11 posts categorized "Events"


Aug 5th - Noche of China Moon

View photos of the event here!



Tickets sold out!

May we live long and share the beauty of the Moon together

Join us when the Moon is at its brightest and roundest to rejuvenate harmonious friendships, promote longevity and express gratitude for Earth’s abundance.

The China Moon festival is a night of floating sky lanterns, fire dragon dances, and fragrant moon cakes.

Take the Silk Road to the elegance of the Orient and be an honored guest at the Imperial Banquet.


10,000 and up
Reserved Table for Eight

Six Assigned Seats

Four Assigned Seats
Four Assigned Seats




La Luz’s Cinco de Mayo “Celebration of Unity” Draws 4,000


La Luz Center‘s Cinco de Mayo celebration on Sunday, May 7 was a powerful “Celebration of Unity” in recognition of the broadening challenges faced by Sonoma’s immigrant community. Over 4,000 people attended, making it one of Sonoma’s best-attended Cinco events in recent years.

“It was a family-centered fiesta of with great food and music,” says event organizer Angie Sanchez. “Families came and hung out. There were tons of kids --lots of strollers!”

“LoCura,” a “Rolling Stones-type” band from San Francisco’s Mission District, headlined non-stop entertainment in the plaza amphitheater.

Mariachi Barragan, sponsored by Redwood Credit Union Sonoma Branch, and Sonoma’s Ballet Folklorico Quetzalen. filled the plaza with Mexican beats. Banda Valle Alegre got everyone up to dance.

The new Kids’ Zone was a hit with a mobile games center. Twenty booths featured tacos, enchiladas, frutas frescas, gorditas, elotes, pambazos, “bionicos” and aguas frescas. Great flavors!

The Cantina Garden had kegs of different Lagunitas Brewing Company beers and Sal Chavez of Puente International mixing mescal-based “palomas.”

"This Cinco de Mayo was an opportunity for all Sonomans to show their solidarity and celebrate the different cultures that make Sonoma so special,” said la Luz Executive Director Juan Hernandez. “We are heartened to see such a great turn-out. Thanks and mil gracias to Angie Sanchez who put the event together and managed all the details. She is our rock star!!






La Luz’s “Noche de Luz” a Success For Sonoma

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Click here to see photos of the event

“Noche de La Luz,” held this year on Saturday August 6th at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, was a glow-in-the-dark extravaganza of light (“la luz” in Spanish). It was also a great success raising $470,000 for the La Luz Center, funding programs to educate and assist Valley families in need. The event was sold out to 330 lucky guests who came decked out in neon colors and LED lights.

A beautiful young couple clothed in florescent paint posed for souvenir photos with guests during the cocktail hour. Watermelon martinis with Skyy vodka and Highway 12 wines flowed freely. Caterer Elaine Bell’s multi-colored hors d’oeuvres included mini bahn mi, quesadillas, and green cardamom shrimp along with a trio of colorful soups.

Guests were wowed as they entered the dining area that was magically transformed into a psychedelic dream experience. Glow-stick jewelry, flashing top hats of committee members, tables set with black cloths and blue LED lights added to the magic.

Sheila Whitney Stanford sang “Being Alive”, and Marcelo Defreitas, the event’s creator, producer and current La Luz Board President, joined in and welcomed the crowd. “I stand in this room filled with the most caring and generous people of this community,” he said. “Once again, year after year, I plead that you continue to join me in this effort to make our community more diverse and more inclusive. One where every resident feels like he or she belongs.”

Raffle winners were Mike and Mary Schuh of Glen Ellen who have graciously and generously donated their $5,000 prize back to La Luz to support our Information and Referral programs. What a bonus!

Dinner was served family style and included peach crostini starters, char grilled hangar steak and grilled cod, plates of vegetables and an extraordinary crowd-pleasing brown butter corn polenta. The grand finale was a parade of Glowing White Chocolate Splendor adorned with blinking LED lights.

Juan Hernandez, ED of La Luz, introduced 11 year old Fernanda Alvarez, daughter of La Luz clients, whose “dream is to be a singer.” Fernanda wowed the crowd with her rendition of Miley Cyrus’ The“Climb” then broke into tears as she hugged Marcelo, “the man with the biggest heart in Sonoma.”

