Mar Alto was established in 1974 by Father Ivo Rocha and Sister Maria de Jesus at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Turlock, California.
Today, Mar Alto still holds its rehearsals on the church grounds. It consists of the teenagers and young adults of the community and of neighboring communities. Most of the members are Luso-Americans who speak English and Portuguese. Mar Alto has participated in all the folklore festivals and has had the privilege of hosting four of these festivals that have been held in California since 1983. It has also performed at various cultural events including at the California State University of Stanislaus, the Carnegie Art Center, various festivals of the Holy Spirit, Portugal Day, and other ethnic celebrations in Santa Clara, Tulare, Santa Barbara and many other communities throughout California.
In the year 2000, the group finally achieved one of its goals when it acquired live music. The group had not had live music since the first few years of its existence. An accordionist, two guitarists, several percussionists and a few singers now help to enhance Mar Alto’s performances.
In 2014, Mar Alto hosted the annual Folklore Festival to celebrate its 40th anniversary with members from the past 4 decades on stage. Mar Alto is excited about its upcoming performances and looks forward to being invited to many other celebrations and cultural activities.