Community Newsletter
March 2021
Dear Friends of East Bay Center,

In honor of Women's History Month, this newsletter will highlight a number of amazing women (staff, faculty, students, and alumni) at the Center who advance our mission each and every day, whether they are brand new to the team or have been with us for decades. One of these longtime colleagues is our Managing Director Ruthie Dineen, who we are thrilled to have back at the helm after returning this month from maternity leave!

Women’s History Month was initially just International Women's Day, a day that commemorated the February 28 meeting of socialists and suffragists in Manhattan in 1909. It wasn’t widely celebrated in the US until the United Nations began sponsoring it in 1975. In 1977, in order to persuade school principals to comply with the recently passed Title IX, a task force in California created Women’s History Week. They used that week to celebrate the accomplishments of women. In March 1980, after celebrations had spread across the country, President Jimmy Carter declared that March 8 was officially the start of National Women's History Week. By 1987, Congress declared the entire month of March Women's History Month. Since then, every president has declared the month of March Women's History Month.

We are lucky to count on a team of strong and dedicated women to help guide the Center through these unprecedented times, and we look forward to their continued leadership in the months and years to come. 

In love and solidarity,

Staff Members, Faculty Artists, and Board of Directors
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
We Honor Three Longtime Women Faculty Artists at East Bay Center
Janet Woodhams

Janet Woodhams received her BA degree from UC Berkeley with a major in Music. After graduating she traveled to Europe to pursue further studies in flute performance in both Paris, France and Rome, Italy. She subsequently traveled to South Africa to work with the Broadcasting Orchestra in Johannesburg, the Durban Symphony, and then the music conservatory in Windhoek, Namibia. Returning to the Bay Area in 1973, she reconnected with two friends from her UC time – Rae Imamura and Dick Letts – who were involved in creating the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in the late 1960’s. Ms. Woodhams was invited to teach flute and, except for a hiatus to raise her two sons, she has continued teaching to the present. She also performed regularly with various Bay Area symphony, opera, and ballet orchestras. In 2007, after 29 years of dedication, she retired from the flute section of the renowned Cabrillo Music Festival of Contemporary Music. Playing chamber music has always been important to Ms. Woodhams. She is currently a member of several Bay Area music clubs where she performs as a member of a flute trio.
Betty Ladzekpo

Betty Ladzekpo has been a faculty artist with East Bay Center since 1985. She is a principal dancer with the Ladzekpo Brothers African Music and Dance ensemble. Some of the highlights of her career include: principal dancer with Ladzekpo Brothers African Music & Dance Ensemble, performances at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (featured in the TV documentary “African Dance at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival which premiered in 1988 on PBS), San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, African Cultural Festival (“The Afrikans Are Coming”), teaching at Great Britain's Black Dance Development Trust's special summer schools for Black Dance Professionals in Europe. One of the highlights of her career was performing several times in Anyako, Ghana, a small Anlo Ewe town, the home of her husband’s family. Ms. Ladzekpo continues to teach dance in the Berkeley Unified School District (she started in 1978). During this time, she is most proud that her student dance groups were invited to perform at the California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony in Anaheim for two years. She received her undergraduate degree in African Dance from UC Berkeley.
Candace Sanderson

Candace Sanderson (Candy) was a member of the San Diego Symphony for 5 years, moving to the Bay Area in 1981 to play with the Oakland Symphony (now, the Oakland East Bay Symphony), where she remains a member. Through the Symphony’s Muse Program, she has taught in the Oakland Schools for the last 10 years and at the Center for 8 years. She also plays with the Berkeley and Fremont Symphonies. She is a member of the Luna Nova quartet, and Mt. Tamalpais string quartet. Ms. Sanderson studied trumpet at San Diego State University. During the pandemic, she has been involved in violin duets and quartets with Tim Kraus (Center volunteer), performing in a Beethoven Sonata in A Minor with pianist Margret Elson (former faculty member and current Center volunteer), and rehearsing virtually with Mary Lou Williams Apartment, an all-woman jazz ensemble. 
Now Accepting Young Artist Diploma Program 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.
Tutoring and Academic Support at the Center
East Bay Center offers tutoring and academic support for all active main site students. Sign up here for your first one-on-one tutoring session!

NEW Tutoring Hotline: 510-470-9324
Students and parents are welcome to call this number to leave a message about a student's academic needs. One of our tutors will respond within 48 hours.
Faculty Artist Lolis Garcia featured in
the San Francisco Chronicle!

One of our young faculty artists, Dolores “Lolis” Garcia (who’s from Richmond and started as a student at the Center when she was 9 years old) was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as a participant in the "Creatives in Place" listening project. Check out the full article online here! Lolis is now Associate Director of Student Development & Training at the Center, as well as Co-Director of one of our resident performing companies, Son de la Tierra.
Student Spotlight: Naja JiJaga

Currently a student at Middle College High School in San Pablo, CA, Naja will be attending Boston University in the fall on a full scholarship. At the Center, Naja plays upright bass in the intermediate jazz band, and takes classes in West African dance and drumming. At school, Naja is the captain of the Pinole Valley Girls Varsity Basketball team, and was the Junior class president (she is now in her senior year). Naja's contributions to the larger community include working as a UC Berkeley COVID-19 Prison Research Assistant, a Veteran's Resource Center Intern at Contra Costa College, and a Greater Richmond Interfaith Program Intern. She has also been recognized for her work at school and in the community by being named a Boston University Posse Scholar, the District Winner of the International High School Essay Contest, and a Students Rising Above Scholar.
Meet Deborah Preston, Human Resources Manager
at East Bay Center!
We are thrilled to welcome Deborah, who joins the Center as our first ever Human Resources Manager. Deborah comes to us with senior experience as Director of Administrative Services at UC Berkeley’s International House and previously held the role of Human Resources/Labor Relations Manager. She also served as Assistant Director of Human Resources for Contra Costa County and Acting Human Resources Manager at the Port of Oakland where she worked for 22 years and held progressively responsible positions. Deborah has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from St. Mary’s College and is actively pursuing her Senior Certified Professional certification through the Society of HR Professionals (SHRM). She is also involved with California’s Public Employee Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA). Having grown up in Richmond, Deborah has deep connections to our community and brings both wisdom and warmth to her new post. She has expressed her excitement about her new role at the Center as she has a passion for helping the Richmond community.

Make a difference while you shop. Search for gifts at generate donations for East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. 
East Bay Center is grateful for the support of:

Adobe Community Giving, 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, S.H. Cowell Foundation, Crankstart, Crescent Porter Hale Foundation, 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, 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, Koret Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Richard & Emily Levin Foundation, Levin Richmond Terminal Corp, Littler Mendelson Foundation, Mechanics Bank, Meyer Sound Laboratories, Moca Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New West Company, Overaa Construction, Pacific Harmony Foundation, Anon Fund of the Peace Development Fund, 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, Wayne & Gladys Valley Foundation, 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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