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Bread & Roses Blog

News and information from Bread & Roses, a non-profit organization that presents live music to bring hope, healing and joy to the community.

Golden Gate Brass Band "Musical Bridges" Tribute

With musicians playing trombones, trumpets, flugel horns, cornets, euphoniums, tubas and french horns, it’s a rare thing to hear a live 14-piece brass band.   When the concert is a Musical Bridges tribute by the Golden Gate Brass Band for the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge (1937-2012), it is truly a “once in a blue moon” opportunity.  

Bread & Roses audiences at the Veterans Home in Yountville, as well as The Redwoods in Mill Valley, were lucky recipients of two of the band’s recent community service concerts.  The concerts by the Golden Gate Brass Band, founded by Professor Arlen Philpott from Fairfax in the early 80s, are part of 75 tribute events hosted by community partners leading up to a big celebration sponsored by Golden Gate National Parks at Crissy Field on May 27. 

We were all travelers going back in time to the 1930’s when the bridge was being constructed and to 1937 when it first opened to the public.  From Porgy & Bess I Got Plenty of Nothin’ to Duke Ellington’s Don’t Mean A Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing to Mood Indigo from the Harlem Renaissance, there was a lot to remember.

Blue Moon, written by Rodgers and Hart in 1934,was especially appropriate with a blue moon rising at full peak in the Bay Area the night before. Everyone sang along with Ken Brungess of Corte Madera, band-leader and director of the group since 2008.  “Blue Moon, Now I’m no longer alone, without a dream in my heart...”  

Brungess, also a conductor as well as a composer, surprised the audience with an original song he’d written about the bridge called “The International Orange Hop” serenading the bridge’s distinctive color in a typical blues jump jitterbug style of the period complete with scat singing.

The Veterans Home concert was triumphantly capped by a special medley of songs honoring the veterans’ service to our country including Glory, Glory Hallelujah and My Country ‘Tis of Thee.   The final piece, The Circumnavigators March by John Phillip Sousa, was played with buoyant feeling and a perfect ending.

The musical bridges concert prompted memories from a few of the World War II vets in the audience that day. Ken Parks remembered the live radio broadcasts along the span of the bridge.

Hal Cox of Mill Valley said, “I remember playing my harmonica on the day the bridge opened. We started on the north end and got about half way across. There were so many people that by the time we got to the middle we had to turn around.”  He also recalled that Joseph Strauss, the bridge’s chief engineer, was a poet whose aesthetic sensibility contributed greatly to the building of the beautiful bridge.

Sallie Layman, one of the trumpet/cornet soloists in the band remarked afterwards that she had never seen anything like the amazing transformation in the faces of the veterans as the program progressed. Brungess noted that it is a Bread & Roses hallmark that the performers are often as moved by their audiences’ reactions as their audiences are moved by the music.  

Have you been moved by a recent musical experience, either as a performer or an audience member?  Tell us in the comments.  

Golden Gate Bridge from Pacific Overlook, Photo by Mason Cummings

Calendar Note: Golden Gate Bridge 75th Celebration 

The Golden Gate Brass Band will take part in the “Golden Gate Festival” on the main stage at Crissy Field on Sun. May 27 at 4:50 pm. The band will debut an original composition by Brungess called Musical Amalgam: Brass and Steel.  During this 'overture for brass instruments, steel girders and bridge remnants', students from Tamalpais High School will play actual steel bridge pieces against the stunning backdrop of the bridge itself.  It promises to be an unforgettable night. 

 By Marian Hubler

 

 

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From the Archives: Happy Birthday Mimi Fariña

Today, April 30, 2012, our founder Mimi Fariña would have been 67-years-old.  When she died of cancer in 2001, she was way too young to leave us.  Mimi’s great gift is the strong legacy she left at Bread & Roses.

On this anniversary of her birthday, we appreciate all who continue to support our mission of hope and healing through live music. If you would like to join the Mimi Fariña Founder's Circle, please make a donation in her honor today.

In the Bread & Roses archives, there is a wonderful article by Joan Smith from the San Francisco Examiner Magazine (December 17, 1995) Heart & Soul: Mimi Fariña’s Mission of Hope. Ms. Smith talks about the relevance of  "the selfless good work of Fariña and her staff of volunteers."  It reminds us of the timeless nature of the work in which we are all engaged, connecting heart to heart through live music with those who need uplifting most. 

