CMC Boosts Tuition Assistance Programs to $1.9 Million

Approaching nearly a Century of Service, CMC continues to touch thousands of lives each year with the joy of music; Founder Gertrude Field to be honored during November 20 community celebration

SAN FRANCISCO, November 14, 2016 –
Operating from a bustling Victorian home on Capp Street in the Mission District, bursting at the seams with music students and faculty, Community Music Center has remained faithful to its 95-year-old mission: To make high quality music programs available to San Francisco residents of all ages, regardless of their financial means.The organization is taking that commitment to higher levels, announcing it will provide nearly $2 million for tuition assistance this school year to bring music study within reach for more people. That figure is up from $1.1 million just three years ago.According to Christopher Borg, Executive Director, “the growth in tuition assistance is due in large part to an increased need and a higher demand for quality, affordable music programs for people of all ages in our community. By boosting our tuition assistance, we hope to touch more lives and introduce students young and old to the joys of music, which is exactly what our founder, Gertrude Field, was passionate about nearly one hundred years ago.”

Gertrude Field’s legacy remains very much alive at Community Music Center. She will be honored at Field Day at CMC on November 20, a celebration expected to attract hundreds of current and former students, families and community supporters for a fun-filled day of musical performances, demonstration classes, entertainment and food.

Field, who started the organization in 1921, was a former nurse, violin teacher and settlement house worker. She directed CMC’s programs until 1946, guided by a straightforward educational philosophy that still resonates today to create a musical atmosphere in the home by giving children the means of expression. Her vision was to be a provider of music that was not art for art’s sake, but art for life’s sake, once saying, “how beautiful, rather than how well played or sung, is the comment one hears oftenest in our classes.”

Over the years, this powerful mission has touched countless lives as CMC continues to grow, thrive and serve an increasingly diverse constituency. Last 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, who range in age from infants to nearly 100 years old. Their musical growth is guided by a faculty of 130 noted professional artists, Grammy Award-winning musicians and nationally recognized teachers. Many are bilingual, and teach in a wide range of styles including jazz, blues, Latin, pop, folk, rock, and classical.

“Through my connection at Community Music Center and my music teachers, I found a new kind of joy in my life,” says Nena Aldaz, a 20-year-old singer who now studies music at UC Irvine. Aldaz was a scholarship recipient during her six years of study at CMC, participating in the Mission District Young Musicians Program. “CMC’s teachers and staff helped nurture my dreams to sing and with the scholarships I received, they gave me the tools to pursue a career that I love.” Nena will return to CMC to sing at the Field Day celebration, along with her two aunts who perform in CMC’s Older Adult Choir program.

Remo del Tredici, a 96-year-old CMC violin student added, “CMC is one of San Francisco’s greatest gems. CMC has so many programs and opportunities; they will work with you to make sure you experience the highest quality of music available. CMC’s community spirit and mission keeps all of us coming back.”

Tuition assistance at CMC consists of sliding scale fee reductions, free programs for youth and for older adults, merit scholarships, family and senior discounts, group class discounts for private lesson students, and a work study program. Free programs include CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program, the CMC Children’s Chorus, Teen Jazz Orchestra, and the award-winning Young Musicians Program.

Students from many of these programs, along with other current and former students, will be featured during Field Day on Sunday, November 20 from noon to 5:00 p.m. Community Music Center is located at 544 Capp Street in the heart of the Mission. The birthday extravaganza will feature CMC’s first-ever “Performathon,” where more than 200 students, guest artists and music enthusiasts at all levels will help raise money for CMC scholarships with more than 70 performances throughout the day.

About Community Music Center: Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC), a Bay Area nonprofit, 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. CMC, based in the Mission District, was established to “be a provider of music that is not art for art’s sake, but art for life’s sake.” CMC serves more than 23,000 people each year, including more than 2,400 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels who enjoy music lessons, programs and concerts at no or low cost.  Learn more about CMC at and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Media Contact: Kevin Herglotz

HPA Strategic Communications