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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.

Rockin' The Roses Spring Benefit Concert: An Exceptional Night of Music

Rockin’ the Roses Spring Benefit Concert on May 18, brought to us by Jeff & Laurie Ubben, was an exceptional night of music in a spectacular venue. From our earliest benefit concert in 1977 at the legendary Greek Theatre in Berkeley to our latest sold-out success at San Francisco’s grandly elegant Great American Music Hall, Bread & Roses Presents knows how to throw an incredible fundraiser in a special setting. 

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Bread & Roses Presents Awarded California Arts Council “Local Impact” Grant

State Funds Extend the Reach of the Arts to Local Underserved Populations

stvincentsdayhomePiccolo Puppet Players at St. Vincent's Day Home in Oakland, April 2017. Photo by Peter Merts

The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $10,800 to Bread & Roses Presents as part of its Local Impact program. The Local Impact program fosters equity, access, and opportunity by providing project and partnership support for small arts organizations with operating budgets under $1 million. All projects extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations that have limited access to the arts. 

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Fearless Harmony by San Domenico Advanced Vocal Ensemble at Atria Tamalpais

An appreciative group of seniors at Atria Tamalpais Creek, a senior living facility in Novato, were treated recently to the musical magic of a largely a capella group of eleven talented teenage girls from San Domenico School in San Anselmo. The Advanced Vocal Ensemble (known as AVE and pronounced like Ave Maria) is from the middle school. The poise of these girls belies their age (12 and 13.) Several of them sang solos with the others backing them up, and one young lady sang an original song, accompanying herself on piano. 

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Musician James Nash inspires Bay Area teens to play music

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Bread & Roses Presents Volunteer Host Bob Rose had the following to say after a recent show at the Phillips Academy in Oakland with nationally touring musician James Nash, a co-founder of The Waybacks. "He was off the charts. He is hands-down, the best representative of Bread & Roses and our ideals that I have witnessed. Not only is he an amazingly talented guitarist and singer, he could not have been more patient, friendly or interactive... A computer science graduate from Stanford, James not only provided sensational music, he also came to the school with a powerful message of hope and courage, and clearly inspired many of the students to use music as a positive way to communicate and express their feelings. If ever there was a performer who should get a thank-you from us, it is James Nash!"

Nash, a renowned guitarist and teacher, started his program with an opening instrumental that he recently wrote. His remarkable string-bending and intricate performance immediately caught the attention of the isolated teens at this alternative school for diverse youth in the East Bay. 

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Sensational Irish Singer-songwriter Hozier to Headline Rockin’ The Roses Benefit: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real with HoneyHoney on Triple All-Star Bill

HOZIERrockinrosesIn an intimate acoustic performance, sensational Irish musician Hozier will headline Bread & Roses Presents annual spring benefit concert on Thursday May 18 at the Great American Music Hall with rockin’ trio Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real rounding out the triple bill with Americana duo HoneyHoney. Master of Ceremonies Jonny Fritz will anchor the evening of support for Bread & Roses programs that bring hope and healing through live music for isolated Bay Area audiences. General Admission and VIP Tickets are still available for this very special evening of exceptional contemporary music, brought to you by Jeff & Laurie Ubben.  

The twenty-seven-year-old Irish musician Hozier is a multi-instrumentalist, Grammy nominated, award-winning multi-platinum singer-songwriter. His first two EP’s “Take Me To Church” and “From Eden” established him around the globe as an artist to be reckoned with for his spirited unfiltered storytelling and deftly woven signature sound.

Hozier's “Take Me To Church” video went viral in 2013 prompting his world-wide breakout success. His self-titled debut album, co-produced by Rob Kirwan (PJ Harvey and Depeche Mode), entered the Billboard Charts at #2 and is now double-platinum in the U.S.

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Brotherhood for Bread & Roses: The Legendary Mighty O’Town Passions at Crossroads in Oakland

As the name implies, The Legendary Mighty O’Town Passions are a musical force to be reckoned with. More than a performing group, they are a musical ministry for good. They take their uplifting songs to the streets, to the stage and to the shelters – as they did for Bread & Roses Presents on February 16, 2017.