This week Making Music Magazine published an article on Bread & Roses and Mimi's legacy. Former Board Chair, Toby Nady composed the article. You can read the full text by following this link.

Mimi Fariña circa 1991. Photo by James Sugar, Courtesy of Bread & Roses.

 

As a musician, Mimi knew first-hand the impact that music could have on a person living in an institutional setting. After an early concert she gave at a half-way house she said; “I could see the need to bring music to people who are confined or suffering and not in touch with the outside world.  You don’t have to preach or say anything, you just have to be there and make the music and it gets through on another level than medication or punishment or whatever else people experience in institutional life.”

Mimi with her sister Joan (from the collection of Joan Baez).

 

She was inspired to start calling performers she knew and schedule them for concerts for institutional audiences.Thank you Mimi for all you did to start Bread & Roses and keep it going. In this time of great technological change and economic challenge, thanks to all who help sustain this work through your contributions of time, talent and treasure as volunteers and donors.

Mimi with Melissa Paulsen (former Mayor of Corte Madera) cutting the ribbon for Bread & Roses' current office at 233 Tamalpais Drive in Corte Madera. Photo by Jon Sievert, courtesy of Bread & Roses.

 

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Reflections on "Take Heart," the March 22 Concert to Benefit Bread & Roses.

The Board and Staff of Bread & Roses would like to thank all of the performers, volunteers, donors and sponsors who participated in our March 22 benefit concert, "Take Heart." We couldn't have done it without your support. And what a night it was, complete with dinner, music and dancing! The following is a slideshow of photos taken at the event:

All photos by Ken Friedman, courtesy of Bread & Roses.

If you attended the event, please leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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Judy Collins Recalls Origin of “Bread and Roses” Song

In Singing Lessons: A Memoir of Love, Loss, Hope and Healing (c. 1998 p. 174) Judy Collins recalls looking for songs for an album project in 1976.

“After the death of her husband, Dick Fariña, Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez’s younger sister, had started a nonprofit organization in San Francisco called Bread & Roses, to provide free entertainment for people in homes, jails and hospitals in the Bay Area. She wrote the “Bread and Roses” melody to a poem by James Oppenheim and I recorded it, using a choir of voices in a church in New York.”  

In her liner notes for the album, also titled Bread & Roses Judy said:“Songs come from many places, unexpectedly, amazingly.”  She relayed how Mimi had sent her a copy of the “Bread and Roses” poem. She thought it so beautiful that she asked her to set it to music. Her sister Holly Ann then designed a Bread and Roses tapestry piece featuring a single rose and wove it using hand-dyed yarns which was then used as the art for the inside album cover.      

This year commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the Bread and Roses poem written by James Oppenheim in 1912 about the women and children striking in Lawrence, MA for better wages and working conditions. The poem inspired Mimi Fariña to name the organization she founded in 1974 “Bread & Roses” for she believed that all people -- especially those isolated in institutions -- need music, art and roses, as well as bread, to feel fully human.

Judy Collins has long been a supporter of many nonprofit organizations including Bread & Roses. She performed a Bread & Roses institutional concert in 1985 at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco in the historic Gerald Simon Theatre.

A long-time friend of Mimi Fariña, she sang the “Bread and Roses” song with Holly Near and Maria Muldaur at Mimi’s Memorial Service on August 7, 2001 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Following the service, she released a dove on the plaza in Mimi’s memory.

At Book Passage in Corte Madera on Saturday April 7 at one pm, Judy will do a reading and book signing of her latest memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music (c. 2011). The book was named after a song written for Judy by Stephen Stills and talks about her friendships with Mimi and Richard Fariña among many others.

While in the San Francisco Bay Area, Judy will also do two concerts at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, on Sat. April 7 at 8 pm and on Sunday April 8 at 2 pm.Although both are sold out, it may be possible to buy standing room tickets on the day of the event.

In 2005, she wrote Morning, Noon and Night: Living the Creative Life in which she tells how creativity is natural to all of us. We’d love to hear any special memories you have of Judy Collins in concert or how she may have inspired you to live a more creative life.  

