A culturally representative,
authentic arts experience

Accessible curriculum that
fuels student initiative​

Increase student attendance,
behavior and completion

The Program

Not your usual elementary school band! Giant instruments, earth shaking sounds and virtuosic playing combine into a music program that kids just can’t get enough of. We offer a joyful music making experience for children and teens in a technology-free social environment that stretches mind-body coordination, establishes leadership skills, and builds confidence backed by capacity.

Founded at Loma Vista Immersion Academy in Petaluma by school principal Jorge Arvizu and musician Tobias Sparks, our program started in 2016 with 8 students and is growing exponentially. Loma Vista is a dual immersion English-Spanish language school with a 70% hispanic population. The program celebrates the heritage of Loma Vista students by integrating traditional music from Latin cultures into its diverse curriculum.

We also offer an after school ensemble for high school and junior high school students to continue their studies after graduating from Loma Vista.

Energize Your School

Play Marimba Programs provides your students with a rigorous arts programs that celebrates and honors the diversity in classrooms.

We provide complete packages for your sites including:

  • Classroom Instrument Sets
  • Take Home Practice Marimbas
  • Standards Based Curriculum
  • Student Access to our Online Video Library
  • Robust, Ongoing Training for Your Staff.

Hear Our Music

Play Video

El Ahualulco – Traditional song from Mexico

Play Video

Three Kings – Christmas Carol from Puerto Rico

The Team

Tobias Sparks

Known at a young age for his innovative musical style and improvisational ability, Tobias Sparks now dedicates his time to bringing up the next generation of musicians.  Performing and teaching for over 20 years, he has collaborated with many singers, dancers and musicians and is featured on more than 25 CDs and DVDs of diverse genres. Tobias’ love of music has taken him to many corners of the earth studying with master musicians in India, Egypt and Turkey. He currently lives in Sebastopol composing music, building marimbas and directing the Play Marimba! program.

Jorge arvizu

Jorge Arvizu is an educator of 40 years. He has a passion for creating student centered programs
particularly in the visual and performing arts. He has developed programs for Youth Leadership
and understands the importance of arts as a core for individual development. Currently in the
North Bay area, he has worked as a school administrator at the site and district levels. He has
partnered with local, county and state providers to bring funding and programs to youth. Jorge
continues to be a part of youth development through partnering with the Arts, and with Fresno
State and Sonoma State Universities. As a co-founder of Play Marimba! – his vision is to give
students the opportunity to make “Joyful Music” to be shared with their community.

Irene Gilchriese

Irene grew up within the network of public school music programs in the East SF Bay, studying flute and piano for a decade into early adulthood. Other academic pursuits took priority for many years, leading her to become an elementary school teacher at Loma Vista in 2016.  There, she was quickly drawn to its budding marimba program, consequently rediscovering her enthusiasm for making music. She continues honing both her teaching and music skills as a participant in Play Marimba’s performance ensemble, and as an occasional substitute instructor for Play Marimba’s other youth classes.