Virtual Field Day: A week of music and reflection

Jazz vocalist Faye Carol was one of the celebrity performers at Virtual Field Day. Listen HERE.

The CMC community united around the power of music during Virtual Field Day, which took place June 1 through 7 with a week-long broadcast of inspiring musical performances by CMC students, faculty, and friends. The week also coincided with the eruption of protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Because of the widespread civil unrest taking place, Virtual Field Day also became a moment for CMC to pause and reflect on the continuing impacts of racism both locally and throughout the country.

“For the last several weeks, CMC has excitedly been preparing to launch our Virtual Field Day celebrations scheduled to start today,” said Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director, in an email to the CMC community on June 1. “However, we need to pause and reflect on the pain and turmoil in our world. Our hearts go out to the communities and families who are suffering right now because of the ongoing impacts of racism.”

CMC followed up with a statement asserting the organization’s commitment to anti-racism and solidarity with the black community seeking justice for police brutality and wrongful deaths.

Spotlight on music and creativity
The Virtual Field Day broadcast live-streamed 185 performances in recorded videos showcasing talented community members of all music levels with a vast array of genres and styles represented. Performances included music celebrities such as Latin jazz vocalist Christelle Durandy with the Grammy-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra and Faye Carol, local jazz legend. There were videos from some of CMC’s tuition-free programs, such as the Children’s Chorus and the Older Adult Choir Program, which showed not only performances, but also the processes of remote learning being utilized. The Young Musicians Program graduates recorded testimonial videos for their graduations and the Mission District Young Musicians Program seniors shared solo performances to mark their transitions out of the program.

The creativity of the video production to create an “ensemble sound” was an unexpected boon of the broadcasts. Max Gleason, a member of the Teen Jazz Orchestra, recorded a music video of himself playing all the instruments in the song he submitted. Brandie Norris/The Real Brandita, voice student of Jonathan Smucker, shared an original hip-hop inspired composition and highly produced music video.

Faculty supporting students
Faculty members helped students with accompaniment and video editing as well. Heidi Kim, in a project funded by the CMC Faculty Stimulus Grant, created duet videos with her students and edited the videos in a split-screen format. She also created “The Twinkle Project,” a seven minute long group piece of her students performing, which included accompaniment on piano, live-cartooning, and footage from the students’ daily lives. Elmira Lagundi, Older Adult Choir member, performed a duet with fellow choir member Wally Tettamanti, with accompaniment and editing by faculty members Martha Rodríguez Salazar and Jennifer Peringer. The Virtual Field Day broadcasts provided not only great music, but a candid look into the lives of CMC students and faculty, as they’ve been sheltering-in-place.

Fundraising challenge
To date, the Virtual Field Day participants have raised $60,700. The original goal of $60,000 was successfully reached and a stretch goal of $75,000 has been set. The additional funds will support online summer music camps for ages 8–18 and the Older Adult Choir Program through the summer, as well as support CMC operations and faculty salaries. The deadline for donations is June 30 and can be made at the link below.

Donate to Virtual Field Day