Play Marimba! no

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.

Green Center Concert Footage


— 2019 Arts Education Innovation Grant Recipient —

We have received both an Arts Education Innovation Grant and a Cultural Arts Grant funded by Creative Sonoma and the Community Foundation Sonoma County and grant from the Bill Gram Memorial Foundation. The AEIG will be used to to train some of our older students to build practice marimbas for our growing student body. The CAG funds will be used to support our programs and curriculum development.

Creative Sonoma Logo

—  January 12, 2020 PTA Benefit —

Join us at Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma to raise funds for the Loma Vista PTA.

—  February 14th, California After School Network Conference, Fresno —

Presenting our music program to district administrators from around the state.

—  February 29th, 2020 Green Center Performance —

Celebrate Leap Day at the Green Center, featuring Las Cafeteras & Friends. We have been invited to perform! See details

—  April 22th, 2020 Loma Vista Spring Concert —

Our annual spring concert featuring our 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes.

—  May 24th, 2020 Sebastopol Farmers’ Market —

Community building fun on a beautiful spring day!


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.

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.