The Carmel Bach Festival was built on a foundation of community engagement; that spirit has run through the fiber of the Festival since its founding in 1935. We believe that all people should have the right to express themselves through art and to have accessibility to the transcendent beauty of the music. We are inspired to build an even more inclusive and welcoming environment in which people see themselves reflected in the art.

As a music organization that is a pillar of the community, we are working to become a catalyst for positive social change, social justice, and create lifelong learning opportunities for all ages. The arts strengthen the fabric and vibrancy of all communities and we are proud to be part of that dynamic.

Family Concerts

The Epic Adventures of Leonard & Rasmus has delighted audiences of all ages since 2014. The characters, stories, and scripts are created by Suzanne Mudge. She also curates the music for each concert, which features members of the Festival Orchestra. Our intrepid duo takes the audience on an action-packed whirlwind of musical experiences that are delightfully interactive and fun. Audiences experience a live concert with narration provided by CBF Artistic Director Paul Goodwin, and listen to a wide variety of music – classical, jazz, world, and folk music – all set within an engaging, interactive, and educational storyline. Leonard and Rasmus have traveled the world, taken an ocean adventure, solved a mystery, gone to the moon, explored birds and oak woodlands, and learned how working together for the greater good can bring about significant positive change.

Join us in July 2019 for another epic adventure in which we explore the world of insects and bee-eautiful bugs through music, science, and amusing puns and tales!

"A fantastic concert, so creative! There is an element of sophistication that makes this concert entertaining for everyone. The imagery was outstanding, the music so varied and excellent - the whole event was really fun”
"This is our 3rd year attending the family concert. Every year it gets better. Thank you for this concert geared to our children, perfect length and informal, relaxed and educational.”

Education Programs

Crossing Cultures

The Crossing Cultures is an innovative and ongoing program of concerts and clinics that began in the 2017-18 school year.  Each school year, our chamber ensembles perform at 15 schools in Seaside, Marina, Salinas, and Soledad, and at YOSAL, featuring brass, percussion and strings. A global theme presents music from different countries and cultures, introducing intriguing classical music to kids, raising cultural awareness, connecting music with academic subjects, and sparking curiosity in our young audiences. Our work supports ongoing efforts to grow and enrich school instrumental music programs by creating  opportunities to experience the transformative power of live classical music. Concerts and clinics inspire meaningful connections that encourage, acknowledge, and respectfully engage all students and cultures.

“I can’t thank you enough for bringing your professional musicians to our school. These kids don’t have opportunities to hear this very high caliber of playing. It’s a gift and a blessing to have your group perform and clinic our kids.”
"When the Carmel Bach Festival ensemble came to MLK School of the Arts, I witnessed students very excited to see a performance...I found the Carmel Bach Festival musicians to be friendly and outgoing, offering information that was accessible to the students. I appreciated that the organization offered ways to make the visit more meaningful by suggesting activities to pair with the performance both before and after, with clear directions and objectives."

Sing Out Loud!

The SOuL! program is taught by 3 teaching artists, led by chorale-member Alice Murray, in an intensive, two-week residency at Martin Luther King School of the Arts in Seaside. Under their guidance, students work on the fundamentals of creative writing, learn the elements of melody and song structure, the roles of composer and lyricist, and techniques for healthy singing. In the course of the SOuL! residency, students learn to be very generous, encouraging, and welcoming of new ideas. Collaboration is the essence of this program. The students compose six original songs based on a unit of study or a collection of attributes and values important to them and their school and community.

Deepening Current Partnerships

The Carmel Bach Festival seeks to illuminate and share the relevancy of music and the arts for everyone. The arts give us beauty, joy, and a means of expressing ourselves.

Youth Orchestra Salinas/ Youth Music Monterey

Carmel Bach Festival musicians have worked with YOSAL music students since 2010. These workshops, group lessons, and collaborative concerts provide an opportunity for students to experience and learn from world-class musicians. Our partnership with Youth Music Monterey began in the Fall of 2015 when they engaged Suzanne Mudge to coach the brass ensemble and run orchestra sectionals. We invite students from both organizations in collaborative endeavors as well as extend invitations to rehearsals, concerts, and year-round festival events. Since 2017, the YOSAL Choir has performed in the Family Concert and the YMM Honors Orchestra Brass has performed with our musicians on Saturday Tower Music, the Gala, and at the season preview event.

Rancho Cielo Youth Campus

We engage musicians for a five-month residency to perform, teach, and interact with the Rancho Cielo youth in meaningful ways, opening pathways to future possibilities in their lives. Rancho Cielo is a comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved youth in Monterey County. The program transforms the lives of at-risk youth and empowers them to become accountable, competent, productive and responsible citizens.


Our partnership with the city of Seaside dates back to 1986. We have performed over 37 free community concerts in the summer and fall at the Oldemeyer Center and St. Francis Xavier Church. Listeners have enjoyed hearing the Tower Brass, woodwind and string ensembles, and chorale members present a wide variety of music, including classical, jazz, and Broadway. Our current venue, St. Francis Xavier Church, is an acoustical dream for performers and listeners alike. In addition, our education and outreach programs have served Seaside schools since 2014, including residencies, assemblies, and clinics.

Senior Centers and Assisted Living

An important component of our community engagement is to connect with senior citizens at many assisted living sites and senior centers. Music keeps older adults active and engaged and we make presentations several times a year through lectures, season previews, guest artists, and concerts with sing-along formats. As part of our Music and Ideas series, we presented a Dance for PD specialist at Canterbury Woods and Carmel Valley Manor in 2016, inviting local community groups to attend and participate in the event.