  

Post by Marian Hubler

Photo Captions:

Judy Collins, Bread & Roses Album Cover, 1976

Judy Collins Releasing A Dove for Mimi Fariña  Grace Cathedral August 7, 2001  Photograph by Marian Little Utley, Courtesy Marin Independent Journal 

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music Book Cover, Judy Collins 2011

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Notes From the Field: Peter Merts on Working with Bread & Roses

Photographer Peter Merts recently posted a blog about his volunteer work for Bread & Roses on Photo Philanthropy’s website: “Notes From the Field: Peter Merts on Working with Bread & Roses.”

Nicolas Bearde at Mission YMCA, photo courtesy of Peter MertsWe are so grateful that Peter Merts has been actively documenting our work for the past ten years.  He has been involved in supporting Bread & Roses for over thirty years having worked with Mimi Fariña as an event coordinator in the late 70s and early 80s.    We are truly blessed to have his continuing contributions; the beautiful images that help us tell our story in so many ways.

Take our upcoming benefit on Match 22 at the Regency Ballroom for example.  Peter’s images grace our invitation and program.  His  photos also make up a large part of the slide show we will be screening for the first time at the event showing the power of the institutional shows recently performed by our benefit musicians. 

'Til Dawn at the Canal Community CenterPeter has a real gift for capturing the magic of the interaction between performer and audience.  His images show performers like Nicolas Bearde dancing with one of the clients at the Mission Y senior program or the teens from the a capella group ‘Til Dawn saying hello after the show to the children at the Canal Community Alliance.

Thank you Peter for helping us illustrate in such a compelling way the benefits of bringing hope and healing through live music to those who need it most.

By Marian Hubler

Photos: Top- Nicolas Bearde performing a Bread & Roses show at
Mission YMCA in San Francisco. Bottom: 'Til Dawn performing
a Bread & Roses show at the Canal Community Alliance.
All photos courtesy of Peter Merts.
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Purchase Your Tickets Today!!

We are thrilled to announce Take Heart the exciting and eclectic 2012 Concert to Benefit Bread & Roses. The show will be held on March 22 at the historic Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, and will feature an extraordinary lineup of some of the Bay Area’s hottest local artists, all of whom inspire our audiences year-round.

The concert will be big, bold and brilliant – ranging from blues and jazz to pop and Broadway show tunes. Some of our featured artists include:

Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s. Mitch is described as “one of the top boogie piano men around” by Dan Aquilante of the New York Post. Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s will fill the room with their jumpin’ and jivin’, pumpin’ and poundin’, New Orleans rhythm and blues “rock-a-boogie” magic.

 

Mark Hummel, a blues harmonica virtuoso, will be joined by the Blues Buddies, an all-star posse who will raise the roof with their signature, steamy blues power.

 

 

 

Phillip Percy Williams, an 11-year veteran of Beach Blanket Babylon will bring the excitement of Broadway to the stage with his dazzling vocals and dramatic flair. Williams will be joined by wonderful pianist Judy Hall and versatile jazz singer Cami Thompson.

 

Special Guests:
Nicolas Bearde brings his vocal prowess to Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s, and Maria Muldaur joins Mark Hummel’s band.

 

Other acts include: The San Domenico Virtuoso Program Quartet, who will open the evening with classical music, and ‘Til Dawn, an award-winning teen a cappella group bringing their own of brand of rock, pop and soul.

Concert-only tickets start at $75 and concert/dinner tickets are $175 and $350. All proceeds will go toward bringing courage, comfort, hope and joy to children, teens, adults and elders living in hospitals, shelters, convalescent homes and other isolated circumstances. For more information, check out our Current Events page where you can purchase your tickets or call us at 415-945-7120.

 

 

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Bread & Roses Honors Volunteers at Heart of Marin Awards

Our Heart of Marin Award nominees for 2011: (left to right) Peter Merts, Tucky Pogue and Dick Miner.

On Thursday, January 5, 2012, at the 19th Annual Heart of Marin Awards in San Rafael, Bread & Roses board and staff honored three of our Marin volunteers:  Peter Merts of San Rafael, Dick Miner of San Anselmo and Tucky Pogue from Ross.  Peter and Dick were nominated as "Volunteer of the Year" and Tucky, for her "Excellence in Board Leadership." 

