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  • Marian Hubler

Circle of Advisors Gathering Builds Community and Renews Connections

Bread & Roses Circle of Advisors gathered on Thurs. June 7 with board, staff and volunteer hosts to celebrate our shared community. Our gracious hosts Ann and Tony Campodonico opened their gorgeous garden so all could meet each other and renew their connections to our organization. Circle of Advisors Co-Chair Stacy Nelson and Tucky Pogue did an amazing job planning the event and providing delicious food. The evening included a performance by long-time volunteer Mitch Woods, a Q&A with Wally Haas moderated by Paul Liberatore, and a moving testimonial from Bread & Roses Host Tracey Rose.

Circle of Advisors who attended included; Jay Blakesberg, Tom Cohen, Simone Haas, Brenda Laribee (also a volunteer host), Paul Liberatore, Michael McElligott, Katie Smith and Wally Haas. Volunteer hosts who came to the event included; John Boro, Nancy Chetaitis, Dennis Davis, Jay Dicker, Arthur Javier, Debbie Matson, Dennis McIntyre, Dick Miner, Ira Potovsky, Susanna Praetzel and Tracey Rose. Board member Alex Wellins helped to greet new Board members Gene Barnes and Kay Tittle.

Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed long-time Bread & Roses volunteer performer Mitch Woods who serenaded the crowd with his New Orleans-style boogie-woogie vocals and keyboard playing of songs including Rockin’ Pneumonia and Saturday Morning. His collaborations with Maria Muldaur, Van Morrison and other well-known artists on his new release Friends Along the Way have resulted in several recent nominations for blues awards.

Dave also introduced Wally Haas, a renowned businessman and former manager of the Sons of Champlin, a philanthropist and co-owner of the Oakland A’s, whom Dave credited as a strong personal mentor when he managed the A’s Community Fund for a number of years.

Paul Liberatore moderated a Q & A with Wally, who enthralled his audience with stories about baseball, music and the nonprofit world. Speaking about the nexus of philanthropy and sports, he mentioned Coaching Corps, his nonprofit that trains coaches to go into the community to help under-served children play team sports. He said how important it is for all of us to leverage our connections to sustain and strengthen Bread & Roses into the future, closing with the message that “everyone can be an ambassador to broaden our circle of friends.”

Part of the evening included a moving testimonial from Tracey Rose, a volunteer host for nearly 13 years who spoke about her experiences in the field for Bread & Roses. She expressed, “Every show has had that ‘awe’ moment. A moment of sheer joy and wonderment. A moment of speechlessness; of profound quietude. A moment where an audience member has been moved to tears by a song, a rendition, a performer.” She told the audience that she was frequently moved to tears as well.

She said; “Recently, I hosted a show at a rehab center in Santa Rosa. The performer, Elaine Lucia, is a singer/songwriter with an amazing voice and full repertoire of pieces from her own past and experience. An attractive young woman sat in the front row directly across from Elaine. Her eyes were riveted on the singer, never wavering. She appeared mesmerized and deeply moved. I approached this woman afterward and mentioned how engaged she seemed.”

She responded “I have two small children and I’ve been sober for three months now. I was a songwriter once, and Elaine has inspired me.”

“Sounds like you are on your way back to being that again,’’ I said. “Let me introduce you to our performer.”

“As they shook hands and spoke, I stood by and smiled. I had been privileged to see, once again, the power of Bread & Roses and the artists who make these visits so filled with healing, hope and inspiration. I have no doubt this woman will find the words to describe her arduous journey to sobriety and someday, perhaps very soon, they will become lyrics in a song.

I used to think it was the audience who were enriched by these performances. I have come to realize it is the performer, the host, the facility caretakers, anyone present when a performer creates this elusive, yet ethereal, brand of magic.

My experiences have not been unique. Any host you speak with tonight will share similar stories and similar experiences. We are the lucky ones. We are the witnesses to the power of music to provoke tears, and the power of music to evoke “awe.””

She ended by saying “Thank you, Bread & Roses for letting me be part of that.” Thank YOU Tracey Rose for your beautiful testimonial. It was unquestionably a night of hope, healing and inspiration all around.

Photos by Peter Merts

Photo Captions:

1) The evening's group

2 & 3) Mitch Woods performs

4) Wally Haas with Dave Perron

5) Paul Liberatore leads a Q&A with Wally Haas

6) Tracey Rose shares her memories and testimonial as a Host

7) A selection of photos from the evening

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