Story Creator, Composer, Librettist and Lyricist
Waters is the founder and Artistic Director of NWEAMO (New West Electro-Acoustic Music Organization). NWEAMO is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt and volunteer-run group of individuals dedicated to promoting the work of living composers and increasing public awareness of contemporary performing arts. Beginning in 1998, NWEAMO has presented an annual showcase, The NWEAMO Festival, that travels between San Diego and various international locations, to date Berlin, Boulder, Mexico City, Miami, New York City, Portland OR, Morelia (Mexico) and Venice (Italy) — where there is on-going programming.
to forge connections between the composers, performers and lovers of avant garde classical music and the DJs, MCs, guitar-gods, troubadours and gourmets of experimental popular music. When there is no connection, both suffer: When classical music does not connect with popular culture, it becomes a music of experts, unable to reflect and contribute meaningfully in the broad marketplace of developing ideas and cultural experimentation. When popular music has no connection and communication with the classical it becomes naive and superficial, untethered to its historical roots and broad cultural underpinnings. A healthy cultural milieu celebrates both.
Waters also collaborates with visual artists (writing music for live performance, film, dance and public art). He wrote music for chime rail commissioned by Sculptor Roman De Salvo (a $200,000 bridge railing tuned by De Salvo so that the composition, Crab Carillon – a palindrome, can be heard by striking the brass railing bells with a stick from either direction). Among the compositions he wrote for experimental film, is the project performed by Fear No Music Ensemble (Portland OR) entitled Kali Yuga (2000, pixilation and object animation) directed, produced and animated by Joanna Priestley (who was awarded a retrospective of her film work at MOMA).
He performs and composes for SWARMIUS Ensemble, Felix Olschofka (violin), Todd Rewoldt (alto saxophone), Michael Couper (soprano saxophone), Sarah Davis Draper (harp), Justin DeHart, Andrew Kreysa, Joel Bluestone (classical percussion) and Waters (composer and computer music performer).
Director, Script Editor and Dramaturg
Wilfred is the Director of Arts Education & Outreach at Diversionary Theatre. an Actors’ Equity Association member with an M.A. in Theatre Arts and a B.A. in Theatre Performance; graduate of the MCIT Acting Studio. San Diego State University Graduate Program in Musical Theatre candidate, 2024. Acting credits: Light Years Away (La Jolla Playhouse), Eighty-sixed (Diversionary Theatre), O Wondrous Night (SeaWorld) and A Semicolon is a Double (Scripps Ranch Theatre). Directing credits include: Kasama (Southwestern College), Potion (Moxie Theatre), and School of Rock (Junior Theatre). Choreographer highlights: Hunchback of Notre Dame (Junior Theatre), Lion King Jr. (Young Actors’ Theatre), Shrek & Newsies (Academy of Our Lady of Peace), and Hall Pass (Blindspot Collective). Wilfred is an Adjunct Professor at Grossmont College & Southwestern College. Wilfred directs & facilitates applied theatre projects centering LGBTQIA+ issues, racial justice, & youth advocacy. Listen to Wilfred on Spotify featured in the original cast recording of The Things We Never Say written by Thomas Hodges. wilfredpaloma.com
Directing a new work is an incredible honor and a daunting task. I have directed many musical theatre productions. The Magic Hummingbird is special as it is my first opera. The piece is unique in that it has all of the classic hallmarks of opera and I am infusing the piece with musical theatre conventions: character-based approaches to the text and well-integrated movement throughout. The staging and design of the show is brilliant, and I am very fortunate to have wonderful and highly skilled collaborators on this front. My experience as director of the first full production of The Magic Hummingbird is one that I cherish and take with me–in my heart.
César Aguilar began singing at the age of 7 and showed a lot of interest in all genres of music that took him to perform Mexican Music (ranchero) amongst many other styles until finally discovering opera. He recorded three albums that showcase all the different styles of music he explored since his childhood.
