We appreciate the many contributions of all our volunteers throughout the Bay Area who help us share their gifts on a daily basis with those who need music most. Once a year, we have the opportunity to recognize several volunteers through the Heart of Marin Award Ceremony that is held each January at the Marin Civic Center. At this year's event on January 10, we celebrated our nominees for 2012, pianist Alan Thomas and host Sally Peter.
About Alan Thomas
Talented professional piano player Alan Thomas has been a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses since 2008. During that time he has played close to thirty concerts for Bread & Roses. An extraordinary volunteer, he is always willing to collaborate with other performers, such as singers Debbie Cucalon and Andoni Panici to make our program successful and putting in time for advance rehearsals.
His willingness to play with anyone who needs accompaniment is a great asset to our program. For the past several years he has helped mentor some of our youth volunteers, in particular our musical interns from Oberlin College in Ohio. He worked with these talented vocalists to prepare them for performing for diverse Bread & Roses audiences with a live accompanist. He helped arrange their repertoire from classical and opera, to Broadway musical and other jazz standards to make their concerts accessible to a wider audience.
Last year, Bread & Roses initiated a community-wide Holiday Chorus to perform for a variety of our audiences throughout the Bay Area in December. Alan graciously stepped up to be the accompanist for the chorus. His commitment included one rehearsal, several planning sessions, time spent putting the selected songs into the proper keys and arranging them, as well as playing for the chorus for four separate concerts at The Redwoods in Mill Valley (senior convalescent), Laguna Honda in San Francisco (hospital) and New Bridge in Berkeley (drug rehab) as well as The Blind and Vision Impaired in San Rafael.
In addition to the venues for the holiday chorus venues, during the past 12 months he has performed concerts at varied facilities including Lifelong Medical and Atria Tamalpais in Novato, The VA Medical Center in San Francisco and the Center for Elders Independence (Josie Barrow) in Oakland.
About Sally Peter
Sally Peter has been volunteering for Bread & Roses since 1996 and has dedicated her time on a regular basis since then. Over the years she has put in countless hours as a volunteer host, an event volunteer and an office helper. During that time she has been a volunteer host for 432 shows. Within the past twelve months she has served the organization in many capacities including working at benefit events and acting as a liaison (host) at the institutional shows which Bread & Roses produces.
The responsibilities of a volunteer host are complex and multi-faceted, requiring unique skills. Each month Sally spends 6 – 10 hours hosting shows, traveling throughout Marin and beyond when needed. She always does her job with efficiency and good humor. A retired school teacher, Sally is especially qualified to work with our youth audiences, which can be some of the more challenging clients.
This year Sally has made a significant impact on the organization by going the extra mile as a committed volunteer host. She has stepped up to go to shows when other hosts were not available. She always has a “can do” attitude.
Bread & Roses produces over 600 shows each year, and over half of them are hosted by volunteers. Our program could not run without the commitment of volunteers like Alan Thomas and Sally Peter.
Contributed by Marian Hubler and Carolyn Gauthier, Bread & Roses, 2013