La Peña Community Chorus
The La Peña Community Chorus has been singing songs of peace, justice, and hope since it began in 1978. Started by the Chilean exile community who founded La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley in 1975, the original mission of the Chorus was one of solidarity with the resistance against the dictatorship in Chile. But over the years our focus has expanded to other countries, including the struggles of people in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, and to various labor, community, and women’s struggles closer to home.
Our music includes not only the Nueva Canción (or "New Song Movement") of Chile, but styles based in the folk and social justice movements of all of Latin America. We sing in nursing homes, elders’ residences, hospitals, migrant labor camps, juvenile halls, rehabilitation centers, and schools, in addition to our public concerts and performances.
In 1995, we were the first North American chorus to take part in the International Choral Festival in Santiago, Cuba. We followed up that tour by visiting Chile in 1999, Mexico in 2002, Peru in 2006, and Uruguay and Argentina in 2011.
La Peña Cultural Center
For the past 30 years, La Peña Cultural Center, a nationally recognized cultural institution, has helped to raise the social and cultural consciousness of our community with cultural projects that bring people together to work towards a just future. La Peña's mission is the belief that artists and cultural workers contribute to positive social change by creating understanding among us, by stimulating discussion, by empowering us to work for change, and by presenting a powerful vision of the future.
La Peña Cultural Center presents over 200 cultural programs annually, featuring a diversity of international, national and local artists. It serves as an incubator for new artists and emerging cultural movements; supports the work of community organizations as the host of over 50 political and fundraising events annually; and sponsors free and low cost classes for the community in Latin American, Caribbean and other music, dance and spoken word.
You can find out more about La Peña Cultural Center at www.lapena.org.