At the age of 15 César Aguilar debut the opera “La leyenda del Tepozteco” by Mexican composer Federico Alvarez del Toro. He had the privilege of working with renowned musicians and actors such as Ariane Pellicer and Jorge Reyes amongst many others.
He has performed with orchestras in México and in Canada, including the Marine Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), Chiapas Youth Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), Lethbridge Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and in music festivals such as Escapararte and Tercera Invasión
Excéntrica. He studied for several years with Ricardo Sanchez in Mexico. After moving to Canada, he continued his vocal studies under June Chittick and Winston Noren. In University, he worked with Dr. Blaine Hendsbee, Dr. Sandra Stringer, baritone Theodore Baerg and countertenor Daniel Taylor. Currently he works under de tutelage of soprano legend Mary Morrison.
He has taken part in programs including Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, Orford Academy of Music, Academie de Fouvriere (France), SienaAgosto (Italy).
He is an active performer and music educator and was part of the music
faculty at the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatoire for two years.
His opera credits include roles in “L’Enfant et les Sortilèges” (UWO), “La Fille du Regiment” (London Community Players and Fountainhead TheatreWorks), “Hansel and Gretel”(UWO) and “The Magic Flute” (TCO). Most recently he appeared as Leonardo in the workshop of the opera “El último sueño de Frida y Diego” with Fort Worth Opera. César is an active recitalist and lecturer; his last recital works include the concert “Nada es lo que parece” at the National Arts Centre (CENART) in Mexico City as well as his participation in “Latin Queens” with Opera Queens in their last performance in Montreal. He has taught several seminars including a
seminar for the “Tidriks Distance Learning Program” and was recently a faculty mentor for the “Bahlest Eeble Readings” (GLFCAM) in California, USA.
Upcoming performances include the premiere of two commissions by composers Timothy Petersen and Iman Habibi as well as his participation in Water’s opera “El Colibrí Mágico” (The Magic Hummingbird) in collaboration with Opera Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico and his debut with Omaha Opera as Leonardo in Frank’s “El último sueño de Frida y Diego” (The Last Dream of Frida and Diego).
In Water’s opera “El Colibrí Mágico” I play the role of Francisco. Francisco is a character I identify closely with due to his heritage and his different journeys of discovery. Although I grew up in México, I have now spent more than half of my life in Canada; consequentially, I have had
moments of being out of touch with realities that some people from my country face, especially people that are seeking refuge from violence, insecurity and famine. I consider myself very lucky and privileged to have had the opportunities and the life that I’ve had. However, even with all of that undeniable privilege, I have faced racist comments, discrimination, and some poor
experiences when trying to enter other countries, especially the USA and Canada. So, it is hard to imagine the atrocities that people without my privilege have had to endure. The fear of risking your life, the life of your family and loved ones is one that I will never be able to understand. In this story, Francisco discovers this reality and feels an urgent need to help his people, oblivious that it is not that easy. This prosocial behaviour of wanting to voluntarily help others without considering the implications this may have, is one I relate with personally and that allows me to
connect to the character in a profound way. Additionally, the journey of self-discovery that Francisco is living is very similar to my own. I have always valued my friendships and I am lucky to say that I have some very close friends in my life, who will be there to help and with whom I have had the privilege of sharing moments of joy, anger, sadness, hope, etc., just like Franciscowho has Clara and Franklin. Similarly to Francisco, I went on a journey of discovering my sexuality as a teen, where I found the intersection of stressors related to being an ethnic and sexual minority very relevant in my life and an integral part of the person I have become. The constant quest to find purpose in life while doing what I love, which is to perform and entertain an audience despite many people telling me that music is no career or that music will take me nowhere, is another close connection I have to this character. Fortunately for me, while not for Francisco, my mother and my immediate family have always been very supportive.
Nonetheless, the comments from people around me weigh heavily on my shoulders and feed the insecurities that I, like many people, have.
