John Calloway, Carlos Barón and Alicia Mana at a preview of "El Son de la Misión." Photo by Kevin Herglotz

In its 95 years, the San Francisco Community Music Center on Capp Street has weathered its fair share of changing times. Now, the center has commissioned an original music and dance performance called “El Son de la Misión,” to explore the neighborhood’s shifting culture and the transformations among local artistic movements – as well as to celebrate the center’s 95th anniversary.

Four generations of local musicians and activists collaborated to come up with the show, which spans several musical and artistic genres. The center will showcase its own Young Musicians as well as other Mission groups such as drum ensemble Loco Bloco, Bayonics, Soltrón and Fogo Na Roupa, and even local organizer Roberto Hernandez.

Muralist Carlos “Kookie” Gonzalez, the driving force behind various Mission murals, including the tribute to beloved radio host Chata Gutierrez on 24th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, created visual elements for the performance.

While its musical styles reflect the changing musical landscape of the neighborhood, “El Son” is an exercise in live historical preservation, taking its cues from musicians and teachers who have honed their craft in the Mission for years – among them John Calloway, an educator in local schools and San Francisco State University who grew up with Afro Cuban and salsa music, and Carlos Barón, a professor at the same university and the man behind the Mission-style nativity show La Posarela.

“The Mission district has a rich and compelling history of arts and cultural activism,” wrote Christopher Borg, the center’s executive director, in a statement. “Today, the Mission District is at a critical juncture, with rapid change happening all around us. Preserving neighborhood history and the cultures which make our district so rich is vital.”

“El Son de la Misión” will be performed on Saturday, March 19, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 20, at 7 p.m. at the Brava Theater Center in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. General admission is $12, with  a door price of $15. To buy tickets, please visit or contact for more information.

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