Eva “Nena” Aldaz: Going full circle

October 18, 2021

A Musical Upbringing

As part of our Centennial Celebrations, the Mission District Young Musicians Program (MDYMP) will be presenting a special intergenerational performance at Acción Latina’s community art stroll Paseo Artístico: History Matters in the Mission on Saturday October 23rd. This event will highlight alumni in collaboration with the young musicians and feature an appearance by beloved local superstar and CMC alum La Doña (Cecilia Peña-Govea). Older adult choir members from the Mission District will also be singing with the ensemble, making for three generations of CMC students performing together!

One of the alumni performing at Paseo Artístico will be Eva “Nena” Aldaz. During her high school years growing up in Bernal Heights, she was a member of MDYMP, which included free weekly voice lessons. She describes her musical upbringing at CMC as “invaluable.” Aldaz credits Martha Rodríguez Salazar, her vocal coach in MDYMP, with introducing her to classical music. The education and support she received in this CMC program gave Aldaz the confidence and passion to pursue music professionally. She received a degree in vocal performance from UC Irvine and then received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music this past May.

“Martha and all the other teachers in MDYMP saw a lot of potential in me,” said Aldaz. “They encouraged me and gave me a lot of confidence.”

Going Full Circle

Now Aldaz is the vocal coach for MDYMP and a private voice faculty member. She describes the process of becoming a CMC faculty member in 2019 as “going full circle.”

Aldaz explained, “Being in the community, learning from the teachers at CMC, and then being able to give back through teaching is amazing.”

As a new teacher in MDYMP, she found the same support from colleagues that she experienced as a student. Aldaz shared, “The other teachers have supported me through everything. They wanted me to succeed. They wanted me to have a job in the field that I studied for. They wanted me to keep doing music and spreading that to our community as well. I am honored to do that.”

The importance of CMC in the lives of youth cannot be overstated in Aldaz’s opinion. “It’s so important, said Aldaz. “We still had Zoom classes for MDYMP during the pandemic. Even though sometimes the kids had their cameras off or would not come to class, we still made it a point to check in with them and make sure that they were doing okay. Besides providing support during the pandemic, providing music lessons is what the community needs. People need music in their lives. It teaches us so many different things across so many different disciplines. Music education is important. It brings the community together.”

CMC at Paseo Artístico: History Matters in the Mission

Saturday, October 23 at 3:30pm outside Adobe Books, 3130 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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