Community Newsletter
April 2021
Dear Friends of East Bay Center,

It's April, which means we're celebrating National Jazz Month and National Poetry Month at the Center! Pictured above is long time Center faculty member and jazz drummer, Achyutan Pattillo (see bio below). This month's newsletter also features our very own Managing Director/jazz pianist Ruthie Dineen, recently returned from maternity leave! Finally, we highlight faculty member Joe Orrach, whose students wrote beautiful poems for his Poetry Rhythm Performance Slam class (which you can read here).

We are so proud of our students who have remained motivated and inspired during the last year of virtual classes and performances, and Center staff will continue to monitor the COVID situation locally and statewide to determine a plan for returning to in-person instruction once it is deemed safe to do so. For now though, we continue to engage students and families through virtual instruction, and will keep our community informed as our pandemic response evolves over the coming months.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay inspired!

Staff Members, Faculty Artists, and Board of Directors
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Achyutan Pattillo (pictured above) has been a professional drummer for over 40 years, with musical roots that go back to Kansas City where he studied at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and played drums for five years with the legendary Jay McShann. He performed with jazz greats John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Archie Shepp and Ruswell Rudd. He enjoyed concert tours in Italy and France with Gato Barbieri and played throughout the East Coast with the late Pony Poindexter, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and Booker Ervin. He has recorded with many jazz legends including Pharoah Sanders and Sonny Simmons and has mentored more than a few generations of great professional drummers. Achyutan joined East Bay Center as a faculty artist in 1998.

Save the Date: One Thousand Steps Share-Out
We hope you will join us this Saturday, May 1st at 1pm for One Thousand Steps, where some Center group classes will share what they've learned this fall!
Save the Date: Soul Endeavor Private Lesson Recitals
Join us on May 28, 2021 for an evening of recitals showcasing the work of our private lesson students over the last semester!
Still Accepting Young Artist Diploma Program (YADP) Applications for 2021

  • The deadline for submitting YADP applications for 2021 is Friday, April 30th
  • Due to limited space this year, the Center will prioritize applicants with a love of the arts and who are entering the 7th and 8th grades in the Fall of 2021.
  • Click here for more information on the Diploma Program, as well as to access the online application form.
East Bay Center Accepting Vehicle Donations
We are once again accepting vehicle donations! If you are interested in donating a vehicle, please fill out our online donation form, or call 855-500-7433. Donating is easy, the pick-up is free, and your gift is tax-deductible!
Staff Spotlight: Ruthie Dineen

Ruthie Dineen, the Center’s Managing Director, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, pianist, composer, and most recently a new parent! Ruthie grew up in the Bay Area; her mother’s family is El Salvadoran and her father’s Irish-American. Bilingual in Spanish and English, Ruthie is now learning Hebrew with her daughter, Amaya!  

Before working at East Bay Center, Ruthie studied at UC Berkeley (music and history), lived abroad in Costa Rica and Chile, taught piano at a youth center, completed a year of service through AmeriCorps working in family resource centers, and taught ESL at the adult school in Fairfield. Upon completing her Masters in Social Work and an internship in North Richmond, Ruthie landed at East Bay Center in 2009. 

Ruthie started at the Center as the Outreach Development & Student Services Coordinator, and then in 2011 became the Center’s Deputy Director of Programs, and currently is the Center’s Managing Director. Ruthie teaches piano, musicianship, and composition at the Center and serves on the Executive Committee of the Healthy Richmond Hub Steering Board. While working full time at the Center, Ruthie also received a Bachelors in Music from the California Jazz Conservatory in 2012, on full scholarship. She believes strongly in the Center’s mission, vision, and values, including the transformative power of the arts.

Ruthie is also a founding member and co-leader of two original music ensembles, RDL+ and Negative Press Project, with whom she performs, tours, arranges, and composes regularly. Dineen performs, arranges and composes for a wide range of jazz, Latin, salsa, and classical musicians and groups in the Bay Area, including vocalist/percussionist Christelle Durandy, members of the Amaranth String Quartet, Bululú.
Check out some of Ruthie’s work during Covid:
Dineen co-arranged (with Center alum Ayla Davila!) and played on Bululú’s original composition, Bengali
Dineen playing Rhodes on Maria Jose Montijo’s most recent release, Lejos de Ti.
Faculty Spotlight: Joe Orrach

Actor, choreographer, dancer and story-teller, Joe Orrach began as a welterweight champion boxer in the US Air Force before turning to dance. After raising 3 daughters in metropolitan NY, Joe moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2002, where he performed various lead characters with Teatro Zinzanni for 7 years. While still performing, Joe decided to pursue a BA in Humanities through the St. Mary’s College LEAP program for dancers who interrupted their educations. He later went on to receive his MFA in acting at USC, as a way to “connect the dots” in his path from dancer to choreographer, creator, and educator. Joe has danced with Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, the Nicholas Brothers, Jimmy Slyde, and Michelle Dorrance. Joe’s best-known original work, "In My Corner," an autobiographical tap dance-theater piece about a young Puerto Rican/Italian boy growing up in the Bronx, is told in spoken narrative, song, tap dance, salsa, boxing, and jump rope. He also uses the work as an outreach tool, as well as in workshops for students and underserved communities. He has conceived, directed, choreographed, and performed original works including "STReet/FeaT," "Roughing It Up," and "The Boxer," and has choreographed Terrence Blanchard's opera in jazz, "CHAMPION," at SFJAZZ (reprising his role with the Washington National Opera at Kennedy Center, where he played the speedbag as a percussive instrument with a symphony orchestra). Joe premiered his new play, "Everything Begins at Dawn," in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2019. Joe currently teaches storytelling, acting and movement classes for all ages. Joe joined the artistic faculty at East Bay Center in 2016.

