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St Alban's Episcopal Church

1501 Washington Avenue

Albany, CA 94706

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Join us for the Bay Area’s first quintet dedicated to the Cuban musical style known as “charanga:” perfect music for listening and dancing!

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“Quinteto La Moderna” is the Bay Area’s first quintet dedicated to the Cuban musical style known as “charanga”. It features the flute and violin of Miguelito Martinez and Tregar Otton respectively, as they fashion strong melodic figures over the hard driving rhythm section of Bay Area Latin music stalwarts John Calloway, Steve Senft-Herrera and Michael Spiro. The group’s repertoire ranges from the danzon to songo, from the cha-cha-cha to timba, and is truly the ideal group for both listening and dancing.

The resumes of these performers read like a Who’s Who of Latin music, but in a nutshell:

John Calloway is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed with renowned jazz and Latin music artists such as Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Max Roach, Omar Sosa and John Santos. His recording credits include the GRAMMY nominated CDs "SF Bay," “Ritmo y Candela” and “Canto America” as well as film scoring for the HBO movie “Hemmingway and Gelhorn.” His latest CD, “Asere Ko” was released in 2016.

John holds a Doctorate in Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco and is a long-term faculty member at San Francisco State University in the College of Ethnic Studies and the School of Music. He is the musical director of the widely popular Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco, and is currently the Supervisor for the Visual and Performing Arts Department of the SFUSD. He has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission and is the Entertainment chairperson for Carnaval SF 2017.

Tregar Otton, violinist and arranger, was born in the Marshall Islands, and raised in Corpus Christi, TX and San Francisco, CA. As a young musician living in New York he was a member of Virgilo Martí y sus Majaderos, and performed weekly with Cuban legends Chocolate Armenteros, Patato Valdéz and Joe Santiago. He also played with Juan Carlos Formell, and was a member of the celebrated charanga groups Orquesta Broadway and La Típica Novel. Upon his return to the Bay Area in the early 1990s, Tregar became the musical director of Orquesta La Moderna Tradición, and has been a steady fixture in the S.F. music scene ever since. He performs and records in a variety of styles, from traditional mariachi to Irish trad rock and Cuban charanga, but specializes in arranging and performing Cuban music.


For over a quarter of a century, Steve Senft-Herrera has held down the
bass chair in a myriad of Bay Area salsa and Cuban music dance bands. His
performance credits include include two tours of Spain, performances at
Stern Grove, The Fillmore, The Telluride Jazz Festival, The SF Jazz
Festival, and the Midsummer Night Swing Festival at Lincoln Center. His
recording credits span Cuban dance music, Latin Jazz, and Flamenco, and
include three albums by long-time Bay Area favorite Orquesta La Moderna
Tradición. In addition to La Moderna Tradición, Steve is also the bass
player for the acclaimed Bay Area treasure, Conjunto Karabali.

Born in Chiapas, México, Miguelito Martinez studied Music Education and Transversal Flute from the University of Science and Art in Chiapas and La Universidad Veracruzana. He has been a guest clinician for the AOSA (American Orff-Schulwerk Association), CMEA (California Music Education Asociation) and The OUSD (Oakland Unified District). Martinez is the founding director of Corazon Sur a Mexican-Caribbean fusion ensemble and co-director of Balamcoatl; a collaborative project focused on diffusing the vibrant music and dance traditions of the indigenous people of México. Miguelito Martinez stays busy in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Latin music scene, playing salsa and Latin Jazz with percussionists Karl Perazzo and Michael Spiro in Conjunto Karabali, El Sonero del Uruguay "Edgardo Cambon," La Moderna Tradicion and many more. He has performed and recorded with Alfredo de la Fe, Orestes Vilato, Karl Perazzo, Juan Carlos Formel, Michael Spiro, Felix Valoy, Ralph Irizarry, Little Johnny Rivero, Ramon Gutierrez from Son de Madera and many more. In 2009, he was awarded the best Latin Jazz Flautist Of The Year for the Latin Jazz Corner. Martinez was the composer for the Youth in Arts first World Premiere production based on Elisa Kleven's popular Paper Princess book series supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the San Francisco Foundation. Besides his busy career as a performer, Martinez has been a music teacher and multicultural arts educator in the Bay Area since 2004.

Known for his work in the Latin music field, Michael Spiro is an internationally recognized percussionist, educator and recording artist. He is a ten-time Grammy nominee, and has produced seminal recordings in the Latin music genre such as “Canto América”, “BataKetu”,  “BataMbira”, “The Latin Tinge”, and “Grupo Ilu-Aña”. His performing and recording credits cover an array of internationally known artists: from such pop artists as David Byrne, Carlos Santana and Charlie Watts, to Latin music icons Eddie Palmieri, Israel Lopez (Cachao) and Richard Egues, to such jazz luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Hutcherson and McCoy Tyner. 

In 2011 Michael was appointed Associate Professor of Percussion at Indiana University, where he developed the curriculum for Latin music and culture in both the percussion and jazz departments. He has written, performed and produced several critically acclaimed instructional books and DVDs on percussion, and continues to be in demand as a guest artist at universities worldwide. 

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St Alban's Episcopal Church

1501 Washington Avenue

Albany, CA 94706

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