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Escola Nova / Acadêmicos da Estrada Real                         History

Acadêmicos da Estrada Real / Escola Nova is the West Coast's oldest, longest-running Brazilian Samba organization. Our roots run deep and our directors continue to study the culture at its source. Here is our story, from our humble beginnings, to our high points, spin-offs, and to our rebuilding. Whether we parade with 300 or 30, or whoever is directing, the common thread through the years is a commitment to Samba Excellence.

1978-1982 Pre-History
José Lorenzo, a native of São Salvador (Bahia), Brazil. Created the Batucajé Brazilian Dance Company in Oakland. This company became the training ground for some of the Bay Area's most brilliant dancers and Percussionists. The group's alumni include Josephine Morada, Chalo Eduardo, Rick Telesforo, Rudy Ortiz, Rene Macay, Carlos Azeituno, Dennis Broughton and Jacque Barnes.
1983 - The Beginning
Josephine Morada and Chalo Eduardo, fresh from Batucajé, began to teach Brazilian dance and percussion classes at the Capp Street Center. Chalo Eduardo becomes new percussionist for the popular group Viva Brasil.
1984 - Invitation To Dance

There was no parade this year, so the newly christened Escola Nova de Samba held a community Carnaval at Theater Artaud. Bateria direction was split between Chalo Eduardo and Rudy Ortiz.

1985 - O Dispeitar As Cores/The Awakening of Colors
Carnaval parade returns and Escola Nova makes its premier. Parade route finished at Civic Center. Bateria sported hats with a representation of Rio de Janeiro's newly completed Carnaval stadium, the Sambadrom. Celia Malheiros composed a special Enredo. Batucajé veteran Rick Telesforo was a last-minute add-on as cuica player.
1986 - Carnaval de Ouro/ The Golden Carnaval
New parade route, this time heading south and finishing at 24th Street. Escola Nova made a big splash at judges reviewing stand and earned a write-up in the San Francisco Chronicle.
1987 - Sonhos do Rio/ Dreams of Rio
Bateria wore special hats made by Laura Yanow, which honored Xangô, the Yoruba god of thunder and drums. Marcos Santos wrote the Enredo. Carlos Azeituno, who would later form Fogo Na Roupa, was featured as an Escola Nova member in a San Francisco Examiner magazine spread. Future members of Birds of Paradise made their SF Carnaval debut here.


1988 - Hearts of Fire
Carnaval parade route changed to its present form. Escola Nova dominated parade awards with Grand Prize, First Place Overall along with other honors for music, costume and choreography, Conceição Damaceno, who later formed Ginga Brasil, made her SF Carnaval debut on Escola Nova's float.
1989 - Fruits of Life

Escola Nova repeated as Carnaval Grand Champion with a 300-member strong pageant. Our contingent featured an awesome 100-piece Bateria, a feat never duplicated. Escola members were featured on SF Examiner Magazine with story and photos on their "double lives". MECA proclaimed that Escola Nova de Samba had elevated San Francisco's Carnaval to a new level and served as the main inspiration to all other parade contingents.

1990 - Dawn of the Golden Age
The year it rained on Carnaval. Escola Nova made a big impression on KGO-TV's first televised broadcast of this event. Chalo Eduardo was shown directing our rehearsal at Marks Meadow. Enredo was led by Claudio Amaral of Viva Brasil. Escola Nova was charmed with luck on this day when the heavy rains commenced moments after our parade march was completed.
1991 - Midnight Magic
The sun shone brightly this time and so did Escola Nova with our longest, most impressive showing in the television broadcast. Our parade featured a 30-foot high skeleton puppet that loomed high over our contingent. Float was adorned with a large crescent moon face with animated puppet hands. Special honors were awarded for music and choreography.
1992 - Roots of Samba, Rhythms of the Universe

Another large award-winning presentation. Escola Nova landed Second Place Overall. Disaster was barely averted with a chaotic entry towards the television cameras. The following year, members of this contingent spun off to form Samba do Coração.

1993 - Admirals of Samba
Rick Telesforo stepped in to direct the Bateria to First Place Music and Brazilian Group, Third Place Overall. Pageant featured a non-motorized float (pushed by human power hidden within). Three Cabrocha wings and an outstanding Baiana section also highlighted this parade.
1994 - City Life
San Francisco landmarks and street signs were featured on costumes and allegories this year. A late-arriving float has to be finished as the parade commenced. Raul Rekow of Santana was a special guest musician. Djembe drums were introduced to the Bateria.
1995 - The Day of the Butterflies & Ogum
This parade made a special tribute to Carnaval founders Marcus Gordon and Adela Chu, Yoruba orixá, Ogum as well as to the late Bateria member John Riddel. Dina Pellegrini was interviewed on KTVU-TV. This was founder Chalo Eduardo's last parade and the last television broadcast.
1996 - Maracatú for the Saints
Contingent was led by 6-year olds Kevin Telesforo and Serafina Morada as our Mestre Sala and Porta Bandeira. Rick Telesforo took the helm as Bateria leader with new rhythms Maracatú and Coco added to the repertoire. Day was capped by a raw but highly spirited presentation at the Festival Stage.
1997 - I Am the Amazon
Theme based on special poem composed by Escola Nova Director Josephine Morada. Rudy Ortiz assumed the command as Music Director and introduced his own composition, Ayaguna. Luna Salaver and Dina Pellegrini continued to wow the crowds with their stunning costumes. Stage presentation featured Josephine's poem and Axé-inspired songs.

