CMS Explore Music! Program

Explore Music! is a community outreach program established to develop increased exposure to and experience with music of multiple cultures in an effort to foster social harmony, trust, understanding and appreciation of all cultures.

Past CMS Explore Music! Events

Admission: FREE and open to the public. For all ages. Authentic food may be purchased at the event starting at 12:30 p.m.

The Community Music School (CMS) of 四虎影视 and the Puerto Rican Society of St. Louis, Inc. will partner for Explore Music! PUERTO RICO on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 12:30-3 p.m. at the CMS Building on the campus of 四虎影视 in Webster Groves.

Join us for an exciting afternoon exploring the stirring music and culture of Puerto Rico! Experience The Triangle of Cultures featuring three traditional musical styles and their historical and cultural influences: country (mountain/indigenous), classical (Spanish/Western European) and pop (African/Caribbean). There will be authentic Puerto Rican cuisine for sale from 12:30-1:15 p.m. Fun cultural activities for the kids include making traditional kites and shakers along with interesting displays and stories about life in Puerto Rico. Be ready to Bomba dance to the beat of plena drums and learn about the African and Spanish influences that make up this uniquely Puerto Rican style.

The Puerto Rican Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation whose objectives include: supporting education scholarships for Hispanic/Latino students in the St. Louis metropolitan area, promoting the awareness of the Puerto Rican culture and traditions, ensuring self-improvement, providing social activities for its members and their guests, sponsoring and supporting events that will benefit the Puerto Rican community, and strengthening mutual understanding throughout the local community. Membership in the organization is open to all persons who subscribe to and work toward attaining the objectives of the corporation.

The Community Music School is proud to partner with The Puerto Rican Society Inc., of St. Louis.

Timeline of activities

  • 12:30-2 p.m. Food, Crafts and Activities
  • 2 p.m. Parade wearing borrowed traditional costumes
  • 3 p.m. Presentation of traditional music and intergenerational dance by the Philippines Arts Foundation followed by audience participation in dance and tinikling

Activities Include

Music by a traditional rondalla from Chicago
Jewelry and amulet making
Games including Sungka (a popular counting game)
Craft Corner: star lanterns and maps of the Philippines
YoYo activity with Kevin Eulalia
Traditional dress to try on

Music: A traditional rondalla composed of five musicians from Chicago including Judy Tomas (laud), Linda Sauco (bandurria), Jun Reyes (lead guitar), Dr Narge Chato (guitar), and Jun Dela Pena (bass guitar) will provide background music and will be part of the cultural presentation.

Admission: FREE and open to the public. For all ages. Authentic food may be purchased at the event starting at 12:30 p.m.

Join us on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 12:30-3 p.m., as we explore the music and culture of Spain at the East Academic Building on the campus of 四虎影视.

Flamenco has been described both as a way of life and a fusion of cultures, as expressed through music, dance, and song. Its roots are in the multiple cultures of South Spain.

At Explore Music! SPAIN we will learn about the history of Spanish and Flamenco dance, listen to live Flamenco guitar and song, learn a Flamenco dance move or two, taste delicious Spanish cuisine (available for purchase) and take part in cultural activities and crafts.

The St. Louis Cultural Flamenco Society will be our guide on our journey to Spain, with guest artists Marcos Jimenez, Internationally known Flamenco artist, native of Seville, Spain; Liliana De La Caridad Fagoaga, native of Cuba, trained in all three forms of Spanish dance; Esther Pardo from Murcia, Spain, danced as a soloist and principal roles in Spain, Cuba, France and Germany; Edwin Suarez from Colombia, studied and share the stage with great artists from Spain; singer Macarena Jurado De Heras, native of Seville, Spain, started singing Flamenco and the Copla at a very early age, performs around Spain, Portugal, France and the USA; and guitarist Ricardo Diaz originally from San Francisco, studied in Madrid Spain and has performed with world-renown Flamenco artists throughout the country.

Explore Music! passport holders: bring your passports and add another sticker to your collection. Those new to Explore Music! events can pick up a passport and sticker at Explore Music! SPAIN.