The absence of a father is another element that I relate closely to Francisco since I lost my dad at a young age. Lastly, one of the most beautiful elements of this work and one I am truly looking forward to being a part of is the magical journey that reminds us that we are all connected to everything in body and spirit. Throughout my life and my experiences, I have realized that compassion and love are the two most important things we all humans should strive to offer and be open to receive. I truly believe that Water’s opera invites us as performers and listeners to think deeply, evaluate our thoughts, attitudes, motivations, and desires, and prioritize harmonious relationships with everyone around us. I cannot wait to bring Francisco to life, drawing from all my own experiences, and sharing this magical story with whoever is interested in being part of this journey.
As a baritone, Coleman has championed the music of Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper, Elias Tannenbaum and Seth Boustead, among many others. He has performed in and co-produced “A Night of Grand Opera” for two seasons at the Sandisfield Arts Center in MA, hosted by legendary baritone, Benjamin Luxon. Coleman has also performed in the world premieres of 12 different operas (Including his own Redemption). He has been a regular vocalist and composer with Golden Fleece Ltd., Composers Concordance and Access Contemporary Music. Coleman is co producer of the ‘Opera Five & Dime’ nights at the Five & Dime cocktail bar in lower Manhattan in NYC.
Description of “The Preacher” role in ‘The Magic Hummingbird’:
My role of “The Preacher” is a loud, stentorian, self indulgent and overall delusional bigot who has these depraved intentions to take over the world and destroy everyone who is not like him. History is filled with characters like this. And this kind of attitude is seemingly prominent in certain pockets of the world these days. The best thing we can do is expose it. And this opera makes for a great vehicle to do that.
She is playing the role of Clara, a rockin’ party girl who loves blue vodka Jell-O shots as much as she loves her friends. She is a mix of chaotic party girl energy and peacekeeping with her two best friends. While she is externally a fun loving girl, she is also on an internal journey of being aware of her own naivety and privilege. Clara realizes later on that she can use her privilege to help those in need, and not just focusing on her personal needs.
Arnold is a fairly complex character, despite not having a tremendous amount of time on stage. When diving into his mentality, one has to look at how a person could end up being distorted and controlled so emphatically in the way that Arnold is. Wilfred and I spent time talking about how a person could fall down such a rabbit hole and end up in that position, especially because I am a person who believes that all humanity is innately good, but becomes evil due to exterior influences. We came to the conclusion that his beliefs were instilled within him from a young age and he was sheltered to a point where that became all he knew and it consumed his every waking moment. We discovered that because of his time in San Quentin, Arnold has to have a fairly mundane day job that merely keeps him afloat, but any additional resources and time he has immediately go towards the Preacher and this cult that he has become a high-ranking member of. He views the Preacher as almost this sort of father figure who is a benevolent and all-powerful being that cares deeply for him, leading him further and further down this path. Playing a character of this nature is very intriguing, but one must also be mindful of the harm that they cause. It has been a pleasure working with Wilfred and my fellow cast members to discover this character and this story so that we may make our art better in every capacity.
May the Force be with you
countertenor – Elias, Flash, Swing
Originally from Chula Vista, CA, Philip Gómez obtained his BA from UCSD and MM from SDSU. He has performed in some operatic productions with Opera NEO. Notable roles include Sorcerer in Dido and Aeneas and Refugee in Flight. In addition, Mr. Gómez has worked as a teaching artist at the San Diego Opera where he has had the opportunity to instruct and prepare students for performances at several community events throughout San Diego. In 2022, he sang pieces from The Magic Hummingbird at Ópera en la Calle in Tijuana, Baja California.
In this production of The Magic Hummingbird, Mr. Gómez is involved in the following roles:
Originario de Chula Vista, CA, Philip Gómez obtuvo su licenciatura en la Universidad de California en San Diego (UCSD) y su maestría en la Universidad Estatal de San Diego (SDSU). Ha actuado en algunas producciones operísticas con Opera NEO. Algunos papeles notables han incluido el hechicero en Dido y Eneas y el refugiado (Refugee) en Flight (Vuelo). Además, el Sr. Gómez ha trabajado como artista docente en la Ópera de San Diego, donde ha tenido la oportunidad de enseñar y preparar a los estudiantes para algunas actuaciones en varios eventos comunitarios en San Diego. En 2022, cantó algunas piezas de El Colibrí Mágico (The Magic Hummingbird) en Ópera en la Calle en Tijuana, BC.
