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  • Writer's pictureMarian Hubler

Lucius Shines with Spectacular Success at Fall Benefit Concert

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius put on a captivating performance with Celisse and Aaron Lee Tasjan at Bread & Roses Presents annual fall benefit concert at the St. Joseph's Arts Society on Saturday Nov. 19, 2022 in San Francisco.

Close to 400 supporters and guests were thrilled by the exciting night of music at the elegant St. Joseph’s Arts Society for our 2022 Fall Benefit Concert on Saturday November 19 with Lucius headlining and Aaron Lee Tasjan and Celisse opening the show. Much gratitude to Laurie and Jeff Ubben for their generous sponsorship of the talent and overall vision for our annual fundraising event -- a major support to our ongoing program of live music for isolated Bay Area audiences.

Guests appreciated the beautiful lights and creative furnishings in the restored space -- a former historic Catholic Church that has been transformed into a breathtaking venue for a live concert. Light hors d’oeuvres were circulated and performance artist Frank Olivier entertained with card tricks as supporters made their way to sponsor tables and general seating in the great hall. Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous environment, an unforgettable setting for a truly spectacular concert with heartfelt collaboration throughout the night among all the performers on stage.

Bread & Roses Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed the audience and introduced Celisse, a powerful vocalist and guitarist. An Oakland native, she wowed the crowd with her warm, engaging presence and soaring bluesy style. Solomon Dorsey on bass and synthesizer rounded out the sound. “Music,” she said, “is important as a universal language” and “saved my life.”

Nashville-based indie folk-singer Aaron Lee Tasjan then performed on guitar and keyboards a set of humorous semi-autobiographical songs with topical connotations “the answer my friend is on the Internet.” Smiling in his checkered hat and striped jacket, he charmed the audience with his showmanship and clever original parodies. Joining him on stage was Erica Blinn on acoustic guitar and vocals, Wynot Jansveld on bass and Mark Stepro on drums. In-between songs, Aaron told the audience it meant a lot to him to be a part of the show. Both Aaron and Celisse spoke movingly about the long-lasting benefits of playing music for their mental health.

The sensational indie-pop band Lucius, headed by the visually arresting, aurally enchanting and incomparable singer-songwriters Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, played a moving set. The compelling harmonies of the lead singers touched everyone in the audience particularly when the duo ventured out into the middle of the audience for an ‘up close and personal finale’ toward the end of the concert. Their gorgeous costumes, the vivid changing colors of the lights and their playing of multiple instruments from drums to recorders carried the audience along on a memorable journey. In true Bread & Roses style, they orchestrated a closing song with Aaron Lee Tasjan and sang stunning three-part harmonies with Celisse on "I'll Be There" for the heartwarming end.

Lucius’ band included Dan Molad on backing vocals, drums and keyboard; Peter Lalish on backing vocals and guitar; Alex Pfender on guitar; and Solomon Dorsey on bass and synthesizer.

Our annual Fund-A-Need at the event this year was dedicated to raising funds to bring more programs to our youth audiences who suffer greatly from mental health challenges. Our live musical performances bring joy to young people who are stressed and isolated. The funds raised are an important source of support for additional programs for children and youth in daycare centers and special needs schools. Contributions will help our programs for facilities like the Anova Center for Education in Santa Rosa, the largest school of its kind in the country for autistic children and a recent addition to our roster.

Briana Zelaya was the winning bidder for the special auction of a legendary Les Paul electric guitar signed by Celisse. Two lucky Fund-A-Need contributors also won raffle prizes, an Epiphone Songmaker guitar signed by Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers and a collectible limited edition print of our founder, the late Mimi Fariña, signed by her sister, the artist Joan Baez. Thanks to the Gibson Foundation for donating the guitars.

The tremendous support from our sponsors as well as concert attendees is critical to sustaining our nonprofit organization. DOUBLE-PLATINUM ARTIST Sponsors include the Nancy P. and Richard K. Robbins Family Foundation. PLATINUM ARTIST Sponsors include Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Heather Hughes & John Botti, Robin Eber, JAMBAR and Briana Zelaya.

HALL OF FAME Sponsors include Colleen & John Amster, Mary Alice & Paul Kirincic and Ann & Matt McWright. SHOW STOPPERS include Bank of Marin, Bon Air ~ Greenbrae, Christine & Steve Burd, The Chow Family, Kristi Denton Cohen & Tom Cohen, Raj Gopal, GoPro, Andrea Greenberg & Alex Wellins, Donna Mezias & Jonas Honick, Danny Scher, Kathy Taggares & Chris Gorog. HEADLINERS include Julie & Jeff Brody, Sarah & Daniel Davis, Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, Donna & Jim Hale, Shaina Kerrigan & Mark Jones, NC Financial Group, Terry and Mitch Nilsen, Hennessy Funds, Tucky & John Pogue and Rowan TELS Corporation.

IN-KIND DONORS include JAMBAR, Kokomo Winery, Larkmead Vineyards and Lagunitas Brewing Company. Other CONTRIBUTORS include Katie Kincade|Poster Design, Peter Merts|Photographer, Frank Olivier|Magician, Kim Teevan/Teevan Productions|Event Producer and Schubert Bakery.

MUCH APPRECIATION to our board, the staff and volunteers for their teamwork ensured that the event ran seamlessly and was an outstanding fundraiser. Thanks also to the staff of the Saint Joseph’s Arts Society and all the outside contractors who contributed in various ways that evening from food to sound and lights.

Your generosity will help Bread & Roses continue to bring hope and healing through live music to our isolated Bay Area neighbors – over 500 concerts a year for those in institutional settings who need uplifting most.

Post by Marian Hubler

Slide Show Compiled by Samantha Dueñas with Photos by Peter Merts


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