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The California Honeydrops Bring Joy to Audience at HealthRIGHT 360 Walden House

The classic Wilson Pickett song Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You was an apt message from The California Honeydrops for the men at HealthRIGHT 360 Walden House who are working so hard to turn their lives around.

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With a lot of soul, Delta Blues, Bay Area R&B and a big dash of New Orleans style, The California Honeydrops came out of the recording studio to play a stellar show for Bread & Roses Presents at this drug and alcohol recovery program for men in San Francisco. The audience responded with great enthusiasm to the uplifting songs and incredible musicianship of this vibrant band, an inspiration with their amazing chops and rapport with the audience as well as each other. Much appreciation to their manager Heather Newman, a Bread & Roses volunteer, who facilitated this special concert.

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Volunteers Share Why Hosting Shows Makes A Difference

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Volunteer hosts are an essential part of sustaining our program throughout the year at Bread & Roses Presents. With the help of our hosts, we presented a record-breaking 626 shows in 2016, the most ever. Forty-one active volunteers hosted 350 of these shows last year, a whopping fifty-six percent. We are so grateful for our many volunteers, hosts as well as performers, who bring hope and healing through live music to 34,000 people in the Bay Area annually who are isolated and need uplifting.

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Performers Create Community for Bread & Roses Isolated Audiences

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Mickey Hart, best known as the drummer for the Grateful Dead and a member of our Circle of Advisors, talks about the rhythm of music that connects us all in a common heartbeat. At Bread & Roses Presents, we are fortunate to witness on a daily basis the transformative power of music and the performing arts to bring diverse audiences together in a communal experience. Wiley and Debbie Rankin of Jump for Joy Music, Ross Commons and Gail Muldrow are among the many performers who create community for Bread & Roses isolated audiences in a variety of ways.

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Audience Interaction at Recent Programs Shows the Power of Connection

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Audience interaction is the best way to see the power of connection at every Bread & Roses show. Our volunteer hosts report on the impact that our program has on the audiences we serve. Here are excerpts from a few recent shows that beautifully illustrate the healing power that live music has for those who are isolated and need uplifting.

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Volunteer Celebration “The JAM” 2016 -- A Day of Joy, Appreciation & Music

Once a year we gather together our volunteer community to celebrate and recognize the many accomplishments of our tribe of dedicated performers, hosts and other supporters who help us produce over 600 annual concerts for isolated audiences throughout the Bay Area.

“The JAM” is always a special day, for it is the one time during the year that our volunteers have the chance to meet and play music with each other. Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed everyone and said “It’s all about the volunteers and how they support our community in an intimate way.”

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Rock the Bank – Raj Gopal & Friends Benefit Concert for Bread & Roses

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Board Member Raj Gopal put on a fun evening of rock & rollin’ with music, singing, fundraising and celebration for Bread & Roses Presents on June 29 in downtown San Francisco. Fellow board member Alex Wellins and Blueshirt Group provided the venue in the Next15 building. Many of Raj's colleagues from his office a few doors down at Bank of the West attended, including Dan Beck, the bank’s CFO, who as Raj noted “knows the saxophone as well as numbers and he’s not afraid to show it!”

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Backstage 365 Club Special Show: Delancey Street Foundation Welcomes Dirty Cello

Rebecca Roudman and Jason Eckl of Dirty Cello have been volunteering since 2015 and are already dedicated Bread & Roses Presents performers. Novato-based and internationally renowned, Dirty Cello is known for their energetic mix of bluegrass, blues and classic rock. They have played with artists such as Santana, Joan Baez and Deltron 3030, and they performed their first show in June at The Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco.

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Delancey Street is a beloved audience served by Bread & Roses since 1996. An innovative residential self-help center since 1971, they teach substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless people and others who have hit bottom how to turn their lives around through social entrepreneurship, education and rehabilitation. The residents are a famously enthusiastic audience. Rebecca mentioned before the show that she got a round of applause when she first walked in to the Town Hall to set up. A larger Bread & Roses audience than she has previously played for, she said she was looking forward to it and “we have a high energy show planned!”

