Community Music Center kicks off virtual Field Day

Festive annual performance marathon raises funds for scholarships

Community Music Center voice teacher Jonathan Smucker, accompanied by by Michael Mohammed, appeared in the first program of the organization’s annual Field Day fundraiser in the first of a week-long series on Facebook.(Courtesy photo)

Community Music Center’s annual fundraising performance marathon is officially underway.

The nearly 100-year-old San Francisco institution providing music training for people of all ethnicities, ages, interests and skill levels is holding its virtual Field Day, broadcasting music by students, teachers and friends, at noon every day from June 1-7, on the center’s web and Facebook pages.

In a greeting via email in the wake of the pandemic and protests over the death of George Floyd, CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg said, “Our hearts go out to the communities and families who are suffering right now because of the ongoing impacts of racism. We acknowledge the hurt and pain in our community, and we stand in solidarity with those who seek justice. It has always been CMC’s mission to bring together a diverse and vibrant community through the unifying power of music. We hope the power of music uplifts you during this chaotic and painful time in the country.”

Monday’s opening lineup began with vocalist Christelle Durandy with the Grammy-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra. A little over an hour later, mask-clad pianists Zein Anderson and Felix Elhauge-Roniger, billed as Señors Duo, closed the event, playing their original song “Blue Hole City.”

Offerings in between included voice teacher Jonathan Smucker, accompanied by Michael Mohammed on keyboard, singing “Rainbow Connection” and vocal student Manuela Pennes performing her original composition “Mensaje al Coronavirus.”

Some 200 participants in Field Day (or what the center is calling CMC-palooza!) are raising money for music scholarships.

Field Day, the fourth annual “performathon” — which typically takes place at CMC’s main Mission campus on Capp Street — is named after Gertrude Field, who founded the nonprofit in 1921 with the mission of offering everyone access to music and music instruction; today’s curriculum includes lessons on more than 30 instruments as well as vocal training.

To watch this week’s live and recorded programs, visit https://sfcmc.org/field-day-broadcast/ or https://www.facebook.com/CommunityMusicCenterSF/.

To donate, go to https://give.classy.org/FieldDay2020.

lkatz@sfexaminer.com

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