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‘Orquestra Guadalupana Baja California’ From Tijuana’s Barrios to Play Free Show Near Melrose Avenue Tomorrow

As part of a community resource fair organized by Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez tomorrow, Orquestra Guadalupana will be playing around noon at Lemon Grove Park off Melrose Avenue.

2:30 PM PDT on September 8, 2023

The Los Angeles City Council held a special commendation Friday in honor of Ronald Wakefield, director of youth orchestra, for his 30 years of teaching and bringing music to homeless shelters, veterans homes, children's hospitals, and survivors of human trafficking.

Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez and City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto led the presentation. The councilman said Wakefield and members of his youth orchestra, Orquestra Guadalupana Baja California, came from Tijuana, Mexico, for this recognition.

"The Orquestra Guadalupana Baja California is a children's orchestra in the struggling community of a secluded mountainside on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, where families earn an average of $5 a day," Soto-Martinez said.

After 30 years here in California, Wakefield founded the orchestra in 2018. Since then, the group has performed for those in need—all with a mission to bring joy and comfort, he added.

Feldstein Soto quoted American composer Leonard Bernstein to describe the significance of this youth orchestra: "Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable."

"When I heard these children play in Mexico, and I heard that they were coming to Los Angeles, I knew I had to bring them here so we could all appreciate their deep ties to our community and the beauty of their music," Feldstein Soto said.

Wakefield thanked the two city officials for their invitation and recognition. He had just a few words to share with Council members and those in attendance of Friday's Council meeting.

"What we're really about is a message for all of you—that we can make a difference in the world," Wakefield said. "If we do this one thing, just one thing, every person in the world has the ability to change some part of the world, and that is to take responsibility for your God-given gifts and talents. Use them the way they were really meant to be used."

Adriana Cortez, a member of Orquestra Guadalupana, addressed the Council members to share her experience playing music for others.

Cortez said it was thanks to the orchestra that she has been able to travel, experience wonderful things, and meet others who are musically gifted.

"This has motivated me to continue even though sometimes it has been difficult because of the situation in Tijuana," Cortez said.

She noted that more than 40 children play as part of the orchestra. Cortez reiterated that they share the same goal when they play their music—to share their melodies and leave the places and people they met better than how they found them.

With those final remarks, Wakefield led his students in a performance for those in Council Chambers.

Soto-Martinez said Orquestra Guadalupana will be in attendance and perform at a community resource fair on Saturday. The noon event will occur at Lemon Grove Park, 4959 Lemon Grove Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90029

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