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  • Marian Hubler

The Healing Power of Live Music: Ben Fong-Torres and Paul Liberatore Lead Conversation at Circle of

“You can’t know Bread & Roses until you have been to an institutional show,” said moderator Paul Liberatore quoting our founder, the late Mimi Fariña. He then went on to say that the healing power of live music is never more magical and uniting than when it is being given to those who need it most.

Bread & Roses Presents Circle of Advisors and Board of Directors gathered with staff for a lovely evening to celebrate our musical mission on Thursday June 13 in the beautiful gardens at the home of Tucky and John Pogue in Kentfield. All had a chance to meet and greet each other at the event, hosted by COA Co-chairs Tucky Pogue and Stacy Nelson.

Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed everyone noting that COA member Kirke Hasson, was Board Chair at the same time he was on the board in the early 80s and how special it was that Kirke and Nancy’s daughter was a featured soloist with ‘Til Dawn that night.

Also present were current Board Co-Chairs John Botti and Catherine Less, along with board member Jane Scott. Other staff included Marian Hubler, Heidi James, Francesca Lee, Carrie Sownie and Lisa Starbird.

Other COA members who attended included featured speaker Ben Fong-Torres with his wife Dianne, David Harris, music journalist and moderator Paul Liberatore, Michael McElligott, Matt McWright, Lane Murchison, Michael Pritchard, Katie Smith and husband Andy Siegel, Dr. Bruce Victor and wife Marla Fibish. Other guests included the Hale Family (Jim, Donna and Charlie), Andrea Schultz from Bon Air, along with Steve Zimmerman and Vicki Peet.

‘Til Dawn, the award-winning Marin County high school a capella ensemble from Youth in Arts, launched the evening’s entertainment with a vibrant and fun set of songs including I Want You Back, Sh’Boom, Put Your Records On, Beyond the Sea, No One, I Just Haven’t Met You Yet, Everybody Wants to Be a Cat and Sweet Dreams.

It was a special treat to hear ‘Til Dawn in such an intimate setting, similar to the institutional shows and benefit concerts they have performed for Bread & Roses since 1995. Austin Willacy, their long-time music director and mentor, is also a B&R volunteer performer as a solo artist and with his band the House Jacks.

After the concert, Ben Fong-Torres, legendary Rolling Stones journalist and editor portrayed in the film “Almost Famous,” played a song Love Me and participated in a Q&A with music journalist Paul Liberatore. Ben regaled the crowd with wonderful stories about his career as an author and broadcaster in the music industry and passed around his recent Emmy Award for all to see.

Both have been Bread & Roses supporters since the earliest days. Ben was emcee for several of the early Greek Theatre benefit concerts in 1979 and 1980. Paul covered our early shows at San Quentin as a reporter for the Marin Independent Journal. Ben has also been an institutional show performer for Bread & Roses for the past decade wowing our audiences like the elders at On Lok in Chinatown with his Elvis impersonations. Paul co-produced a benefit concert for Bread & Roses with Jimmy Dillon in 2017 at the Nourse Theater on the “SF Sound” for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

“Have music as part of your life,“ was their closing message, and “find a way to perform in some way that you may give something back.” We are grateful for our community of supporters who help us continue to bring music to isolated children and youth, adults and seniors in over 600 annual concerts for those around the Bay who are in need of uplifting connection.

Photos and videos by Marian Hubler.

Photo/Video Captions:

1) 'Til Dawn sings No One. Video by Carrie Sownie

2) Ben Fong-Torres and Paul Liberatore.

3) Executive Director Dave Perron welcomes group.

4) (l) Nancy and Kirke Hasson with (r) John Pogue.

5) John Botti and Stacy Nelson.

6) Staff (l-r) Carrie Sownie, Diane Pickell-Gore and Heidi James.

7) Dr. Bruce Victor and Marla Fibish with (r) Marian Hubler.

8) Lane Murchison and Francesca Lee

9) Hasson solos for I Just Haven’t Met You Yet with 'Til Dawn.

10) Ben Fong-Torres sings Love Me accompanied by Paul Liberatore.

11) Steve Zimmerman, Katie Smith, Andy Siegel, Tucky Pogue and Vicki Peet.

12) Jane Scott, Paul Liberatore, Michael Pritchard.

13) Paul Liberatore accompanies Ben Fong-Torres.

14) "Til Dawn sings for Bread & Roses.

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