2022 Digital Video Storytelling, Medium Form, Small/Medium Newsroom finalist

Hitting a High Note: Core Values and Love of Music Inspire this Talented SF Family Band

About the Project

In early 2022, The San Francisco Standard met and interviewed the Curtis family, known professionally as The Curtis Family C-Notes, who play ’60s and ’70s-inspired funk music out of their Bayview District home and in venues across San Francisco. We chose to profile the family because of their incredible talent, unique positioning as a band of five kids, plus mom and dad, and their ability to overcome severe adversity, including homelessness and lost work from the pandemic.

In fact, when the C-Notes played the halftime show at a March 2020 Warriors game, they thought it might be their big break. But shortly thereafter, Covid hit, and all their booked performances were canceled. Scrambling to still perform, the family began livestreaming performances and rehearsals from their living room. It was their weekly livestreams that eventually brought them their biggest opportunity yet — a stint on the popular show America’s Got Talent.

That achievement is noteworthy no matter who you are, but it was especially poignant for the Curtis family, who experienced homelessness and lived out of a van in 2011.

“We kept our focus. Some people call it faith. I simply call it focus,” said Maestro Curtis, the father of the family.