Musician Stevie Wonder has said, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.” It’s an essential form of communication, with or without words, serving as a medium for people from all walks of life to express their deepest thoughts and emotions. That has been the life-long purpose of the Community Music Center, San Francisco’s oldest community arts organization, and it’s annual benefit. It’s a nonprofit organization founded in 1921 with the mission of making high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of their financial status. CMC is the Bay Area’s oldest community arts organization and San Francisco’s largest provider of free and low-cost music classes and concerts. This year’s event honored Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston, Stewards of the Shenson Foundation, which provides support for many of the high-quality concerts we have come to savor here in the Bay Area.

The event was held in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel.  The evening kicked off with cocktails, wine, and a myriad of elegant hors d’oeuvres for all its generous supporters. Once again, the Master of Ceremonies was the joyful, KDFC radio personality, Dianne Nicolini. The Stoltzman duo treated the crowd to a performance from Dave Brubeck’s best known compositions, “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” as well as selections from both George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Also, it featured the 2015 recipient of the CMC Faculty Shenson Award, flamenco and jazz pianist Alex Conde. In addition the CMC Faculty Jazz Trio of Harvey Robb on saxophone, Randy Craig on piano, and Richard Saunders on bass performed with Young Musicians Program Student Aaron Bierman on guitar. Finally, Beth Wilmurt led a performance by the angelic CMC Children’s Chorus.

Music is a powerful tool and as seen can dramatically improve and enrich everybody. It makes sense to push music education and to allow all generations to gain these wonderful benefits. Thankfully, that’s why we have the CMC.

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Emillio Mesa
Author: Emillio Mesa

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