30th Street choir

30th Street Chorus and Solera Singers

Organization Associated with Program
Community Music Center
544 Capp St.
San Francisco, California 94110

The Community Music Center of San Francisco runs the 30th Street Chorus (El Coro de la 30) and Solera Singers (El Coro Solera), which are both free choirs for older adults that predominately serve low-income Latinos. The choirs sing primarily in Spanish, and the repertoire focuses on Latin-American folklore and popular music. Choir members practice, sing, help organize performances, and perform in the community. They learn the music they are to perform and the history behind it. Each group engages participants in an activity that promotes personal growth and social interaction.

Both the 30th Street Chorus and Solera Singers meet once a week for an hour and a half with their choir director and have approximately 25 participating singers. They are both led by professional teaching artists from the Community Music Center and engage in performances throughout the year. Concerts are held at venues such as the Mission Neighborhood Center, Bethany Center Senior Housing, Heritage Senior Residence, Dolores Park (as part of the Cinco de Mayo Festival), and the 30th Street Senior Center.

Program History

The 30th Street Chorus and Solera Singers were launched in February 2011 as a part of the Community Music Center’s effort to expand programming for older adults. The Community Music Center partnered with two different senior centers to begin each choir. These programs have solidified the Center’s relationship with a demographic it was previously unable to serve. Older people have become more involved in the Center as a result of the program.

Founded in 1921, the Community Music Center is the Bay Area’s oldest community arts organization and San Francisco’s largest provider of high-quality, affordable music education. The center has branches in the Mission and Richmond districts and conducts programs throughout the city. The center makes music accessible to people of all ages, musical levels, and financial backgrounds. Classes in a variety of music genres, including Western classical, Chinese, and Latin music, serve students ranging in age from one to over 90 years old.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

These programs are evaluated multiple times throughout the year by means of interviews, individual assessments, attendance numbers, and press reviews. Evaluations are conducted by staff and partner organizations. The Community Music Center is currently working with the University of California to create a comprehensive evaluation system.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Make partners in the community, especially with organizations that complement yours.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Presenting a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in an Ensemble
Arts Discipline: Music
Interdisciplinary Connections: History
Target Audience: Active Adults
Program Setting: Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization
Program Service Area: Urban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices