The Senior Center has come alive with the sounds of 16 participants sharing their passion and culture. In 2013, Alberto Cárdenas, who also instructs the young musicians of the Latino Arts Strings Program, and Margarita Sandoval Skare received the Wisconsin Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant through the Wisconsin Arts Board and created Renacer, which translates “to be reborn.”
Over the years, Renacer has grown, welcoming members with varying degrees of musical experience—from church choir singers to seasoned musicians to inexperienced but enthusiastic contributors. They have worked together under Cárdenas’ direction to develop a repertoire that represents the expansive cultural heritage of the group’s members. Renacer has had more than ten public performances, in which they shared selections that spanned genres including ranchera, cumbia, bolero, polka, and rock and roll. The music serves to both remind the senior musicians of their culture and history and to share these traditions with future generations.
Renacer’s biggest challenge and greatest excitement was a newfound partnership with Present Music as part of their ComposeMilwaukee project, in which the musicians were encouraged to explore less traditional sounds to incorporate in their music under the direction of Paul Westfahl and Joshua Backes.