Says Development Director Elizabeth Share; "I simply could not do my job without the high quality images provided by documentary photographer Peter Merts.  He creates a powerful window into the lives of those we serve and helps us visually communicate a social awareness of those who are isolated from society."  

A volunteer for over 30 years, Peter says  "My job at Bread & Roses started my photographic career. When I began to witness the amazing interactions between performers and audience members, I decided someone had to document these exquisite, heart-warming moments."   

Dick Miner, who has been one of our volunteers since 2009,  hosted over 30 different live music performances last year at 20 facilities - introducing and supporting the performers and working on-site with the facility activity directors.  Says Dick, "Every show has been an inspiration to me, a new adventure and memorable in some way.  Seeing audiences respond to new or old familiar songs is amazing. Bread & Roses entertainers provide pleasure, hope and inspiration to audiences who are starved for it."  

He recalled seeing an old friend in one of the senior facilities we serve who did not recognize him at first, but at the end they were able to talk of times past and tears were shed.  "He and I reconnected and the magic of the music was responsible," Dick said.  

Tucky Pogue, who joined the Board of Directors in 2006, served as Co-Chair in 2010-2011 with Toby Nady.  Tucky has provided great impetus to Bread & Roses in developing strategies for bringing the next generation of volunteers and donors into our organization.  She has been an exemplary leader in so many ways -- chairing our major fundraising benefit for several years, soliciting funds for the organization, inspiring staff and contributing to creative auction items.  (To see the roster of the Bread & Roses Board of Directors click here.)

We thank Peter, Dick and Tucky for their many contributions of time, talent and compassion. We thank all of our volunteers - the performers, hosts, event volunteers and board members. As our founder Mimi Fariña said, "Volunteers are the backbone of Bread & Roses."  Do you have a favorite story from volunteering for Bread & Roses that you would like to share?

To volunteer for Bread & Roses, click here

 

 

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Warren Hellman (1934-2011) - His Memory Will be a Blessing

Warren Hellman and The Wronglers

It is with great sorrow that we note the passing of our friend Warren Hellman. Warren was both a donor and volunteer performer for Bread & Roses, playing gigs for our isolated audiences with his band, The Wronglers.  Warren and The Wronglers brought joy and hope to seniors, the developmentally disabled, and those battling addiction, and everywhere they played, Warren established a heart-to-heart connection with his audience. Warren exemplified all that is most compassionate about Bread & Roses. After every show he told friends that he "received far more than he gave" when he played at these small gigs for his neighbors in need. He especially delighted in the fact that he was known to those we serve as a banjo player. His many other well deserved titles - billionaire, financier, philanthropist, endurance runner, San Francisco treasure - took a back seat to "musician" on these occasions, and Warren got a real kick out of this. Like countless others, we will miss Warren. His memory will truly be a blessing.

Photos courtesy of Peter Merts.
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Celebrate Mimi Fariña’s Legacy: Join the Bread & Roses Founder's Circle

Mimi Farina

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the passing of Bread & Roses founder, Mimi Fariña. Yet, her legacy lives on through the work that Bread & Roses accomplishes every day by bringing quality live music to individuals who are isolated and institutionalized. This work is made possible through the generosity of our volunteers and donors. And right now, there has never been a more exciting time to support our work...

  • Because you have witnessed the power of live music to transform and and inspire in profound and unexpected ways.
  • Because we urgently need your help to continue our important work.
  • Because 100% of the board have contributed to a challenge grant to thank you for your generosity - thereby doubling the impact of your gift.
  • And because right now, a gift of any size will make you a founding member of our new FOUNDER'S CIRCLE - established in honor of our founder, Mimi Fariña.

Thirty-seven years ago Mimi Fariña founded Bread & Roses with the compassionate desire to offer hope and joy to isolated audiences through the healing power of live music. Since then, Bread & Roses has grown considerably, presenting nearly 600 shows ayear to nearly 27,000 individuals being cared for in 120 Bay Area facilities.