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A Fantastic Night of Music at Bread & Roses Spring Benefit Concert May 26

A fantastic night of music from beginning to end was the experience of the lucky guests who attended our spring benefit concert “Bringin’ It Home” on May 26 at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. It was also a special night, for almost all of the performers are volunteers for our institutional audiences in need of joy and uplifting through live music.

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Peter Merts, Volunteer Photographer: Images of Joy in Shows for Isolated Audiences

Darkness Into Light at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehab Center in San Francisco, Chris Donohoe at Center Point in San Rafael, Aline deForge and Emmanuel Presselin at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Marisa Nordstrom at Marin Learning Center in Marin City, Fancy von Pancerton at North Bay Children's Center in Novato,  Miss Kitty at the Marin Learning Center, The Bread & Roses Holiday Chorus at Vision Impaired of Marin in San Rafael, Sylvia & the Silvertones at Center for Elders Independence in Oakland, Aaron Kierbel at BAHIA in Oakland, these are just some of the recent institutional shows that Peter Merts has helped us document (and are seen in this order in the above slide show).

A San Rafael photographer, Peter has been a volunteer for Bread & Roses Presents for over thirty years. He is a great example of the many ways that donated professional services help to accomplish our mission and move us forward. We have been fortunate that photographers including Robert Altman, Jay Blakesberg, Ken Friedman, the late Jim Marshall, Bill Nichols and many others have contributed to our cause.

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“Pass the Music” Events Help Launch New Backstage 365 Club

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Bread & Roses board member Alex Wellins recently sponsored the first "Pass the Music" lunchtime event at The Blueshirt Group in San Francisco. The idea was born while brainstorming at a January board planning session as a way of cultivating the younger high tech workforce to learn about our mission and to become involved in supporting our organization. We are grateful that Alex came up with the concept and offered to host the first event at his impressive office in downtown San Francisco.

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New Volunteers from the Hellman Family Play for Bread & Roses

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“Let there be songs to fill the air…” From Ripple (American Beauty, The Grateful Dead)

On Wednesday March 9, the delightful band "Marco & The Polos," comprised of the late Warren Hellman's four children -- son Mick and his sisters Frances, Judith and Tricia Hellman Gibbs – played their first Bread & Roses concert for an audience of appreciative seniors at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae. All four sang, alternating leads and harmonies, with Mick on drums and Tricia playing both guitar and banjo.

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The Shows: Our Reason For Being

Every day of the year isolated audiences in the Bay Area enjoy the superb, live entertainment that our volunteer performers provide. Our small, dedicated staff expertly matches performers with the right audiences and brings in new artists to enhance our roster. The facilities we serve have only praise for the shows we bring.

As the needs of the community grow, we continue to explore new audiences who thrive on the joy and connection we bring. Recently we added several new facilities to stretch our demographic reach: the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland, Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco, St. Vincent’s Dining Room in San Rafael and the Hanna Boys Center in Glen Ellen. From time to time we help our facility partners with music for special events such as the “National Salute to Our Veterans” day at the San Francisco Veterans Hospital and the annual “Day of Peace” at San Quentin.

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The Bay Area is fertile ground for artists, and part of our work is cultivating them to volunteer, to share their gifts with our neighbors in need. We get to be talent scouts for performers who have the kind of repertoire that is uplifting and appropriate for diverse audiences, particularly for youth audiences. New to our roster: Mexican songstress Marisa Nordstrom, clown Bri Tree and hip-hop group Diverse Dialect have been big hits. Young adult and teen performers burgeoning with talent are getting involved, too: Caroline Sky, Emma Botti and Shelby Lanterman are musicians who we are sure to hear more about as their careers develop.

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The volume of shows we produce is possible because of the help of our volunteer hosts. These cheerful folks bring and set up PA systems, see to the comfort of the performers and report about each show so that we can maintain the integrity of our programs. Last year they hosted 388 (or 63 percent) of our 617 shows. The benefits of hosting are many. Volunteer Katrina Strack from Marin Academy wrote that hosting taught her “the importance of empathy and gratitude.”

