Community Newsletter
July 2021
Dear Friends of East Bay Center,

Summer classes have ended, and our staff and faculty are preparing for a return to in-person instruction in the fall! We are finalizing a reopening plan with an emphasis on keeping our community safe, and we will share the details of how we will be welcoming our students back to the Center in the coming months. We are grateful for how adaptable our students and families have been during this challenging time of virtual learning, and we are truly excited to be able to begin making art together again in-person. 
In the meantime, for inspiration we have highlighted some of the work and accomplishments of our students and faculty during our spring and summer sessions, including an original dance theater piece from our resident company Iron Triangle Urban Ballet (ITUB), and a recap of the college prep portion of our Student Support Services. 

We wish you a safe and fun rest of the summer, and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

Staff Members, Faculty Artists, and Board of Directors
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Pictured above: East Bay Center's Richmond Chamber Ensemble performing in the 2021 Young Artist Repertory Series concert.
"The Unspoken" - A New Dance Theater Piece from East Bay Center
Over the past year, our students have been writing poetry, music, plays, and choreographing dance. Some have been doing it all. One of the pieces that really resonated with us, "The Unspoken," is a collective work by the students of our Iron Triangle Urban Ballet (Mariel Bernal, Salihah Cann-Polentz, Isabelle Moudgil, Lena Moulton and Sicily Reizeck), under the direction of Miya Hisaka. In this work – nearly sixteen minutes long – the students made dances examining their feelings during the shutdown. We have heard many words about the pandemic season and the nature of what young people are experiencing in communities like Richmond. We think this piece adds another layer to the complexity. Check out the piece in its entirety by clicking the video above!
Young Artist Repertory Series Concert 2021
Last month, we held our annual Young Artist Repertory Series concert, showcasing the work of our resident companies over the last year. This virtual concert celebrates our 29th season of presenting new works by East Bay Center for the Performing Arts resident youth companies. Click on the video above to see presentations from the Richmond Chamber Ensemble, Voices of Reason, and Iron Triangle Urban Ballet!
One Student's Pandemic Journey
Click below to hear part of an original composition Yaya (Gianmarcos) wrote for a work in progress last month!
We wrote about "Yaya" in March 2020, working on his music theory and struggling with a landlord who would not allow him to practice his saxophone in his family's Richmond apartment, even during the lockdown. After experiencing months of stasis, his mother moved the family to Georgia so she could take a job there while Yaya kept up online with his school and music work at the Center – especially with his Jazz mentor, Howard Wiley, East Bay Center's Jazz Faculty Chair. This spring, Yaya moved back to the East Bay and participated in a workshop project with guest faculty Lisa Mezzacappa and Beth Lisick. Along with four recent Young Artist Diploma alumni – Alyssa Villanueva (aka Essa Vilanue), Kalin Freeman (aka KJ Focus), Maria Figueroa, and Heaven Robinson, Yaya worked on an original theater/film project exploring what makes a home and learning about what goes into making an opera. This summer, Yaya will participate in a five-week program at Berklee College of Music in Boston on full scholarship, thanks to the Center's special partnership with the College. In September, Yaya will continue studying at the Center while applying to colleges around the country. Stay tuned for more from a student whose smile is as deep as his perseverance.
Summer College Prep Recap
Our Summer College Prep class series has just concluded! Over the past 5 weeks, students learned how to use the Common App vs. the Coalition App to apply for college, and were given support around accessing and beginning the application process for HBCUs, schools in the Cal State and University of California systems, and the specific requirements for performing arts schools. Students also learned techniques for writing compelling answers to the Personal Insight Questions (PIQs) on UC applications, and were introduced to financial aid opportunities like the Richmond Promise and UCLA Regents scholarships. Finally, students learned techniques and shared their own tips around maintaining positive mental health during the application process. We’re looking forward to starting our College Prep classes again in mid-September! In the meantime, if you have any questions about these classes, please contact our College Prep Coordinator, Akwasi Abrefah (bio below), at    