These are some examples of how our audience members have responded to Bread & Roses shows:

"The music makes me want to live longer," said an elderly woman living apart from family and friends in a convalescent home for low-income residents.

"Today became the best day of my life," said a teen at a juvenile hall after a Bread & Roses performer invited her to the stage to sing.

"Please know that your organization will be remembered the duration of my lifetime for the gift of hope you have given me through music and song," said Don, a man recovering from addiction.

Join the Founder's Circle today and ensure that Mimi's caring legacy lives on. In doing so, you will inspire hope, change a life, and bring comfort to those who need it most.

Video courtesy of Michael Mc Connell at Media Local Studios.
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On ABC's 20/20: Gabrielle Giffords Finds Her Voice Through Music

Highlights from Diane Sawyer's interview with Gabrielle Giffords which aired on ABC's 20/20 on November 14, 2011.

A few weeks ago ABC's 20/20 with Diane Sawyer aired an inspirational segment on Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, who in January 2011 suffered from a near-fatal shooting, leaving her in critical condition for several weeks and severely damaging her brain. In the special, Diane Sawyer interviews Giffords for the first time since her injury, and showcases Giffords' amazing spirit, determination and courage.

Due to the injuries Giffords had suffered from receiving a bullet point blank to the head, she was afflicted with aphasia, the inability to speak due to damage to the linguistic pathways in the brain. Yet in the 11 months since the shooting, she has made remarkable progress, and has regained much of her speech and motor skills, a triumph that can be attributed in part to music therapy.

The bullet had mostly damaged the left side of Giffords' brain, the part that controls speech. The words were there, but she had to find a different route to access them. It was through song that she was able to attach rhythm and melody to words, and thus create a new neural pathway to language. You might wonder how music accomplishes this. According to neurologist and best-selling author, Oliver Sacks, "Nothing activates the brain so extensively as music." This is because music is able to activate visual, motor, coordination and emotion centers in both hemispheres of the brain. Thus one can use music to retrain the brain in order to compensate for brain damage.

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The RRazz Room’s “Season of Giving” to Benefit Bread & Roses

Lisa Bautista (left) with Joyce DeWitt, actress from Three's Company, and Kris Koskela, RRazz Room office manager, at the venue’s 3rd annual “RRAZZiversary” earlier this year.

 

We are grateful that The RRazz Room’s first annual “Season of Giving” in December will benefit Bread & Roses.  Throughout the month, San Francisco’s Premier Nightclub is presenting many performers who support Bread & Roses including:  Maria Muldaur (Dec. 7) and Pete Escovedo & Family (Dec. 9-11).  Donations will be requested for Bread & Roses at each concert from Dec. 1-30, 2011. 

Bread & Roses volunteer Lisa Bautista was instrumental in initiating this program, along with the club’s co-owners Robert Kotonly and Rory Paull. Lisa is the founder of JFM Presents, a social media, marketing and publicity company based in Emeryville.  Lisa loves her work as Entertainment Publicist for The RRazz Room as she has always liked working with artists.  “Music is a life blood and I like being part of the whole experience,” she says.  

Since May 2010, Lisa has also enjoyed being a volunteer host for Bread & Roses, as she understands that music is not only a universal language but one of the best ways to make a human connection.  After a Bread & Roses concert at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco by Voices Eclectica led by Libby McLaren,  Lisa reported that “The amazing gifts of song have the power to heal and it is more often on a subconscious level.  I feel so blessed and thankful to have been a part of something truly amazing.” 

She came to Bread & Roses originally through her work with SoVoSó ("from the soul to the voice to the song"), a talented a capella group that has been involved with Bread & Roses for some time.

Lisa has also recently been named VP of CLIC-Gold Entertainment, a high-end eyewear company for which a portion of the proceeds of future sales will also come to Bread & Roses.  She said that she believes the happiest people are those who understand the importance of “service to others” and “giving back.”  Inspired by artists like Alicia Keys and John Legend, she is focusing her current philanthropy on helping to support Bread & Roses in order to lead by example and to inspire the next generation.

 

By Marian Hubler, Producer/Public Relations Manager 

 

 

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Join us in Dec. for the First Ever Bread & Roses Holiday Chorus!!

New This Year!