Admission: FREE and open to the public. For all ages.

Questions? Call 314-968-5939

Timeline of activities

  • 12 p.m. Niji Chorus performance, food from Nobu available for purchase (first come first served), and displays of authentic Japanese kimonos and children's art work.
  • 12:45 p.m. Origami activity
  • 1 p.m. Gaku (instrumental ensemble) performance
  • 2 p.m. Japanese art projects: harie and origami and demonstration of Oshie

Enjoy performances by Niji Japanese Choral Group at noon and Japanese instrumental ensemble, Gaku at 1 p.m. The ensemble includes traditional Japanese instruments such as the Koto, Shamisen, Jabisen, Taishogoto, Tsuzumi, Taiko Drum, and Suzu. The Niji Chorus is a choir of mixed ethnicity that sings both traditional and contemporary Japanese music. Both groups are under the direction of Ms. Yuki Quattrocchi.

Additionally, children and adults of all ages are invited to participate in traditional Japanese art projects. Create a Harie, a picture made of torn rice paper and made into flowers. Try your hand in Origami, folded paper objects and animals. Watch a demonstration of Oshie (a padded picture) making a kimono. View a display of authentic Japanese kimonos and children's art display. Professional artwork available for sale.

Experience authentic Japanese cuisine from Nobu available for purchase beginning at noon.

ith over thirty years of history, the Niji Choral Group is an amateur ensemble performing Japanese songs, drawing members from throughout the greater St. Louis region. Under the able direction of its conductor and arranger, Ms. Yukiko Quattrocchi, and utilizing a variety of Japanese accompanying instruments, its repertoire ranges from the ancient to the contemporary, from regional traditional folk songs to internationally-recognizable anime music, all from Japan, with a few local favorites thrown in for good measure.

Gaku Gaku is an amateur group that performs Japanese instrumental music from a wide variety of time periods and styles. Many of its members play multiple instruments, and all are from metropolitan St. Louis. A regular at the Missouri Botanical Garden's annual Japanese Festival, the group has also performed in many local venues, introducing the eclectic sounds of Japanese music to appreciative audiences large and small.

Admission: FREE and open to the public. For all ages. Participants can attend multiple sessions or just a single activity.

Part of the American Arts Experience St. Louis 2015! A celebration of American Arts in St. Louis.

Timeline of activities

  • 12:30 p.m. Food Trucks The Southerner and Pie Oh My! in parking lot K
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Storyteller Marcia Ollinger tells stories and children's quilting and weaving projects
  • 2 p.m. Music workshop on traditional American folk music featuring Ozark Mountain Music
  • 3 p.m. Folk toy activity
  • 4 p.m. Music session on the music of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Enjoy the musical roots of American folk music and culture at Explore Music! TRADITIONAL AMERICAN on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 at the Community Music School of 四虎影视.

Kickoff the afternoon with stories by storyteller Marcia Ollinger and children's quilting and weaving projects, from 12:30-2 p.m. Marcia will share stories Missouri Tales from the Ozarks, the Star Stealer from Texas and many more American themed stories.

Experience traditional American folk music featuring Ozark Mountain music with musicians Cathy Barton, Dave Para, and Mike Fraser at 2 p.m. This engaging music workshop introduces audience members to the tradition of hand-me-down music of the Ozark Mountains. Folk and traditional found instruments will be demonstrated. Participants can sing-a-long and try instruments such as the spoons, bones, jawbone, and drums.

Continue the journey to days gone by with an activity of toy making. All ages are introduced to traditional old time folk toys and make their own toy at 3 p.m.

The final and most compelling music session of the day explores the music of the Lewis and Clark Expedition demonstrating how music played a significant role in the journey. Cathy Barton, Dave, Para and Mike Fraser guide you on the expedition; join the music and fun at 4 p.m.

Food trucks and Pie Oh My will be selling food beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Admission: FREE and open to the public. For all ages.
Participants can attend multiple workshops or just a single activity.