Volunteer and facility inquiries come through the application process on our website regularly. The need is there on both sides. Word-of-mouth is often how we get the high quality people who understand what Bread & Roses is all about. We appreciate referrals to those who want to spread the joy. To apply, click here.

 

Captions:
1) Marisa Nordstom at Marin Learning Center in San Rafael Feb. 12, 2016. Photo by Peter Merts

2) Bri Tree Entertainment

Post by Carolyn Gauthier, Vice President of Programs

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Thank You For A Cornucopia of Shows in 2015

Thanks to all our supporters who help us present a cornucopia of Bread & Roses shows every year. It takes a tribe to fulfill our mission and we are especially grateful to our volunteer performers and hosts, the backbone of our organization.

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What does a typical day of shows look like for Bread & Roses Presents? You might see 15-year-old Caroline Sky singing at a home for the developmentally disabled, Dirty Cello bringing rock and blues to adults in an addiction treatment facility, 70-year-old Si Perkoff playing boogie-woogie jazz piano in a convalescent home, The Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir singing gospel tunes to homeless families, Boswick the Clown performing for children, whose main languages are Spanish or Vietnamese, in a low-income daycare program, Aaron Kierbel leading a percussion workshop in a special needs school or Ian Dogole helping teens in rehab play instruments from around the world.

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Who are the people that benefit from our services? You might meet someone like three-year-old Eduardo who spends his days in a Berkeley YMCA Head Start program, Maria who goes to an elementary after-school program at the North Bay Children’s Center. You might see teenagers like Jackson in San Mateo Juvenile Hall or Shayna in an alternative school/recovery center like Thunder Road in Oakland, or Andrew who attends The Phillips Academy in Alameda for students with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

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You might meet the Bellen family, fallen on hard times and temporarily living in the ECOP Crossroads in Oakland. David, needing help with addiction and anger management and living at the Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco. 82-year-old Margaret who has dementia, lives with her daughter and goes to Lifelong, a senior day center in Novato. Raymond who spends his last days, alone and isolated in the healthcare center, at Laguna Honda Hospital in SF. Ella who lives in the convalescent wing at the Veterans Home in Yountville. And they all love having visits and hearing live music.

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Who are the volunteers that make it all happen? They are performers who may be students, lawyers, professional working musicians and retired performers who share their talent with those who are isolated. (See the list of volunteer performers on our website.) They are hosts who find a few hours a month to give back to the community and help us emcee our shows. They are women and men who help at fundraising events and work in the office. We can always use more volunteer hosts in particular, so if you would like to join us, click here to apply.

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Why do over 1,000 people in the Bay Area donate their time to volunteer at shows? Here’s what they say:

  • We believe in the healing power of music.
  • We know the importance of making human connections with the people who live in these facilities.
  • We love seeing the uplifting nature of live entertainment that brings joy to so many people.

Bread & Roses Presents couldn’t do the 600 plus shows a year for 31,000 isolated people throughout the Bay Area, if it weren’t for our wonderful, big-hearted volunteers. For more information go to our homepage and see how to Get Involved.

 

Photo Captions

1) 2015 Volunteer Host Dinner at the home of Tucky and John Pogue  (Photo by Peter Merts)

2) Caroline Sky at The Cedars of Marin (Photos by Marian Hubler)

3) Children in audience at BAHIA School in Berkeley (Photo by Peter Merts)

4) The T Sisters and band play for the residents of The Delancey Street Foundation in SF (Photo by Ken Friedman)

5) Silvia Herold and Chuck Ervin of the Silvertones at CEI Oakland (Photo by Peter Merts)

Post by Carolyn Gauthier, Vice President of Programs

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Special Fall Concerts Help to Propel Us Forward

Bread & Roses Presents is honored to feature over a thousand different individual performers and groups at our institutional shows almost every day of the year. We simply could not do our program without them.

We are also fortunate to have performers of note help us mainly with fundraising concerts throughout the years or from time to time donate a portion of the proceeds from an upcoming public concert to help support our mission.