When the Fund a Need followed Fernanda’s performance, guests opened their hearts and wallets. Major supporters jumped right in and nearly every guest raised a paddle. When Marcelo was joined by three supporters (John Story, Bill Hake and Tom Perkins) who offered to match every $100 donation, donors raised their paddles a second time!

A highlight of the evening’s entertainment was an extraordinary performance by Lightwire Theater based in New Orleans.  They are internationally recognized and have performed on America’s Got Talent. Guests were captivated by the performance of dancers and puppets lit up in a darkened room appeared as flying birds or oversized mythical animals. As has become tradition, as the finale to the party, guests took the stage for dancing to the music of DJ Jefferson Espinosa. 

La Luz is grateful to all supporters (Noche attendees, those who couldn’t get tickets because the event was sold out, raffle ticket buyers) who share our mission –to ensure that Sonoma Valley residents facing all types of challenges have the opportunity to improve their lives.

Click here to see photos of the event


Happy 4th of July!!

La Luz clients, staff and board marched in the 4th of July parade.  They were welcomed by overwhelming cheers from the crowd!  Go, La Luz!!

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Noche Latina! Save the Date: Sat, August 1st, 2015


Come let our sassy salsa, sultry tango and sexy samba entice you to a Latin night!

Save the date August 1st, 2015 when La Luz Center presents a high-spirited evening embracing the many exciting celebrations of Latino heritage.  Savor the zest of authentic cuisines and signature libations, then experience the rhythmic beat of passionate performers and seductive dancers!

A Latin band, bright pageantry and abundant Latino passion will transport you to NOCHE LATINA!

Another fabulous NOCHE event!

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 1st, 2015


Día de los Muertos

This year La Luz Center hosted a celebration for the Sonoma community to honor their loved ones who have passed in the annual Día de los Muertos event. Approximately 100 people came to celebrate two days of creating altars, honoring friends and family, dance performances, candle decorating, food and a special blessing from Danza Xantotl.

La Luz is grateful for the generous contributions from local businesses as well as the many volunteers that represented Sonoma State, Community Action Partnership, Alcoholics Anonymous and Líderes Campesinas.



Thanks for a Great Cinco de Mayo!

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Over 300 people spent a lovely afternoon celebrating  “Cinco de Mayo” at La Luz Center this year.

A highlight of the event was fiery Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez along with our local Rep. Mike Thompson discussing with the attendees the importance of getting the stalled immigration reform bill passed.  

Entertainment was provided throughout the afternoon, including the Mexican folklore dance company Quetzalen and the Brazilian group Capoeira Mandinga, whose performance combines dance, martial arts and acrobatics. There was classical guitar music with accompanying vocalist from Arnulfo on Strings, and  DJ music.

Many Sonoma Valley businesses donated food and typical Mexican drinks for the party.   Again this year there was the popular “jumpy” castle for the children, and a raffle.

Volunteers are the backbone of an event like this.  There were 35 volunteers assisting throughout the day with set-up, cleanup, food serving and raffle ticket sales. 

This year's "Cinco" featured tables by local businesses and organizations which are working to promote economic development in the Springs area.

“I can’t imagine a better Cinco de Mayo celebration, right here in our neighborhood,” said La Luz Executive Director Juan Hernandez. We couldn’t do this without our incredibly dedicated volunteers.  And the support of all the local businesses really showed the heart of the Springs.”

This “hometown” Cinco de Mayo celebration was organized by community members, Sonoma Valley High School students, businesses primarily in the Springs area, and volunteers.

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Cinco de Mayo 2014 at La Luz : Music, Dance, Food and Fun


La Luz Center will hold its popular  “Cinco de Mayo” celebration on Saturday, May 3rd from 3:30PM til 6:30PM.  The event is free to all.

Entertainment will provided throughout the afternoon, including the Mexican folklore dance company Quetzalen and the Brazilian group Capoeira Mandinga, whose performance combines dance, martial arts and acrobatics. There will also be classical guitar music with accompanying  vocalist from  Arnulfo on Strings, and  DJ music.

