Hello Sebastopol Community!
The Sebastopol Community Cultural Center brings together passionate instructors and dedicated students. Our Instructors are the heart and soul of the community center and we want to take some time to introduce them to our community. Each month we will be introducing some of our instructors, sharing their background, what they teach and why they are passionate about their talent, skill or craft.
Steve Sassone is the founder of Flying Angels Gymnastics and former Manager and Preschool Director for Redwood Empire Gymnastics in Petaluma. He developed one of the most respected programs in the North Bay. He has been an instructor at SCCC for 20 years! and has been involved in gymnastics for over 43 years. He was team captain of the Sonoma State University Men’s Gymnastics Team. As a professional coach, Steve trained State, Regional and National level competitors but his true passion has been to create the environment and culture that encourages children to feel inspired to challenge themselves and to learn new skills. Because he didn't like to see people (or himself) limited by their fears, he taught a Women’s self defense course called Model Mugging and then started, with his wife, the Sonoma County office of Kidpower, a local affiliate of the nationally recognized safety program teaching abuse and assault prevention to children and families. Click here for complete schedule.
Artistic Director and instructor, Julie Faye started dancing tap and ballet at age 3 in her mother’s dance studio. She has since studied under other great dancers such as Gillian Greggory of London’s Covent Garden Dance Centre, Bunny Briggs and Gregory Hines. She has been teaching and producing shows since 1969. “I started my life in Tacoma, Washington. Then spent 7 years in Georgia, where I started talking and I had a strong Southern accent. I have been in California since 1964 (except for my 2 years in London), 7 years in Denmark (married to a Danish man) and 3 years living on a trimaran in Hawaii. Fun!! Have always loved dancing and am glad that I could make my work what I enjoy doing most!” - Julie Faye
Our beloved Julie has been teaching at the community center for 23 years, she has decided to retire and we will miss her so much! We have enjoyed all of her classes and all of the sweet litle ones she has taught over the years!
This fall season, we welcome Maria Bija and Tobias Sparks into our community center family, They will be bringing more music to our Sebastopol area children.
Maria Bija is a classically-trained musician with a passion for world music and dance. Born in Boston, MA to an Italian mother and English American father who were both very musical. As a child, Maria studied with Polish concert pianist, Ronald Kmiec of Carlisle, Massachusetts. By her teenage years, Maria began her professional vocal career, recording corporate commercial jingles and singing Jazz, R&B, Country, and Folk styles. Later in her college years, Maria studied abroad in Italy, India, Ghana, and Brazil, and sang with samba bands in Boston, paving the way to her lifelong love of Brazilian music. Maria earned her Master's of Music degree in 1997, and has since incorporated Dalcroze movement-based teaching principles in her music classes for all ages and levels of ability. Maria has recorded numerous albums, one of which won a Parents Choice Award.
Our new Marimba program will be offered to children ages 9-12 and teens ages 13-17. We welcome Marimba instructor Tobias Sparks. Known at a young age for his innovative musical style and improvisational ability, Tobias pours his heart and passion into bringing up the next generation of musicians.
Performing and teaching for 22 years, he has collaborated with singers, musicians, dancers and is featured on more than 20 CDs and DVDs of diverse genres. Tobias currently teaches a dynamic and powerful marimba orchestra program with over 80 students at Loma Vista Immersion Academy in Petaluma.
Tobias’s Marimba program will be twice a week, Wednesday and Friday starting September 5th in the community center Annex. All students will receive a take-home practice marimba for the session! Click here for complete schedule.
Marilyn Read has been teaching Ukulele for 5 years at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center. Marilyn was born in San Francisco; she is a mother of four, a Registered Public Heath Nurse and former CPR and First Aid Instructor, and long-time lover of music. While studying for her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Sonoma State, she began playing banjo as a creative outlet. She has 15 years experience playing piano, mandolin, banjo and ukulele and Marilyn is now teaching ukulele lessons with the intention of spreading the joy. Or, as she likes to joke, “purposely flooding the world with ukulele players”.
