Part 3: Musical Reflections of the Portola, original music

John and class
John Calloway and music students at E.R.Taylor Elementary School

John Calloway, musician and composer
I have lots of memories of growing up in the Portola and the Excelsior. I drew on these memories and my current experience in the District as an educator. Camilo Landau engineered, mixed and mastered this work, which was recorded in June 2008, and January through February 2009.

1. Before the Portola- It was important that references to our original inhabitants, the Ohlone, not be left out, as often they are. This work is an improvisational work by José “Dr. Loco” Cuellar, who plays the flute in this recording.

2. Settlement House – Referencing here the early Jewish settlers to the Portola, circa 1900, many of whom were from Eastern Europe.  The area was once known as “Little Jerusalem.”
See the score (PDF)

3. The Greenhouses-I have always wondered what went on in the greenhouses that existed in the Portola. They seemed to me so meditative, and filled me with a sense of wonderment for the flowers and the people who tilled them.
See the score (PDF)

4. Bible College – The big building off of Silver Avenue was a place that no one I knew in the neighborhood ever went to, but we all knew its name. The building was a vehicle for many organizations, including the Salvation Army, a bible college, an immigration station and now a Christian school.
See the score (PDF)

5. The Hall - Having gone to high school with several Maltese, I was always curious about their background, and years later I stumbled onto their hall just off the end of Silver Avenue. The song form I used here is the “country dance” or more commonly known contradanza. In any event, the Maltese, Italians and many countries in Latin America used this music and dance form for community, cultural and social events.

6. San Bruno Avenue East- A tribute to the Portola’s rich Asian—Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Burmese—cultural influences.
See the score (PDF)

7.  Down San Bruno Way - A suite derived from the popular American music styles from the 1920s- 1970s.  The genesis for the suite came to me as I was driving down the Avenue and began to imagine all the popular styles that must have been played in car radios coming down the street.

8. The Nite Life - Located where the club El Toro now exists, on San Bruno Avenue. The Nite Life was a popular bar and live music space that was frequented in the late 1960s and 1970s. Many of the biggest Latin rock stars of the day played there, including members from the group Malo.

9. Portola Boogaloo-It’s important that a narrative of the Portola District include representation  of the District’s youth, this hip hop piece is by Victor Menacho of the Bayonics.

Louis Christopulous and Camilo Landau David Flores and Louis Ely Samuels

Musical contributions from the Portola’s children:
10. Allegro - El Dorado and ER Taylor
11. Circle Dance (Bulgarian folk song) – The Violin Ensembles of El Dorado and ER Taylor Elementary Schools
12. The Water is Wide – Martin Luther King Middle School Chorus
13. On Eagle’s Wings – St. Elizabeth Catholic School 8th Grade Chorus
14. Jasmine Flower – The San Francisco School Orff Ensemble
15. Sing Song Kitty – The San Francisco School Orff Ensembles

Piano: John Calloway, Bass: Louis Christopulous, Guitar: Camilo Landau, Flute: John Calloway, Clarinet and Saxophones: Elijah Samuels, Trumpet: Mario Silva, Native American flute: José “Dr. Loco” Cuellar, Violin: Christina Stanley, Drums: Nick Fishman, All Instruments on Portola Boogaloo: Victor Menacho, Vocals on Portola Boogaloo: Jairo Vargas and María Remos, Keyboards: John Calloway and Camilo Landau, Additional percussion: John Calloway and Camilo Landau

Tracks 2–9 ©2009, John Calloway, Quiapotime music (BMI). Track 1 ©2009
José Cueller. Track 13 ©1979, Jan Michael Joncas. Published by OCP Publications.
5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Tracks 14 and 15 ©2007, San Francisco School. All rights reserved.

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