Join Bread & Roses Holiday Sing-Along Chorus

And Bring Good Cheer To Our Isolated Audiences in December!

 

Bread & Roses is sponsoring a holiday sing-along for several of our facility audiences with a chorus of volunteer singers co-led by singers Claudia Russell and Marian Hubler.

Anyone who enjoys singing holiday songs is welcome to participate. Each program will be approximately 45 minutes to an hour. If you interested in being part of the group, you can do one show or all, which will be held in the East Bay, San Francisco and Marin.

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Miss Kitty Shows the Way with Music for Children

Miss Kitty at Papermill Creek Children's Center, 10/17/2011. Video courtesy of Sharon Glenn.

 

Highly revered children's performer Miss Kitty shows the way to connect with Bread & Roses' younger audiences.   At a recent concert for children at Papermill Creek pre-school at Pt. Reyes Station, she was a big hit with over twenty children many of whom were from the Head Start program in West Marin.

A professional entertainer for three decades, Miss Kitty (aka Judy Nee) has been a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses for 13 years.  Judy is a real master of her craft knowing exactly how to vary the tempo of her songs for children and to keep her programs interactive. She spoke recently about the secret to her success in connecting with children everywhere:

I look them in the eyes, find out their names, and respond to them as individuals.

About 1/3 of Bread & Roses current program service is dedicated to concerts for children and youth throughout the Bay Area.  Many of our volunteer entertainers for children are like Miss Kitty: performers who sang in rock and roll bands before doing music for children.   

Judy has a number of recordings for children including My Miss Kitty: Sweet & Simple - Most Requested Toddler Sing Along Songs and Just Because You're You which was produced by the late Jim Rothermel, another beloved Bread & Roses performer.  

Many of our performers for both institutional and benefit concerts for Bread & Roses have recordings for children including Maria Muldaur's  Barnyard Dance: Jug Band Music for Kids and Animal Crackers in My Soup.  Keb Mo's Big Wide Grin features songs from his own childhood along with some originals.    

We are always on the lookout for more quality performers to do concerts for our youngest audiences.  Please let us know if you might be able to help in this way - you can contact us by email at info@breadandroses.org or you can fill out an application on our volunteer page.

If you are already a Bread & Roses volunteer performer, please leave a comment below and share your experiences.

 

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Is It Opera??

Is it Opera??

More than a few of you have called to ask this about our Fall Benefit Concert featuring mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade.

So, is it opera?

Not according to Frederica. There will be operatic elements, but Frederica's repertoire will more closely resemble an intimate classical recital. "It will be My Life in Song," she said when we posed the question to her. "I will be singing excerpts from Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, an aria from Werther, and a special song by John Musto titled, 'Litany,' which is based on Langston Hughes' poem 'Shadow of the Blues.' "

When asked why she chose to lend her talents in support of Bread & Roses, Frederica warmly responded by saying:

"People who are suffering, who are down and out, who are living in poverty, don't know that they are loved. Bread & Roses is about healing and helping them. We remind them that they are God's special creatures, even when the world tells them they're not."

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Busking for Bread & Roses


Micah Press and his jazz combo at the San Rafael farmer's market.

 

Fall is a time when many nonprofits step up their fundraising efforts in order to meet end-of-year goals. This fall, Bread & Roses was delighted to be on the receiving end of the generosity of thirteen-year-old Micah Press, who took our mission to the streets with the help of his school’s jazz combo.

We first met Micah a few months ago when he set out to raise money in support of our organization. Being a musician himself, he said that of all the Marin nonprofits he could support, he felt most aligned with the mission and impact of Bread & Roses. In order to raise money, Micah played with his jazz combo at the San Rafael farmers market and requested that for his bar mitzvah, his guests make contributions to Bread & Roses in lieu of gifts.

In an ironic turn of events, we were recently able to give back to Micah when he spent time at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for a neck problem. Singer/songwriter Francesca Lee (who is also a Bread & Roses producer) performed a bedside concert for Micah, reminding him that through his generosity, he had become a cherished member of the Bread & Roses extended family.

