Health and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on music and the brain, with results published in March 2018 in Neuron. The National Institutes of Health have just released three new requests for proposals to support research on music and health.

Each of the 12 choirs created during the five-year COV study continues to sing, having transitioned out of the study and into CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program. CMC older adult choirs are in partnership with San Francisco neighborhood senior centers, are tuition free, and open to people 55 and older.

The choirs in the CMC Older Adult Choir Program are:

Along with the release of the Community of Voices Study (COV) results, a Community of Voices Study Choir Program Manual about how to create a community choir for older adults was also released. This manual, developed by UCSF, CMC, and DAAS, provides information about the key components of the choir program, including how to select choir directors and accompanists, choosing repertoire, running a rehearsal, vocal and physical warm-ups, the role of performances, vocal considerations for older adults, and sustaining a choir program.

Information on the CMC Older Adult Choir Program:

https://sfcmc.org/adults/older-adult-choir-program/

Photos:
CMC 30th Street and Coro Solera Older Adult Choirs performance
Photo: Kelsey Ogden

CMC I.T. Bookman, Western Addition, Bayview Older Adult Choirs at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Photo: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival/Alice Lin

CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir at City Hall Lunch Concert
Photo: Eugenia Mann

Available interviews:
Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director, Community Music Center
Sylvia Sherman, Program Director, Community Music Center
María Cora, Older Adult Choir Coordinator, Community Music Center
Older Adult Choir members

Community of Voices Trial Funding: The study was supported by the National Institute of Aging (R01AG042526, P30AG15272) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1 TR000004) to UCSF. Anna Nápoles, PhD, MPH, of the National Institutes of Health, was partly supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Community of Voices article in Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences


Community of Voices Study Choir Program Manual


UCSF Press Release

About Community Music Center (CMC): CMC was founded in 1921, with the mission of making music accessible to all people, regardless of their financial status. CMC worked with Julene Johnson, principal investigator of the Community of Voices study, to develop and deliver the Community of Voices choir program. Each of the 12 choirs created for the study continues to sing, now as part of CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program which continues to grow. During 2017- 2018, CMC served over 2,700 students of all ages and levels and financial backgrounds and offered more than $2M in tuition assistance.

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