Cathy Barton and Dave Para have for 38 years created dynamic performances acclaimed for their variety and expertise in vocal and instrumental music. They have celebrated the musical traditions and folklife of Missouri and the Ozarks in festivals, clubs, concert halls, schools and studios across the U.S. and Europe. Their audiences are as diverse as their repertoire.

A versatile duo, Dave and Cathy play several stringed instruments including hammered and fretted dulcimers, banjo, guitar and autoharp, as well as "found" instruments like bones, spoons, mouthbow and leaf. Their concerts present a range of music from the lively dance tunes they have collected in their home region to old ballads to new songs. They have conducted several instrumental workshops as well as those about songs from the Civil War, from American rivers, old gospel songs, children's songs and Christmas music. Of their 14 albums, four were named Notable Recordings by the American Library Association, their two albums of music from the Civil War on the western border, music of the Lewis & Clark journey and their traditional Christmas album.

They began working with Young Audiences, Inc., in Kansas City doing school assembly and residency programs. They were awarded the Lighton Award for Teaching Artist Excellence in 2012.

Mike Fraser began playing folk music and learning guitar in college in the Northeast portion of Missouri. focusing on Bluegrass, Old Time and Southern Rock. His first teaching assignment was in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri, and became immersed in the culture and the music of the Scots-Irish, who settled the area in the mid-1800鈥檚. This region provided a rich learning environment due to cultural traditions still in place such as square dancing. He began learning the fiddle and mandolin by ear from local musicians, and served as an apprentice for two years under a Master Square Dance Fiddler, (Bob Holt) through the Missouri Arts Council鈥檚 Master/Apprentice Program. Bob was awarded Smithsonian鈥檚鈥 Heritage Fellowship in 1999 for his teaching efforts in traditional music.

In 1986 after seven years teaching in public schools Mike began working with the Missouri Department of Conservation, as an Education Consultant. His primary responsibility was to develop, and implement a conservation education plan, for all schools within the thirteen county Ozark Region of the state. This was done primarily through school programs and teacher courses for credit, through various universities as adjunct faculty.

He began focusing on using music to teach conservation concepts, and in 2000 created an educational CD titled 鈥淔iddles and Forests鈥 with music and narrative focusing on the Scots-Irish Heritage and the forest resources of the Ozarks. The CD has sold approximately 8,000 copies since its release. In 2003 he moved to Kansas City to work with minorities in an urban environment and joined with Cathy Barton and Dave Para to provide school programs through Young Audiences. His avocation since 1986, has been performing with various musicians and a band he formed (Shortleaf Band) consisting of old time, bluegrass, Celtic, and original music.

Marcia Ollinger is a former elementary school teacher who was inspired to begin storytelling after attending the St. Louis Storytelling Festival in 1984. Marcia's repertoire includes traditional folktales from around the world, American and holiday stories, as well as personal stories of growing up in St. Louis. She is a member of the Gateway Storytellers of St. Louis, MO-TELL, and the National Storytelling Network. She has served as a volunteer, a member of the festival planning committee, and a regional teller for the annual St. Louis Storytelling Festival and the Kansas City Celebration. Marcia believes that everyone, no matter what age, can enjoy a good story.

Join the Community Music School of 四虎影视 (CMS) on a journey to the Middle East on Saturday, March 28, 2015 for Explore Music! MIDDLE EAST. Through ancient stories, song, crafts, and traditional cuisine participants will explore the music and culture of the Middle East.

Musical Traditions from the Middle East, a Springboard program, will begin at 1 p.m. Featuring a wide array of exotic instruments, this workshop focuses on the rich musical heritage of the Jewish, Arabic, and Persian cultures. Through ancient stories and song, two of St. Louis' most talented multi-instrumentalists, Farshid Soltanshahi, a native of Iran, and Sandy Weltman, lead the journey far to the Middle East.

Following the workshop at 2 p.m., children and adults of all ages are invited to create arts and crafts projects. Craft a Hamsa to ward off evil, create a prayer mat, and map the countries of the Middle East.

