December Events Gathered Community Around the Arts

When we say the LBC is Sonoma County’s gathering place for the arts, we’re not exaggerating! Thanks to the donors and members who make our community events possible, in December alone, more than 36,000 locals came to the LBC to enjoy a variety of free or low-cost arts and community experiences.

Beginning on December 2, students from LBC’s beginner mariachi classes performed for the public for the first time.  More than 200 family members and market goers gathered in the atrium to hear the students demonstrate the skills they developed to help them advance to the intermediate level recently.

For the past 17 years, LBC’s Posada Navideña has been a true community affair. Last month, nearly 2526 school children and their teachers attended the December 8 school show matinees of our Rodney Strong Dance Series Posada Navideña performance, which featured the vibrant dance and music of Calidanza Dance Company. That afternoon, about 34 students from Roseland University Prep school participated in a dance clinic with several members of Calidanza. The students worked with the professional dancers to learn an entire Aztec dance.

That same evening, prior to Calidanza’s sold-out public performance, patrons were invited to a free ornament-making arts activity. To give teachers and community members from under-resourced areas the chance to attend the show and participate in the festivities, LBC offered 79 free tickets, working with the Mark West Parent Teacher Organization, La Luz Center, Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa/Caritas Village, and Latino service providers.

Posada Navideña held at the LBC December 8, 2023

Following Calidanza’s evening performance, nearly 900 local adults and children participated in the free traditional holiday festivities of Mexico, beginning with a candle-light procession in which they paraded and sang the traditional Posada Navideña story. It also featured performances by LBC’s Mariachi Ensemble and ballet folklorico class, pinatas, treats, refreshments, and festive music. Thanks to the 12 volunteers from LBC sponsor Redwood Credit Union for helping assemble 935 goodie bags for attendees, as well as parents who helped assemble the candles and the two students who filled the pinatas. Our posada program has been a community affair for 17 years.

On December 15, some 21 adults joined our free, in-person and virtual Sing-Along: A Walk Down Memory Lane, which LBC offers in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Throughout the month, 738 local students from Sonoma, Marin, and Napa were participating in their school band or music program, performing on instruments they borrowed at no charge from LBC’s Music for Schools Instrument Lending Library. One hundred and sixty-one of those students were attending daily practice and rehearsals as part of the free mariachi after-school program. Students, ranging in age from 9 to 19, come from communities around Sonoma County, including Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, and Healdsburg to participate.

Additionally, this year’s free after-school ballet folklorico dance class engaged 26 students for daily lessons, and 43 adults attended the bi-weekly free adult guitar class. Over at Caritas Village in Santa Rosa, anywhere from 3 to 10 students might be attending the drop-in drama class throughout the month. LBC launched the class last year in partnership with Catholic Charities, which operates the support shelter for unhoused and impoverished families. The class allows for storytelling activities that can engage any number of children who show up, from the ones who attend every week to those who might come and go depending on their family’s circumstances.

Northern Lights 2023

Finally, more than 26,000 locals and visitors took an evening stroll through our sculpture garden throughout the month to enjoy our Northern Lights winter lights art walk. Don’t worry! If you weren’t one of them, you have plenty of time to take a post-holiday stroll through colorful winter wonderland, brimming with twinkle lights, whimsical wintery scenes, and illuminated sculptures by local artists. It remains open every evening from dusk to 9:30 pm until January 16, 2024.

While they may not fit into “the arts” category, in December, LBC gathers community to the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market and Kringle’s Trees. Each year, about 4500 community members arrive here in December to find the tree that will fill their homes with evergreen boughs and fragrance. About 1400 loyal locals continued to shop at the Farmers Market every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the month. Remember, the Farmers Market will be closed on Wednesdays in January and February and returns to its regular schedule again on March 6.

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