Many Sonoma Valley businesses have donated food and typical Mexican drinks for the party.   Again this year there will be a popular “jumpy” castle for the children, and a raffle.

The event will feature tables by local businesses and organizations which have been working to promote economic development in the  Springs area.

“We want this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration to highlight the many local businesses that have been working with La Luz to strengthen our community’s economy,” said Juan Hernandez, La Luz’s executive director.

This “hometown” Cinco de Mayo celebration has been organized by community members, Sonoma Valley High School students, businesses primarily in the Springs area, and volunteers.

La Luz Center is at 17560 Greger Street, in Boyes Hot Springs, Sonoma.  The mission of La Luz is to empower our community through education, leadership and self-advocacy.


Noche Out of Africa -- The Best Ever!

Noche - Web

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A dramatic bi-plane fly-by, wild jungle animals and throngs of  guests in pith helmets and safari attire, African batiks and animal prints set the stage Saturday night for La Luz’s magical “Out of Africa” fundraiser party in Jack London State Park.

“We netted over $350,000, which is a record for La Luz,” marveled Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, board chair of La Luz.  “We are truly overwhelmed by this outpouring of support for our La Luz family.  This “Noche,” and the two previous “Noches,” are gifts of love from our board member Marcelo Defreitas.  He conceives and produces these incredible events, together with a very dedicated committee of volunteers, and he gives his heart and soul to make everything perfect for us. “

Executive Director Juan Hernandez, III, calling La Luz “the light at the end of the tunnel for so many people,” saw the evening as “a resounding validation of our work at La Luz.  We are humbled and grateful to all of you,“  he told the crowd.

Ligia Booker, who founded La Luz over 20 years ago, was touched by “so much love for La Luz, and by so many people.”

Guests were greeted with Sundowner cocktails featuring Skye vodka, and Highway 12 wines, both 3–year sponsors of the Noche event.

The entire Lyons Ranch family  -–Rob, Robin and Lynette--were there with a beautiful cheetah, a snow leopard, an African porcupine and tortoise, a boa and even a python. 

Guests sat at long tables in the old winery ruins.  “I had a farm in Africa…”  began master of ceremonies Defreitas, as a small bi-plane circled above the crowd.  “Look!” he said.  “I think it’s Robert Redford!”

As Dean Carvalho recited Maya Angelou’s evocative poem “Africa,” a background of jungle sounds magically transformed the park into a savanna of the sub-continent.

A delicious African-inspired family-style dinner catered by Ramekins featured savory brined chicken, a chicory and lentil salad, and Moroccan vegetable kebobs.  

 A spectacular 60 foot long screen created by Defreitas’ friend Jaime Pandolfo was a stunning contrast to the perfect night sky.  Huge African masks stood on the sides.  The stage and sound technicians were provided through collaboration with Transcendence Theatre. 

Vibrant, frenetic African dancers and drummers from Diamano Coura West African Dance Company performed after dinner, with a stilt walker, and a dancing voodoo haystack. 

As a thank you to the donors, the El Verano School “ EV Glee” took the stage and to the crowd’s delight sang their favorite song, “Stick with Me.”

A team of 32 dedicated and delightful volunteers played a big part in making “Noche Out of Africa” a seamless, well- organized event.  La Luz Volunteer Coordinator Alyson Therres and our pinch-hitting volunteer, Volunteer Coordinator (who stepped in when Alyson had to be out of town) Sonoma State University student Sander Salguero, worked hard to recruit and organize so many people to do set-up and parking, greeting registration, auction recording, security and clean up during and after the event.  What a great group to have in our La Luz family.  ¡¡Mil gracias!!

And another big GRACIAS to all the wonderful, generous La Luz supporters who enable us to provide so many essential services to our community.  We could not do it without you! 


Noche en Casbah Raises over $300,000!


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La Luz’s Moroccan themed fundraiser, conceived and orchestrated by board member Marcelo Defreitas, with the help of his dedicated Noche Committee, was the best and most successful ever---raising over $300,000!