Recently, Micah was discharged from the hospital, and one of the first things he did was to deliver his donation. Amazingly, he exceeded his goal of raising $1,800, a number he chose because in Judaism, the number 18 is an expression of life. Micah says that he will continue to raise money for Bread & Roses with the help of his jazz trio once he is fully recovered. In the meantime, we will use his generous gift to sponsor shows for kids in other pediatric hospitals throughout the Bay Area.

Thank you Micah. A whole lot of hope, healing and joy will soon be shared thanks to your generosity.

By Liz Donaldson

 

 

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Happy Movie Features Michael Pritchard @ The Rafael 9/30 - 10/5


Michael Pritchard as Emcee at Bread & Roses Volunteer Celebration on August 28, 2011

For the past several years, Michael Pritchard has been Bread & Roses ambassador-at-large. As a comedian and motivational speaker,  he helps us convey the heart of our work and inspires all to continue Mimi Farina's legacy of providing  hope and healing through live music and the performing arts to those isolated in institutions who need it most. As emcee at our recent volunteer celebration at the Freight & Salvage, Michael reminded us that it is generosity of spirit that connects us and makes us happy. 

 

Appearing in the new independent documentary The Happy Movie,  Michael Pritchard helps us understand how to measure happiness. Those of us who live in the Bay Area can see the film Friday September 30 &  Saturday October 1 at 7 pm at The Rafael Film Center in San Rafael and afterwards hear Michael in a Q & A with Associate Producer Omid Heidari.   The Happy Movie will be shown at The Rafael for six days only (through Oct. 5) so don't miss the opportunity to see it.  It will also be screened on Monday Oct. 24 at 5:30 pm in Palo Alto as part of the United Nations Association Film Festival co-sponsored by the Stanford Film Society and the UNA Mid-Peninsula Chapter.  

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Community Gathering for Good Cheer at the Tavern at Lark Creek

Bread & Roses hosted a community gathering at a special happy hour at The Tavern at Lark Creek on Thursday, September 8.  On the side patio of this beautiful, historic restaurant in Larkspur, many people from diverse parts of our ever-expanding community gathered to share good cheer.  With festive sangria, margaritas, wine and beer for sale to benefit Bread & Roses, we visited with each other under the redwood trees and enjoyed the lively folk-rock music of the talented Rant Brothers

Susan Gilardi, Bread & Roses Board Chair Emeritus,  first had the inspiration for the second annual event along with restaurant manager TJ Jacobberger and Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper.  While Susan was helping to greet people, her husband Dennis Gilardi parked his 1922 Model T Ford in the driveway to draw attention to the event.   

Performers Linda Kosut, Noah Griffin, Marianna August, Shana Morrison, Bob Gordon, Paul Geller and Dan Reich were among the guests who came along with former Bread & Roses board member Merl Saunders, Jr.  Peter Carpou and Debbie Neigher, who made the journey up to Marin from Larkin Street Youth Services, one of the facilities Bread & Roses serves in San Francisco.  Former Bread & Roses staffer Ellen Thomas was there along with other friends like Karen Laffey from Pacific Union.  

Thanks to Marilyn LoRusso from the Larkspur/Corte Madera Patch for her article about the event.  We are grateful to all who helped and were a part of our special community gathering.

 

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Moonalice Plays @ The Menlo Park VA On Labor Day

Video courtesy of Ken Guanga of the Menlo Park Patch.

 

With red, white and blue balloons bobbing cheerfully in the breeze, the band Moonalice played an upbeat Bread & Roses concert for the veterans at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park on Labor Day 2011. Blessed with beautiful sunny weather, this early afternoon special event was held on Monday, September 5 on a small stage in a grassy area to the right of the front door of the Community Living Center.  

Our audience was a mix of veterans -- most from World War II who lived in the nursing unit close by and enjoyed the performance from a covered deck. They were assisted by other vets from the Vietnam era who came from a residential rehab program in a nearby building. 

 Photo: Moonalice performing a Bread & Roses show at Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco.

 

A band of seasoned musicians, Moonalice features Roger McNamee on rhythm guitar, bass and vocals; Ann McNamee on keyboards and vocals; Pete Sears on keyboards, guitar, vocals and bass; Barry Sless on lead, pedal steel and bass guitars; and John Molo on drums and vocals.  

