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  • Writer's pictureBread & Roses Presents

boygenius and Allison Russell Perform an Outstanding Benefit Concert at Saint Joseph’s Arts Society

Close to 425 supporters and guests joined us for an outstanding night of music at the elegant Saint Joseph’s Arts Society for our 2021 Fall Benefit Concert on Friday, November 19 with Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus of boygenius and opener Allison Russell. Many thanks to Laurie and Jeff Ubben for their generous sponsorship of the talent for our annual fundraising event with all proceeds directly benefiting our ongoing program of live music for isolated Bay Area audiences.

Guests were greeted at the door with refreshments as they entered into the entrancing rose-colored lights in the expansive event space -- a beautifully repurposed historic landmark that was formerly a Catholic church. Light fare was provided as concert attendees made their way to sponsor tables and general seating in the great hall. Everyone enjoyed the amazing atmosphere, a magical ambiance for hearing live music after many months of concert halls on hold during the pandemic.

Bread & Roses Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed all attendees warmly and introduced opener Allison Russell, an extraordinary vocalist and musician who seamlessly blends songs of many genres and was backed-up by an all-female band including two cellists, guitar, bass and full percussion. She wowed the crowd for a high energy and full set beginning with the song “Dreamer” which she launched on clarinet.

Dave then introduced Joan Baez, a supporter of Bread & Roses since its inception in 1974 and sister of our founder the late Mimi Fariña. Joan echoed the sentiments of the audience when she said “she could not imagine anything more magical than this,” and spoke of feeling Mimi’s presence as she introduced from the stage her son percussionist Gabe Harris and grand-daughter Jasmine Harris, also a singer and multi-instrumentalist.

Joan then introduced Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus of indie super-group boygenius, noting it was a special pleasure for her to welcome this powerhouse of young women, all singer-songwriter guitarists “who know how to communicate about relevant issues through their songs.” It was a full-circle moment, as Phoebe Bridgers had introduced Joan when she received her Kennedy Center award last June. The three women, strong solo artists with new releases, alternated songs adding powerful harmonies and instrumentals to each other’s tunes. Their trio as boygenius has a cult following. They wowed their fans – both old and new – at our benefit event with their first very special reunion concert as a band since 2018.

Support for our ongoing program of outdoor music for some of the larger Bay Area Food Bank distribution centers was the focus of this year’s benefit Fund-A-Need. Since the pandemic began, Bread & Roses has been innovative in reimagining its impact. Our newest and biggest initiative has been to produce over two hundred live music programs for the recipients as well as the volunteers at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, The Alameda Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Bank. The benefit Fund-A-Need will help us continue to serve these significant Bay Area social service providers as well as our many diverse institutional audiences through live indoor, outdoor and virtual concerts.

All Fund-A-Need contributors were eligible for a drawing with three special prizes. Lucky donors won a collectible limited edition print of Mimi Fariña, signed by the artist Joan Baez; a Gibson L-OO Standard Vintage Sunburst Guitar signed by the concert musicians and an Epiphone Songmaker DR-100 Vintage Sunburst Acoustic Guitar.

We are so grateful to all of our in-kind donors and all who contributed to the Fund-A-Need supporting our ongoing outdoor live music programs for the Food Bank.

The broad support from our Benefit Sponsors, as well as all ticket buyers, allows us to maintain our forward momentum with our ongoing program of healing live music for those in institutional settings around the Bay Area. DOUBLE PLATINUM ARTIST SPONSORS include the Marin Community Foundation and Rich & Nancy Robbins/Wareham Development. PLATINUM ARTIST SPONSORS include Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Heather Hughes & John Botti, Robin Eber and Ann & Matt McWright. HALL OF FAME SPONSOR JAMBAR, in addition to supporting the benefit is also dedicating a portion of the proceeds from its new organic artisan energy JAMBARS to Bread & Roses.

SHOW STOPPER SPONSORS include Colleen & John Amster, Julie & John Brody, Raj Gopal, Shaina Kerrigan & Mark Jones, Donna Mezias & Jonas Honick, Rowan TELS Corporation, Danny Scher, Andrea Schultz and Kathy Taggares & Chris Gorog. HEADLINER SPONSORS include the Bank of Marin, Burd Health LLC, Kristi Denton Cohen & Tom Cohen, Donahue Fitzgerald, Donna & Jim Hale, April & Peter Kelley, Catherine Less, Terry Noyer, Tucky & John Pogue, Penny Pogue & Brett Carlson, Alex Wellins and Suzanne & Tom Werner.

Many thanks to our IN-KIND DONORS including JAMBAR, Shaina Kerrigan & Mark Jones, Kokomo Winery, Catherine Less, Cookies by Schubert's, Michael McElligott and Joe Peck. Much appreciation also to our EVENT CONTRIBUTORS -- Photographer Ken Friedman and Event Producer Kim Teevan of Teevan Productions.

Special recognition to the hard-working staff and amazing volunteers whose dedicated help ensured that the sold-out event ran smoothly and was a big success.


1. (Left) boygenius (Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus). (Right) Allison Russell and guitarist Mandy Fer.

2. Saint Joseph’s Arts Society, San Francisco.

3. Server with wine and sponsor sign.

4. Dave Perron on stage.

5. Allison Russell playing clarinet.

6. Joan Baez on stage.

7. boygenius (Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus).

8. Drawing winner Nicole McClung and daughter with Allison Russell and Joan Baez holding a gicleé print of her portrait of her sister, the late Mimi Fariña.

9. Emma Botti, Board of Directors Chair John Botti, Dave Perron and Heather Hughes Botti.

10. Board Members Matt Jaffe and Catherine Less with Howard Jaffe.

Photos by Ken Friedman

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