500 guests glittering in their jeweled caftans, turbans and sultan robes were greeted by Hump-Free the camel, from Lyon Ranch as they entered the Moroccan bazaar at Hanna Boys Center.  The stunning desert scene on the stage was created by Jaime Pandolfo.

IMG1854-LFalafel, kabobs, and cous-cous provided by Elaine Bell Catering were enjoyed by all, as well as Skyy Vodka martinis and wines from Highway 12 Winery.   Auctioneer Ed Vaughn, and our beguiling “genie” Shelia Whitney, entertained the crowd as guests raised their paddles for auction items. 

Board president Claudia Mendoza-Carruth pulled the winning raffle ticket for winners Diane and Henry Mayo.   Yvonne Hall introduced Juan Hernandez III, La Luz’s Executive Director who will assume the position late in August.

The Fund a Need, preceded by a poignant “Thank You, La Luz” video also produced by Defreitas, began with a bang when Alber Saleh and Dean Sereni, followed by Tom and JaMel Perkins, kicked off the bidding at $10,000. Loyal supporters Pam and John Story, Bill and Laurie Hake, and Mark and Linda Brewer each added $5,000. 

As the night grew dark, the brightly colored belly dancers of Troupe Joweh returned to the stage to dance with snakes and swords, and many revelers.

Yvonne Hall, La Luz Executive Director, says,”Noche en Casbah was one of those just-about-perfect evenings -- hundreds of friends of La Luz having a wonderful time and giving generously to support our many programs.  We were thrilled and humbled by the record-breaking response by our guests, and we can't thank Sonoma enough! I'll be retiring at the end of the month with a very full heart.”


"At La Luz Center, everybody wins!"  says winner Diane Mayo, as she receives her $10,000 "Noche en Casbah" prize raffle check from La Luz Executive Director Yvonne Hall.  


“Noche en Casbah,” una fiesta con tema Marroquí con el fín de recaudar fondos para La Luz,  concebido y orquestado por el miembro del consejo Marcelo Defreitas, con la ayuda de su Comité dedicado Noche,  fue el mejor y más exitoso jamás --- recaudando más de $ 300.000!

“Hump-Free” el camello de Rancho Lyon, recibió a los 500 huéspedes, brillantes en sus caftanes, joyas, turbantes y túnicas sultan, cuando entraban en el bazar marroquí en Hanna Boys Center. La escena del desierto impresionante en el escenario fue creado por Jaime Pandolfo.

Falafel, brochetas, y cous cous-proporcionada por Elaine Catering Campana fueron disfrutados por todos, así como martinis de vodka Skyy y vinos de la carretera 12 Winery. Subastador Ed Vaughn, y nuestra seductora "genio" Whitney Shelia, entretuvo a la multitud como invitados levantaron sus remos para artículos de subasta. 

La presidenta de la Junta Claudia Mendoza-Carruth sacó el boleto ganador para perteneciente a Diane Mayo Henry. Yvonne Hall introdujo a Juan Hernández III, Nuevo Director Ejecutivo de La Luz, quien asumirá el cargo a finales de agosto.

El Fondo de la Necesidad, precedido de un conmovedor "Gracias, La Luz" video producido también por Defreitas, comenzó con una explosión cuando Alber Saleh y Dean Sereni, seguido por Tom Perkins y Jamel, dio inicio a la subasta en $ 10.000. Partidarios leales Pam y John Story, Bill y Laurie Hake, y Mark y Linda Brewer sumaron cada uno $ 5.000. 

A medida que la noche se hizo oscura, los colores brillantes bailarines del vientre de Joweh Troupe regresó al escenario para bailar con serpientes y espadas, y muchos juerguistas.

Yvonne Hall, Director Ejecutivo de La Luz, dice, "Noche en Casbah fue una de esas noches justo unos perfectos - cientos de amigos de La Luz pasando muy bien y ofreciendo fondos generosamente para apoyar nuestros programas. Nos quedamos encantados y humillado por la respuesta sin precedentes por nuestros clientes, y no podemos agradecer lo suficiente a Sonoma! Voy a retirarme al final del mes con un corazón muy completo. "

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17560 Greger Street

Sonoma, CA 95476


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