It happened…we grew, and we grew, and then one day…we outgrew. Six months ago, a number of parents approached me following our annual winter student showcase. As with all of our events, we listened carefully to their suggestions, hoping to continuously improve the experience for students, parents, friends, and family. This time, between the feedback we received and the number of performers, it was clear that we needed to move on from our home at Cascade Studios in Hollywood. It was time to find a new home for SoundLife Music Academy and a new stage for our students.
On June 3, 2018, we held our first Summer Music Showcase at the historic El Cid on Sunset Blvd. If you were there, you got to witness students take the stage in true rockstar form. El Cid had a proper backstage area for performers, a side stage, curtains, and an ambiance that is hard to capture. Guests of the students got to sit at tables, order food and drinks, and hang out at the patio when they needed a breath of fresh air. Needless to say, El Cid was a breath of fresh air, and we’re excited to have found a new home.
This venue holds a tremendous amount of history, not only in the city of Los Angeles, but also in the professional lives of nearly every member of our staff. Founded in 1915, El Cid has been everything from a silent movie theatre, to a café, to a playhouse, to a cabaret, to a flamenco dinner theatre, to a live music venue. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I went to see a friend’s band play at El Cid. It was the first show I attended in the city and was so long ago that I forgot about it until walking down those unforgettable steps years later to perform there myself. All of our instructors, Mike and I included, have been up on that stage practicing what we preach. For our students, they conquered one of the longstanding venues in the city. First stop: El Cid; next up: the Hollywood Bowl.
The afternoon saw a mix of solo performers, duos, trios, and full bands take the stage. We heard beautiful music ranging from classic rock and roll, to contemporary pop, to brand new original compositions. This year’s showcase highlighted more bands than ever before, with a total of seven. Each band had unique style, chemistry, repertoire, and stage presence. For our audience, it was truly a concert experience. For the performers, it was a chance to not only get on stage and perform, but an opportunity to cheer on others and get inspired. For us, it has always been and will always be about building a community....a safe and encouraging place for students to soar.
We cannot thank the parents, friends and extended families enough for supporting us and making these concerts and our entire program possible. We had over 112 people attend this year's Summer Showcase, and when I took that stage to start the show, it was hard to hold back the tears of gratitude. It takes a village. We have done and are doing this together.
Thank you for believing in the power of music education, the talent of these kids, the experience of our instructors, and the vision of our leadership. Looking ahead, we will again take in everything we learned and loved from June 3 to continue our quest to create the best concert experience for everyone. We’re already excited and can’t wait to do it again!