Community Music Center Fundraiser Opens Doors to the Legendary Venetian Room on May 5th to Celebrate Stephen Shapiro’s 30 Years of Leadership

San Francisco, CA, April 02, 2008 --( On Monday, May 5th 2008, Community Music Center (CMC) will hold its annual fundraiser, A Salute to the Joy of Making Music at the Venetian Room at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. Special tribute will be paid this year to Stephen R. Shapiro for his 30 years as Executive Director. Jazz vocalist and CMC alumna Paula West will headline the event and share the stage with performers from CMC’s Mission District Young Musicians Program. Proceeds support financial aid for young music students from low-income families.

The Venetian Room has hosted world-renowned performers since the 1940s that include Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Marlene Dietrich, and James Brown. After many illustrious decades of nightly performances, the Venetian Room is no longer open to the public, making this evening all the more special.

Headliner Paula West is best known for her rich, powerful contralto voice, sensitive interpretations and a mastery of a wide range of genres. West uncovers worthy songs not usually found within the jazz and cabaret repertoire and exquisitely reinterprets the standards that she does perform. She currently headlines clubs in San Francisco and New York and has toured internationally. A former CMC student herself, Paula West will follow performers from CMC’s Mission District Young Musicians Program who just may continue in her footsteps one day.

The Mission District Young Musicians Program is made up of young, motivated, mainly Latino students from low-income families who live or attend school in the Mission District. The program offers free weekly ensemble classes, musicianship and theory classes and individual lessons focused on Latin music, both popular and classical.

The host committee, chaired by Fritz Maytag and Jane Roos Le Roux features political and arts community leaders that include Ray Cortines, Michael Tilson Thomas, Senator Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Honoree Stephen Shapiro has dedicated 30 years of his life to making music study and enjoyment possible for thousands across the Bay Area. Under his guidance, 87-year old CMC has considerably broadened its reach toward underserved communities, with a focus on low-income youth. In Shapiro’s tenure, the Music Center has also added folk, blues, Latin, Middle Eastern, Flamenco, popular, and rock instruction to what was a primarily western classical music school. The partnerships he has developed with the San Francisco Unified School District and countless community organizations have made a lasting impact on thousands of students, and alliances he has formed with San Francisco Performances and Stern Grove Festival give all Bay Area music lovers the chance to hear great musicians at no cost.

Says host committee co-chair Fritz Maytag, “When Jane Roos Le Roux and I hired Steve as Executive Director in 1978, I thought he was such a great find that we would be lucky if he stayed ten years. Something about Steve and CMC just worked. He has maintained the school’s traditions while greatly expanding access to music for those who need it most.”

Event Information:
Salute to the Joy of Making Music, 2008
Monday May 5th from 6 to 9pm
San Francisco Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room

Celebrate CMC Executive Director Stephen Shapiro’s 30th anniversary at Community Music Center and support CMC's youth scholarship programs at this very special fundraising dinner. Renowned jazz vocalist Paula West will headline what is sure to be a lovely evening of food, wine, and exceptional music.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call Fran Hildebrand at (415) 647-6015, x76.

About Community Music Center:
With branches in the Mission and Richmond Districts of San Francisco and programs throughout the city, CMC is the Bay Area’s oldest community arts organization and San Francisco's largest provider of low-cost, high quality music education. Throughout its 87 years, Community Music Center (CMC) has never turned anyone away for lack of funds. In 2007, 2,200 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels enrolled in Music Center programs and 14,500 people enjoyed musical performances at no or low cost.

Community Music Center
Sonia Caltvedt
415-647-6015 x75
Fran Hildebrand
415-647-6015 x76