Wednesday, January 29, 2020

CYT Offers Year-Round Theater Opportunities for San Diego Youth

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Mills Music Mission from Sinfonia

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Logo
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The former vocal music director at Lakeside Middle School, Anthony “Tony” Atienza leverages more than 20 years of musical experience to lead different choirs and theater productions. Active in the professional community, Tony Atienza served as the president of the fraternity Phi Mu Alpha “Sinfonia” while at San Diego State University.

Established in 1898, Sinfonia is the oldest fraternal society in music. Over the years, the national fraternity has created and maintained numerous programs, including the Ossian Everett Mills Music Mission. A part of the organization’s national philanthropy efforts, the Mills Music Mission uses music to uplift and heal others. This is done by playing instruments and singing songs at nursing homes, hospitals, and senior centers around the country.

Although the Mills Music Mission focuses on improving spirit through music, each facility of the organization will operate slightly differently. For instance, some Brothers bring books, flowers, or other gifts to further brighten someone’s day beyond their gift of song and music. Meanwhile, others may stay after singing to play games or talk to the people at the hospital or home they performed at. These extra efforts create more special moments for everyone involved.

The Mills Music Mission is one of Sinfonia’s oldest programs. It was named after the fraternity’s found, Ossian Everett Mills, who began sharing music with residents of Boston, Massachusetts, shortly before establishing the fraternal organization.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Rent - A Tribute to the Sacrifices and Joys of a Life in Theater

Pen and glasses on a musical notebook
Pen and glasses on a musical notebook
Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

A music educator in California schools, Anthony “Tony” Atienza was named the California Music Educators Association SBS Multicultural Teacher of the Year in 2011. He has served as a vocal music director, a choral director, and a teacher of music appreciation to students in college and middle and high school, and as a music director for local youth theater companies. Tony Atienza has served as musical director for numerous shows, including the ground-breaking Rent.

Composer Jonathan Larson’s musical has moved audiences since 1996. Larson based the work on the classic La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini, which premiered a full century earlier, in 1896. Rent is filled with memorable songs - the catchy “La Vie Boheme,” the heartbreaking “Without You,” and the poignant lyricism of “Seasons of Love.” It also vividly measures the lives of Larson and his friends, grounding itself in their experiences of trying to make it in New York’s theater world in the early 1980s.

Larson died suddenly in 1996, a day before Rent’s previews were slated to open off-Broadway. He had devoted seven years to bringing the show to life and preparing it for the stage. Twenty years later Larson’s friends contributed to a Playbill article, remembering the Soho apartment where he lived, with its disintegrating floorboards, flimsy furniture, and heat that came only from the oven.

Some cultural references in the play have become dated, but Rent continues to be a rich and meaningful theater experience, a story of friendship, grit, and the joy of performing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Young Americans' Annual Shows

Christmas Season
A music teacher in California, Tony Atienza recently served as vocal music director at Lakeside Middle School. He also worked as a music director and teacher at Christian Youth Theater. Tony Atienza was also a cast performer with The Young Americans.

Founded in 1962, The Young Americans is a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding and goodwill among people around the world through dance, music, and performance. They have regular performances annually, such as The Magic of Christmas, a holiday show held at the La Mirada Theatre. The cast of 250 puts together a huge production, featuring dancing Santas, scenes from The Nutcracker, and penguins, all set against a soundtrack of beloved Christmas songs.

The Young Americans also performs at the Dinner Theatre at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Michigan, every summer. This is the country’s second-longest running dinner theater, founded in 1978 and featuring up-and-coming performers who sing songs ranging from classics to today’s pop hits.

To find out more about these two performances and other opportunities, visit

CYT Offers Year-Round Theater Opportunities for San Diego Youth

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