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Internationally Renowned Flautist Plays at Awards Gala at Loews

Elena Duran has performed around the globe with some of the world's most recognizable musicians and orchestras.

Elena Duran once vowed to her cousin that she would play with Paul McCartney one day. The two were at Candlestick Park in San Francisco to hear the famed group, in what would turn out to be their last concert ever. It was 1966.

Some 18 years later, Duran's prediction came true. By then she was an internationly renowned flautist, living in London. 

McCartney was a fan. He asked her to perform with him on “Rupert and the Frog Song.”

 “When we met he went kiss, kiss and I went sigh, sigh,” said Duran.

She told the story at a performance this weekend at the Abrazo Gala, hosted by San Diego's Casa Familiar at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, where she performed works by leading Mexican composers.

It was the organization’s annual fundraiser. More than 150 people attended, including Rep. Bob Filner, who is running for mayor in San Diego, state Sen. Juan Vargas and Jean Roesch, Southwestern Community College District board member and Coronado City Council candidate.

Duran became involved with Casa Familiar when she met its president Andrea Skorepa in Mexico City a few years back and learned of the work of the San Ysidro-based community in South San Diego County.

“I am about people who try to give of their heart,” the Oakland native said. “We give of our hearts every day.”

As a musical ambassador of Mexico City, Duran gives much of her time to those on both sides of the border.  “I go every where to play for people in Mexico City, even in the jails,” she said.

Founded 40 years ago, Casa Familiar specializes in the needs of people living in the South Bay. It offers over 50 programs in human services, community development, recreation services, technology and the arta. It also manages 1200 affordable housing units in San Ysidro.

Duran, who has played with leading artists across musical genres, including legendary jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, never preformed with McCartney again, but she did play for him.

It was at a concert of Beatles music with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society in Albert Hall, and it wasn't just Sir Paul. Also in attendance – Queen Elizabeth and 6.500 other people.

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