Pete Sears launched the set with "Down the Road", a crowd pleaser and apt metaphor for this traveling band that goes all over the country playing outdoor festivals and parks as a living embodiment of their belief that music is a communal experience that should be shared.

"Whiter Shade of Pale" highlighted Ann McNamee's vocals and Barry Sless' incredible pedal steel guitar playing.  Roger McNamee sang Steve Goodman's familiar "City of New Orleans."

In addition to more familiar songs such as their signature version of "Mr. Spaceman", the band also played a number of Moonalice originals including "Live to Love" by Pete Sears. The poetic lyrics struck a common chord: Spread your life when skies are grey and learn to love another day.   (Coincidentally, Pete used to play with Bread & Roses founder Mimi Fariña and recorded an album with her in the early 80's called "Watchfire.")
 

Photo: Pete Sears on bass guitar

Clapping in rhythm, one of the Vietnam vets said  "Thank you so much for the music which brings back so many memories and gives me joy."  

For the grand finale at the end of the concert, everyone joined in as one of the older vets sang "God Bless America" with a resounding baritone from his wheelchair.   The live music shared by Moonalice on this day did indeed form a common bond as band and audience sang the last song joyfully together.

 

 

Photo: Barry Sless on lead guitar

 

By Marian Hubler, Bread & Roses Producer

Photos by Ken Friedman of a Moonalice concert for Bread & Roses at Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco on April 19, 2011.  Video simulcast of the Delancey concert can also be seen on Moonalice TV

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Live Music as a Connecting Force: Violinist Robert Gupta Plays at LA Mental Health Clinic on KQED California Report

Robert Gupta's story is an inspiration to us all: not only does he play first chair violin for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he is also their youngest performer, having joined the orchestra in 2007 at the age of 19. What is perhaps most remarkable about this young prodigy is that in addition to his professional music career, he also directs his own free concert series, The Street Symphony, which brings live classical music to the homeless and mentally ill on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. KQED's California Report recently did an audio story on Robert's social service outreach, which includes comments from the patients after his concert. You can listen to the report here.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Bread & Roses serves a number of residential mental health facilities at major hospitals including short-term units at San Francisco General, and California Pacific Medical Center, as well as longer-term treatment facilities such as Cordilleras in Redwood City and Canyon Manor in Novato.  Among our most challenging audiences, we know that mental health patients, particularly those who are also homeless, can be hard to engage and at the same time, are often deeply appreciative of and positively affected by music's healing force.

Gupta's interest in music as therapy for the mentally ill was perhaps inspired in 2008 when he met and began tutoring Nathanial Ayers, the schizophrenic musical virtuoso who is the subject of the bestselling book, The Soloist by L.A. Times columnist, Steve Lopez. Many of you might be familiar with the film adaptation, which stars Jamie Fox and Robert Downey Jr. Of his time working with Ayers, Gupta remarked that he was struck by how music seemed to calm Ayers and act as a sort of medicine or therapy. It was at that time that Robert began The Street Symphony.

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Teen Performer Lucy Krakow is Local "Whiz Kid"

Budding jazz chanteuse Lucy Krakow is a featured “Whiz Kid” on this week’s Larkspur Corte Madera Patch. While at Redwood High School, Lucy was a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses who did concerts for three different facility audiences. An inventive jazz singer with her own distinctive style, Lucy is also a talented singer-songwriter as well as guitarist. 

For her Bread & Roses shows, she brought her talents as a creative collaborator to the forefront by recruiting three musicians to perform with her. At Marin Services for Women (MSW) she performed original songs she co-wrote with Katie Hamilton who is now at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. At Aldersly in San Rafael, a residential community for seniors, she played jazz standards with saxophone player Jake Botts. At Our Common Ground, a rehab for teens in Redwood City, she performed in a charming and inspirational duet with her brother Roger.

Michelle Doty, a volunteer host for Bread & Roses, said of the concert at MSW that “They revealed hopes and dreams through their music...The diversity in the room, apparent in age and race, was brought back together in a circle of music with women.”

Lucy has now moved to New York City where she has a scholarship to study voice and music production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Congratulations Lucy, we will miss you in the Bay Area but know you will take the Big Apple by storm!

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