Marilyn’s next session will offer classes Beyond Beginner and Fingerpicking for Ukelele starting in September. Click here for complete schedule.
Answering your requests for more daytime activities for toddlers and young children to play with parents or grandparents, we’ve added Kinder Kickz Soccer with Coach Elena!
Elena Abrams has been coaching, teaching, instructing and playing around with kids from Sebastopol and communities throughout Sonoma County for almost 20 years. Your children may have played soccer with her at Ragle Park, indoors at Sports City or University of Sports, or most recently at parks and community centers around Sonoma County with Kinder Kickz Soccer Program. Maybe coach Elena volunteered to teach for your son or daughter’s class or WESCO Soccer team. She also may have taught your child’s preschool class or Amazing Athletes preschool class. Coach Elena loves being active, she loves fitness and most of all she loves to share her passion for fitness with her favorite young friends. Your kids! If you’ve had the chance to play around with Coach Elena you know how much fun she has passing on her love and passion for an active lifestyle to your children.
Each class is 60 minutes long and combines activities designed to help promote motor skills and social skills. Each child will need one active adult as their partner to participate with them for the entire class every week. Click here for complete schedule.
In classes focusing on Health and Wellness, we are pleased to focus on our two Feldenkrais Method instructors, Marghe Mills-Thysen and Liza Weaver Brickey, as well as Micheal Rinaldini leading Qigong and circle walking.
Both of our Feldenkrais Method have studied with the method’s founder, the late Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.
“You can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.”
Marghe Mills-Thysen has taught nationally for over 40 years. Marghe trained with Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. She is a certified practitioner and senior Feldenkrais Method® teacher, a BMC® and anatomy teacher.
Marghe has created audio movement lessons, a video "Strengthening Your Immune System Through Mind & Movement,"® and is the co-author with Ms. Cohen of DEVELOPMENTAL MOVEMENT THERAPY. Marghe is also a certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator. Marghe’s next session starts September 13th and runs 7 weeks. You are also welcome to drop into this session Thursday 10:45-12:15. Click here for complete schedule.
Liza has had a private practice in the Feldenkrais Method for over 30 years. She studied with Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais and other early trainers of the method. She has worked at many Feldenkrais professional trainings. Liza has produced a series of audio movement lessons called, "Awaken the Natural Wisdom of your Body". Liza believes, “When your body is happy, you are happy! Liza invites you to drop in, her Friday morning classes are ongoing, 9:00-10:00, in the Annex at the community center.
Michael Rinaldini (Li Chang Dao) is a High Level Qigong Teacher, and a 22nd generation Longmen (Dragon Gate) Daoist priest. Shifu Michael has been involved in spiritual and healing practices most of his adult life, dating back to the early 1970’s. He has been studying qigong for over 25 years, including four study trips to China. His main qigong teacher is Master Wan Sujian from Beijing’s Bagua Xundao Gong Qigong Center. Shifu Michael is also a Certified Qigong Teacher, or Senior Teacher (Level 4-highest) by the National Qigong Association, and has led workshops at their annual conferences for the past ten years. Michael Rinaldini has written his second book titled: A Daoist Practice Journal, Book 2.
Michael’s classes allow his students to experience the life-nurturing arts of ancient China, a 5,000 year old Chinese healing system for health, physical fitness, and prevention of disease. Qigong practices function in many ways: To purify, gather, circulate, store, and transform the Qi. Walking in a circle holding specific arm postures is one of our main practices. These postures open, unblock and energize specific meridian and other energy centers throughout the body. Qigong and circle walking is beneficial for all ages, all health conditions, and even those practicing the martial arts as a way of developing inner strength. Classes are on-going and new students can join us at any time, Saturday 10:30-11:30 and Wednesday 10:00-11:00. Click here for complete schedule.
You are invited to come learn from our wonderful instructors and get to know more of the passionate people in your community!
Cordelia Holst, Executive Director