Student Spotlight: Caleb Monteiro

Caleb is a 3rd year Diploma student at the Center, and is currently a 9th grader at Leadership Charter High School in Richmond. 
Since entering the Young Artist Diploma Program, Caleb has taken many classes at the Center, including steel pan, ballet, hip-hop, West African drumming and dance, musical theater, improv theater, and traditional Mexican music and dance. His artistic focus at the Center is theater and singing, and, in addition to group classes, Caleb takes private lessons with musical theater faculty Eliza O’Malley. He is popular among his peers, and loves to MC at community events. A dedicated student of the Center, Caleb is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Quinn, a talented drummer who also graduated from the Young Artist Diploma Program.
Are you a Center alum? Join us for a virtual mixer to reconnect with the Center and fellow alumni!
Meet Tanya Marie, East Bay Center's Newest Theater Faculty!
Tanya Marie is a Boston native and recent transplant to the Bay Area after 7 years living in Paris, France. She has worked internationally in film, television, radio, and theater, and is excited to be back on the American stage, as well as in the classroom with young aspiring artists! Some of Tanya’s favorite works that she has been involved in include: "Oskar" (TheatreWorks), "Oslo" (Los Altos Stage Company), "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" (San Jose Stage Company), "Ballerina" (animated feature, Paris), "A Collection of Stories" (Word for Word/French Tour), "Dr. Junod" (animated feature, Paris), "Café" Winnipesaukee (Whitebridge Farm Productions), "L’Amour(or less…)" (tv pilot, Paris), Company Member with DramaTies (Paris), and many more! In this new era of "Covid theater," Tanya has recently had the privilege of filming Jane Austen’s "Persuasion" (San Jose Stage Company) and has signed on for the upcoming Zoom reading of "Henry V" (African American Shakespeare Company). In addition to acting, Tanya has been a teaching artist and public speaking coach since 2010 in both France and the United States. 
Vote for East Bay Center in the "Best of Parents Press" contest! By voting for the Center, you will help us gain even more visibility in our community (as well as some significant bragging rights).

It’s easy to vote! 
  • Just go to:  
  • Then, choose the first category, “Camps,” and vote for the Center in the two sub-categories listed below. FYI - you will be asked to provide an email address when you cast your first vote.
  • Next, choose the second category, “Classes & Enrichment Programs,” and vote for the Center in the six sub-categories listed below.
  • Voting closes on Monday, May 17 at 11:00PM

Category: Camps
> Performing Arts Summer Camp
> Teen Focused Summer Camp
Category: Classes & Enrichment Programs
> Ballet Classes
> Classes for Musical Instrument Instruction
> Dance Classes
> Early Childhood Family Music Class
> Enrichment and After-School Programs
> Theater and Performing Arts Classes

Thank you!
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East Bay Center is grateful for the support of:

AmazonSmile, Anonymous Foundation, Anonymous Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation, Anonymous Fund at Vanguard Charitable, Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, Bandcamp Inc., Beneficial State Bank Foundation, Berklee City Music Network, Louis L. Borick Foundation, California Arts Council, The California Endowment, Mark Cavagnero Associates, Chamberlin Family Foundation, City of Richmond, Clif Bar Family Foundation, Contra Costa County CDBG Program, Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation, COVID-19: A Just East Bay Response Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, S.H. Cowell Foundation, Crankstart, D’Addario Foundation, Dale Fund of the SF Foundation, John Derning Fund of the SF Foundation, Dodge & Cox, ELMA Music Foundation, Equity Community Builders, Farella Braun + Martel LLP, Fenwick Family Foundation, Fullerton Family Foundation of the Marin Community Foundation, GEICO, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation – Special Award in the Arts, Golden Gate Meats, Bill Graham Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation, Hellman Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ifshin Violin, Interactive Resources, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Kaiser Permanente, The Kresge Foundation, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Richard & Emily Levin Foundation, Levin Richmond Terminal Corp, Littler Mendelson Foundation, Mechanics Bank, Meyer Sound Laboratories, Moca Fund at Schwab Charitable, National Endowment for the Arts, New West Company, Overaa Construction, Pacific Harmony Foundation, Quest Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Irene S. Scully Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation, Sequoia Trust of the San Francisco Foundation, Morris Stulsaft Foundation, Tencue, Travis Credit Union, Wareham Development, Wells Fargo Bank, Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation, Wolfgang Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation, Zalec Familian & Lilian Levinson Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts COVID Response Fund, and Corporate Employee Gift Programs at Adobe, AT&T, Autodesk, Bank of America, Chevron, Clorox, Dolby, GE, Kaiser, LPL Investors, Oracle, PG&E, Semantec, UPS, Wells Fargo, Verisk, Walt Disney and City, State, Federal employees.
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