1998 - Ayaguna To The Oceans
Further refinements to Bateria made by Rudy Ortiz who also was the lead singer in the stage show. Luna Salaver was featured in KTVU news broadcast. New Carnaval tradition was born: the after-parade performer's parking lot tailgate party (instigated by Rene Macay).
1999 - Tribute to Iansã
Directors Josephine Morada and Rudy Ortiz visit Rio de Janeiro to study firsthand the Samba Quadras of Mocidade Independente and Viradouro. They return with fresh inspirations for the Escola. Rudy re-tools the Bateria with a tamborim section playing the most complex, ambitious patterns to date. All dance choreography and percussion breaks centered on our Enredo (theme song). Immediately following the parade, the directors announce that this is Escola Nova's final pageant and that the group will appear next year under a new banner - Acadêmicos da Estrada Real.
2000 - The Warriors of Samba
The premier of the re-christened Acadêmicos da Estrada Real. Josephine and Rudy once again visit Rio de Janeiro. Our pageant is once again centered around our Samba Enredo, sung by Jo and Rudy (via cordless headsets). A new Porta Bandeira / Mestre Sala team is formed to present our new flag. For the first time in five years, Acadêmicos da Estrada Real enters San Francisco Carnaval 2000 as a competitive contingent. This nets an honor from the MECA judges: Best Brazilian Music, Third Place. The Escola goes cyber with the creation of the web page by Phil Wong.

2001 - Cores Luminosos, Espiritos Genial Sai com  Acadêmicos da Estrada Real

Directors Josephine Morada and Rudy Ortiz, along with Bateria Chief Rene Macay, visited Rio de Janeiro Brazil and paraded in the Sambadrome with Carnaval Tri-champion Imperatriz Leopoldinese. They returned with not only inspiration, but with a new theme song and an official escola flag. The 2001 theme, created by Bateria member Susan Sullivan, was translated and put to music to create our first original Enredo. Rene Macay oversaw the creation of our new Escola Flag, which was hand-crafted in an authentic Samba School flag shop.

With this fresh Brazilian experience, the directors guided the group to its most elaborate, ambitious, and probably most authentic pageant ever. Longtime dance standout Dina Pelligrini Santana accepted the honor of being the first Porta Bandeira to carry the new flag.

Carnaval 2002: Branco, Anil, e Bronze Colorem Meu Coração – White, Indigo and Bronze Color My Heart

On a warm but foggy day the revelers of Acadêmicos da Estrada Real gathered for our 20th consecutive parade. Bedecked in dazzling white and blue, the cloudy weather actually enhanced the colors of our fantasias.

Director Josephine Morada and the venerable Jesse Adams re-united as the Porta Bandeira and Mestre Sala. The music never sounded better when the Sound Truck (complemented by a Cavaquinho player Carlinhos Oliveira and Singer Aurea Onorato) was placed directly behind the Bateria. This allowed Director Rudy Ortiz to focus on conducting the Bateria  to synchronized perfection. Shawna McCoy,  Bethica Quinn and Norma Espinoza led the Commissão da Frente’s  special choreography.  After being missed for years, Mercedes Arvelo-Romero and Sandra Nova returned to dance in the Luz, Paz, Amor e Esperança wing. Serafina Morada-Angulo led her 6th Grade classmates in a special wing, dressed as elegant Bahianas. 12-year old Kevin Telesforo learned to play Caixa (snare drum) in time to join his dad, Rick Telesforo in the Bateria. Andrew Scott took up the challenge of playing lead Repinique. Laura Morales sizzled in her second appearance as the Rainha da Bateria. This year’s special kudos go to Jody Reshaw, Bethica Quinn, Caroline Ayres and Laura Morales for their diligence and hard work. Another special thanks goes to Susanna Atwood for procuring the lovely blue necklaces for the Bainas and Baianinhas. Credit for building the Sound Truck goes to David Webster, Phil Ibarra, Andy Scott, Phil Wong, Ellery Brown, Rene Macay and Jesse Adams.

A perfect parade was followed by a perfect tailgate party.  Our parade march was completed early enough to allow everybody to rest up for the finale appearance in the Festival Stage. The excitement generated by the large crowd in front of the stage inspired the dancers and drummers to put out their best. Our electrifying performance whipped up the crowd into an ecstatic frenzy. All in all it has been one of our most memorable Carnavals to date.