At 2:45 p.m., Farshid Soltanshahi, Sandy Weltman and guest percussionist, will perform a concert featuring a mix of music of Middle Eastern, East Indian and African influences, with Latin jazz and blues. Their music combines three different cities and countries, cultures, and languages, to create music that is not limited to one tradition.

Traditional Middle Eastern cuisine provided by Caf茅 Natasha will be available for purchase starting at 12:30 p.m. Cash and check are accepted.

Admission: FREE and open to the public. For all ages.

Born in Iran, Farshid Soltanshahi is a multi-instrumentalist who started the guitar at the age of 16. He studied and worked in France for 15 years as industrial drafter, professional musician, and guitar and Middle Eastern instruments instructor before touring across Europe. Moving to St. Louis in 1999, Soltanshahi began to mix his Middle Eastern influences with Latin jazz and blues to find his unique sound. Farshid Soltanshahi cooks up music with Iranian, East Indian, and African spices, combining three different cities and countries, three different cultural environments, and three different languages, to create music that is not limited to one tradition.

While at home in the jazz realm, Sandy Weltman is equally skilled in blues, celtic, klezmer, Latin, and much more. He learned much of his harmonica styling while under the tutelage of harmonica wizard Howard Levy, a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He has since gained international recognition in the World Harmonica Competitions. Weltman has won numerous awards and is equally skilled on the banjo. He currently performs his unique style of harmonica jazz in a duo, trio and quartet setting.

Explore Music! AFRICA featured West African music and many traditional African instruments from strings to drums. African American folk artist, Kunama Mtendaji presented workshop sessions on West African music. Participants experienced drumming and dancing within a cultural perspective. The direct tie between West African music and the Blues was demonstrated with live performances by Blues musicians, Sharon and Doug Foehner.

There was also an exhibit of African Art, a mask-making workshop with Gundia Lock-Clay and an African fashion display where Fatima Odegboye showed how to wrap a headdress.

Kunama Mtendaji is an African American folk artist that specializes in performing and teaching storytelling, music and dance. He features the cultures of African people throughout the African world. Kunama performs solo and coordinates Afi Ama music and dance ensemble, The Mask Dance Society, and A.F.R.I.C.A. (Association For Responsible Interdisciplinary Cultural Artists).

Sharon and Doug Foehner perform in many venues throughout the St. Louis music scene. Sharon has performed with noteworthy artists such as Johnnie Johnson, Oliver Sain, Renee Smith, Jimmy Rodgers, Henry Townsend and many others. In 1995 Sharon opened up the Women in Blues Festival at the Sheldon performing an acoustic duet with the legendary Etta Baker. Doug started his career in music with renowned Jimi Hendrix scholar Mike Fairchild in the early 1980鈥檚 and shared a research credit on the M.C.A. Jimi Hendrix blues CD release.


  • Mask Making Workshop with Gundia Lock-Clay
  • African Art Display 鈥 Gundia Lock-Clay
  • African Fashion Display 鈥 Fatima Odegboye
  • Music Workshop on West African music with Kunama Mtendaji
  • Headdress Wrapping Session with Fatima
  • Music Workshop relating West African music to the Blues with Kunama Mtendaji
  • Music Workshop with Blues Performance by Sharon and Doug Foehner

Menu of Nigerian Cuisine by Fatima Odegboye

Main Dishes: Spicy Jollof Rice, African Honey Beans, Drumstick, Meat Pie

Desserts: Puff Puff (sweetened dough), Fried Plantain

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014

  • Experienced music performed by the Thai Temple Band.
  • Learned about the Thai culture and historical context of Thai music.
  • Tasted Thai food at the Food Fair.
  • Meet members of the St. Louis' Thai community.

Explore Music! INDIA took place on May 16, 2014 at the CMS Center. Participants enjoyed cultural activities, meditation, breathing, Yoga demonstration, food from the Bombay Food Junkies Food Truck, and Performance-demonstration by Ustad Imrat Khan. A variety of Indian cultural activities including Henna hand painting, Rangoli designs, Calligraphy, and a display of instruments from India were led by teachers from the Center of Indian Cultural Education 鈥 Bal Vihar of St. Louis, Missouri.