Other Californio Groups and Music

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     Los Californios, The Alta California Orchestra

The Alta California Orchestra, are a group of musicians and dancers of diverse backgrounds brought together to preserve and perform the music & dance of Early California. The music is presented in the true spirit of the Fandango, Fiesta or Barn dance, with bright, lively tunes and songs of good times and heartbreak. The performers are all well versed in the traditional music of America, Europe and Mexico and have performed world wide. We are proud to present this vibrant art form which is one of the great treasures of the State of California and our immigrant ancestors.


You can also purchase CD's and dance booklets in our SHOP, by clicking on the 'SHOP' BUTTON.

We are the band started by Robert Thomas in the 1970's releasing our 1st CD in 1996 after Robert's passing.

Available for all occasions. Call Deborah or e-mail (707) 937-3029 ( Home number PST) with questions or for help planning your event.
Rate sheet available upon request.

Core Musician Bios For American Masterpieces - California Project

Funded by the California Arts Council.

Brian Steeger~ is a known instrument maker. He has devoted over 35 years traveling to study with masters of world music. In the 1980's he received an artist in residence grant from the California Arts Council, to revive and teach old California music with Luis Valdezs 'El Teatro Campesino' in San Juan Bautista, CA. Brian Steeger later became the musical director of their winter 'Pastorela' Productions at the San Juan Bautista Mission. Brian continues to further California music. He teaches and plays at California music festivals, events, workshops and camps. He also plays bagpipes of the world.

Ernest Fischbach ~ Studied Anthropology at CSU Long Beach (BA 1966), where he met Ethnomusicologist, Dr Sam Chianis, who recommended and helped with scholarships for Ernie to study Classical North Indian music at the Ali Akbar College of Music in the Bay Area. He studied the music of Afghanistan and other folk music with immigrant musicians in the Bay area and throughout California. Today Ernest is making mandolins and teaching/performing throughout California. Ernie is a founding member of The Institute for Traditional Studies a non-profit organization founded in 1979 to revive traditional musicks.

Marianne Steeger ~ Has been playing music since she was a child. She is an accomplished musician on stringed instruments, piano, accordion, percussion, and vocals. Marianne has preformed with 'El Teatro Campesinos' winter productions of 'La Virgen Del Tepeyac' and 'La Pastorela' at Mission San Juan Bautista, and became co-musical director with her husband Brian. Marianne has sung with San Benito Counties 'Oriana Chorale' and is currently with 'The Alta California Orchestra' and other traditional musical ensembles.

Deborah Fischbach ~ Has been a student of dance, rhythm, art and music since grammar school, and by high school had received several honors and awards in the arts. In 2003 she was certified for Professional development in the field of California standards for Arts education excellence in Arts integrated curricula, K-12 (Via a CAC grant) and currently performs percussion and teaches dance. Deborah is a founding member & current president of The Institute for Traditional Studies non-profit organization founded in 1979. In 2007 she authored 'California Folk Dance Traditions' an Instruction Booklet and accompanying music CD, funded by NEA, CAC and WESTAF.

Melissa Fischbach- Accomplished vocalist and percussionist. Sings on the accompanying musical CD for the Instructional Dance Booklet & CD set and on the "Fandango at Sonoma" CD.

David Brown- Master of Music, University of New Orleans, Composer. Recording Engineer and musician on the accompanying musical CD for the Instructional Dance Booklet and CD set and musician on the "Fandango at Sonoma" CD.

Sylvester Lee- Accordion specialist, and vocalist.

Barbara Brown- Accomplished singer, dancer and rhythm instrumentalist. Helped direct and plays music on the Instructional CD and sings on the Fandango at Sonoma CD.

Jason Adajian- English Dance Master, Accordionist and historian.

Kevin Hughes - Multi-instrument musician, dancer.

Ian Law- Musician extrodinaire.
Robert Hill - Violinist and fiddler.
Alex Bernstein - Multi-instrument musician.