Extraordinary acoustic blues maestro Keb’ Mo’ performed a very special benefit concert at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Monday November 2. Executive Director Dave Perron told the sold-out crowd, “Bread & Roses has a lot of heart and there is a lot of heart in this room tonight as our founder, the late Mimi Fariña, lived in Mill Valley, and is undoubtedly here in spirit.”

Special thanks to event sponsors Rich Robbins, Greg Beattie and Victoria Blythe, who helped it all happen. Those who bought VIP tickets were also treated to fine wines from Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchant, delicious hors d’oeuvres and an opportunity to have a photo taken with Keb’ Mo.’

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Singer-songwriter/guitarist Roger McNamee opened the show with the reminder that “Bread & Roses is all about second chances.” Roger performed heartfelt mainly original tunes including Happy Endings and No Tomorrow. His rendition of the classic Leonard Cohen anthem Halleluiah had everyone singing along.

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NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott emceed the show and helped us auction off a Gibson Guitar signed by Keb’ Mo’ and donated by board member John Botti. The lucky auction winner also received one of Ronnie Lott’s signed jerseys and a pair of tickets he donated to a 49ers game.

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Keb’ Mo’ opened the show with the crowd pleasing More For Your Money and played an enthralling set including the songs More Than One Way Home, You Can Love Yourself and I'll Be Your Water. The audience roared its thunderous approval when surprise guest Taj Mahal appeared on stage to sit in with Keb’ on Muddy Waters classic Baby Please Don’t Go, Dime A Dozen and Do You Love Me Pretty Baby? Keb’ closed out the magnificent show with some crowd favorites including She Just Wants to Dance, Angelina and City Boy.

On Wednesday October 28, long-time volunteer performer Matt Nathanson generously donated a block of tickets from his sold-out show at the Great American Music Hall in SF to benefit Bread & Roses Presents. A handful of lucky VIP ticket-buyers also got to hear Matt perform a very intimate concert earlier in the day at the Capital One Café in SF in a special promotion with KFOG Radio

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We also appreciate the continued generosity of many performers on our behalf. On Sat. Nov. 28, long-time volunteer performer Tracy Blackman performed an outstanding concert of originals and standards at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley accompanied by her sister Cindy Blackman Santana on drums with her husband Carlos Santana on guitar. Other Bread & Roses performers in the band that night included Jimmy Dillon on guitar, Dave Matthews on keyboard, Eric McCann on bass and Rebecca Roudman on cello. Bread & Roses Presents was one of the beneficiaries of this remarkable evening of music called Love To Give. Of her motivation for producing the show, Tracy said “If everyone gives a little, we will all be taken care of.” Her closing medley of Shine On and What the World Needs Now Is Love beautifully brought home this theme.

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Coming up on Sunday Dec. 20, 2015 at the Great American Music Hall, another long-time volunteer performer David Gans, will host a very special tribute show This Is All A Dream We Dreamed: A Salute to the Grateful Dead.” The concert will help debut David's recently published oral history of the Grateful Dead with co-author Blair Jackson. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Bread & Roses Presents. Along with David, a number of our volunteers will perform including James Nash, Roger McNamee and Maurice Tani. Click Here for information and tickets visit.

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Support live music when you can and most especially the artists who support Bread & Roses Presents. Let us know if you have other ideas for ways we can fulfill our mission and keep our program moving forward. 

 

Photo Captions

1) Roger McNamee opens at the Keb' Mo' concert

2) Bread & Roses Presents Executive Director Dave Perron with NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott

3) Keb' Mo' with Taj Mahal

4) Matt Nathanson at Capital One Cafe (Courtesy of KFOG)

5) (l-r) Cindy Blackman Santana, Jimmy Dillon, Eric McCann, Tracy Blackman,  Kudisan Kai and Carlos Santana (Photo by Carolyn Gauthier)

6) Early Grateful Dead (Courtesy of David Gans)

All Photos by Peter Merts unless noted otherwise.

Post by Marian Hubler, Communications Manager/Producer

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