En esta producción de El Colibrí Mágico, el Sr. Gómez interpreta estos papeles:
Grupo de danza
Boca de dragón
The Magic Hummingbird, to me, is a piece about connection and re-connection. Connecting to one’s history and the history of one’s family. Re-connecting to the world around you, both in terms of the magic of the natural world and the realities of the human existence. My character Franklin is someone that is trying to find their purpose and through the journey of this play, he is able to re-connect to his family (both blood and chosen) as well as finally connect to the magic of the natural world that surrounds him in order to serve a higher purpose.
David Ramirez received his Bachelor’s in Flute Performance from California State University, Northridge where he graduated Cum Laude in 2021. During his time at Cal State Northridge, David won the CSUN Concerto Competition in his Freshman Year as well as graduating with distinguishing scholarships such as the Colburn Classical Music Scholarship. David is currently pursuing his Master’s in Flute Performance at the University of Southern California under the instruction of Catherine Karoly and is an active freelancer in the Los Angeles area. When not performing, David dedicates much of his time to teaching flute and piano, something which he does in both English and Spanish as well as performing with the group he co-founded SOLCAL Chamber Group.
Francisco’s mom – soprano – ensemble
Statement: As an ensemble member of this production, Sophia portrays a variety of different characters during the show including Francisco’s adoptive and birth mother. Exploring the complexity of both of these characters has involved understanding the deep emotional strength it takes to make selfless decisions for the well-being of your child. Francisco’s birth mother decides to make the journey to cross the boarder and when facing death, she selflessly ensures Francisco continues on even when she cannot. Francisco’s adoptive mother makes the tough decision not to disclose his birth mother’s sacrifice to him while also trying to urge him to choose a steady career path rather than becoming a musician in an attempt to shield him from the hardships he may face.
Stage Manager at El Canton – ensemble
Camelina (she/her) is honored to be a part of the cast for The Magic Hummingbird. She received an Associate in Theater Arts from Grossmont College and is continuing her studies at San Diego State University. Previous productions she has been in include El Espíritu Del Amor at SDSU, 105 Miles from Home at Fringe Festival San Diego, Two Gentlemen Rock Verona at Coronado Playhouse, and The Weight of Dreams at SDSU Don Powell Theatre. She’d like to thank the talented company for putting in their time and effort to create this beautiful piece. She would also like to send much love to her incredibly supportive family!
Instagram : @camelinacedillo <3
Camelina Cedillo (she/her) is incorporated into the world of The Magic Hummingbird as an ensemble member and is playing a number of roles to tell this story. From stage manager, to plant spirit, to refugee, she is there to support the dynamic and magnificent story that is The Magic Hummingbird!
piano, Hohner Panther Accordion, Suzuki Andes 25F, percussion
Geoffrey Burleson, pianist, has performed to wide acclaim throughout Europe and North America.
Current recording projects include Camille Saint-Saëns: Complete Piano Works, on 6 CDs, for the new Naxos Grand Piano label. The first five volumes have been released to high acclaim from Gramophone, International Record Review, Diapason (France) and elsewhere. Other noteworthy recordings include Vincent Persichetti: Complete Piano Sonatas (New World Records), which received a BBC Music Choice award from the BBC Music Magazine, and AKOKA (Oxingale Records), featuring Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, as well as companion works, for which Burleson was nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award for Classical Album of the Year.
Concerto appearances include the Buffalo Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, Boston Musica Viva, and the Holland Symfonia in the Netherlands. He has also appeared as featured soloist at the Bard Music Festival, International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York), Monadnock Music Festival, Santander Festival (Spain) and the Mänttä Music Festival (Finland). He is a core member of the American Modern Ensemble and Ensemble Ipse. Mr. Burleson is on the piano faculty of Princeton University, and is Professor and Director of Piano Studies at Hunter College-CUNY.