Marcos Espinosa, a 20-year-old percussionist, was looking for a challenge.

He lives in Tijuana and was part of an orchestra there. He’d progressed past playing just a drum kit to the triangle, the timpani and the other instruments in the percussion section, but he was still looking for another push.

He auditioned for the San Diego Youth Symphony and got into its Sinfonia ensemble, which meets on Saturday mornings in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado, in a big classroom off of the building’s courtyard. Now each Saturday, Espinosa’s parents drop his siblings off at their own orchestra rehearsal in Mexico and bring him across the border and into the park for his.

At any moment in Balboa Park, you can find people on a mission. For some, like Espinosa, the mission is musical. Others are en route to a meeting. Maybe they’re volunteer ushers. Some are maintenance workers. There are people visiting from out of town and from across the border, like Espinosa. I’m excited he will join us next Wednesday as a speaker in our park-centered “Meeting of the Minds” event at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Sam Hodgson and I dropped in on a Sinfonia rehearsal a couple of weekends ago and caught Espinosa making some rhythm.

This is the kind of moment we know happens in Balboa Park all the time, out of view for most of us. We’re launching a photo project experiment to capture glimpses of some of the park’s hidden gems and our readers’ favorite places. Join us by going to the park on Saturday, Dec. 1, and taking a photo wherever you are at 3 p.m. Then upload it or share it with us and use the hashtag #balboaparkphoto. (Read more info about the project and how you can participate here.)

And plan to join us and Espinosa next Wednesday for our “Meeting of the Minds” event centered on Balboa Park.

I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.