Akwasi Abrefah is a steelpan player who performs and teaches in the Bay, as well as around the world. He was born in Oakland, CA and raised in Richland, WA where, at the age of 9, he started playing steelpan. Through middle school and high school, he traveled around the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. playing with bands OK 2 Botay and Bram Bratá before continuing with Cardinal Calypso in college at Stanford University where he also graduated with a B.S. in Earth Systems. Akwasi currently wears many hats lecturing at Stanford University, teaching elementary school music in Richmond, coordinating college application preparation at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, holding private lessons, and apprenticing as a steelpan builder.
Faculty Spotlight: Dana Salzman
Voice and Piano Faculty, Voices of Reason Co-Director
Pianist, singer, composer, producer, and musical director Dana Salzman creates funky, flavorful tunes that re-imagine jazz, funk, hip-hop, soul, Latin, and R&B music, and illuminate her sultry voice, fine-tuned piano technique and talent for composition and arrangement. An enthusiastic collaborator and mistress of improvisation, she blends together fresh beats and lyrics into vivid arrangements that ignite all five senses and explore the intense dimensions of raw human emotion. Salzman began to study piano at age four with her mother, an accomplished Russian pianist, and went on to study jazz formally – eventually earning a degree from the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Salzman has had the opportunity to work closely with many celebrated musicians and songwriters during her career, including Mike Marshall (Timex Social Club), Tony Flores (Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack), Pete Escovedo, Rappin Forte, Samuelle Prater (Club Neaveau), Heartafiya and more. She has also played at notable East and West Coast U.S. venues, such as S.O.B.s and Joe’s Pub in New York City; the Brooklyn Art Museum (BAM); Yoshi’s Oakland, The Fenix in San Rafael, Slims SF, Jupiter Berkeley, the Oakland Museum of California, street fairs, and others. She has also performed overseas at Duc De Lombard in Paris, the Reduta in Prague, L’Archduc in Brussels, and the Hotel Ellington in Berlin. Now based in Oakland, CA, Salzman does all her own production, writing, and arranging and is also an in-demand piano and voice teacher. She has released four acclaimed solo albums that are available on all platforms – It’s Out of Your Hands (2007), Rising (2010), Deep Down (2014), and Unfold (2020) – and has music on rotation at several radio stations across the country: KPFA (Berkeley); KPOO (San Francisco); KPFK (Los Angeles); KUVO (Denver) and WBAI and WAER (New York). 
"A Great Space for Music"
Berkeley Symphony records John Adams conducting his composition "Shaker Loops" in the Center’s Iron Triangle Theater
This spring, Berkeley Symphony Artistic Director Rene Mandel and a small group of musicians from the Symphony’s Chamber Ensemble took advantage of the Center’s quiet space – and pandemic precautions - to make a handful of recordings that included composer John Adams conducting his 1978 work for string septet. One of Adams' more frequently performed pieces, some may recall the scene from the autobiographical movie Barfly where the poet Bukowski writes poems in a fit of inspiration to the accompaniment of the insistent buzz of "Shaking and Trembling.” Frequently used as music for dance, we have provided a link to the entire recording here, including a pandemic-inspired dance collaboration with Berkeley Ballet Theater. Now in the works are exchanges between the Center and the Symphony, new resources - and new friends - for our classical music students. Stay tuned for more next fall.
Celebrating the Blues in Richmond
Howard Wiley, East Bay Center's Jazz & Blues Faculty Director, will lead a group of local musicians representing the Center at this celebration of late Richmond blues legend Jimmy McCracklin. Their repertoire will include recently composed, original blues pieces by Howard!
Words from our Alumni Mixer!
In May, the Center held our first Alumni Mixer, where East Bay Center alumni from throughout the Center's 53 years – as well as some faculty and staff – gathered virtually to reconnect with the Center and each other. We are looking forward to having several more alumni mixers in the next few months, as well as more opportunities for alumni to be involved at the Center. In the meantime, we wanted to give you a sample of some of the beautiful words that were shared about the Center from alumni as part of the six-word sentences activity at our last mixer! Stay tuned for our next Alumni Mixer on September 14th.
Faculty Member Lolis is a NALAC Leadership Institute Fellow!
We are proud to announce that Dolores Garcia (Lolis) was selected as a 2021 NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts & Culture) Leadership Institute Fellow. This is the 21st edition of the Leadership Institute and 38 artists, cultural workers, and arts administrators participated virtually from July 12-16. Fellows represent 13 states and Puerto Rico and 13 different artistic disciplines and join a community of more than 500 alumni. The NALAC Leadership Institute brings emerging and established Latinx artists and arts administrators from across the nation for intensive training in nonprofit arts management and leadership development. To learn more, go to: 
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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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