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  • Writer's pictureMarian Hubler

Our Facility Audiences: Renewing Our Relationships

As we learn to live with the endemic phase of the pandemic, we are renewing relationships with our Bay Area social service partners and are ever optimistic about our program service as we go forward. Many of the facilities we serve are going through significant transitions and we are pleased to have the opportunity to go back inside.


We have maintained our mission by being flexible and adaptable in serving our facility audiences despite the challenges of bringing live music during the pandemic to those who are isolated. We found a way to pivot whether it was facilitating virtual shows in real time or presenting outside concerts when it was not possible to be indoors.



ELM (Enriching Lives through Music) performs an outdoor show for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank distribution center in San Rafael. Photo by Janet Franklin



We are excited to announce that after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, we are renewing our live music programs at San Quentin with a proposal to present longtime volunteer band The Lemonhammer soon. Band member Alexis Harte recently shared why he finds volunteering so rewarding. For over 20 years, I’ve worked with Bread and Roses as a performing artist. I've learned it's impossible to come away from a show without feeling a sense of elation and awe at the ability of music and the performing arts to connect people and provide hope for those who are isolated. The true beauty of Bread and Roses lies in the simplicity and importance of this mission – and in the dedication of the staff and volunteers in fulfilling it. No other organization has been so singularly focused for so long, or so successfully.” We look forward to continuing our program at San Quentin going forward on a regular basis.


We also saw a need to bring uplifting music to the many folks who are food insecure and the volunteers who are helping them. We continue to expand our service by bringing regular concerts to some of the Bay Area’s larger food bank distribution centers. We have an established program bringing Saturday morning concerts to the San Francisco Marin Food Bank at their headquarters in San Rafael with stalwart regular performers like Jeffrey Halford, Kurt Huget, Robert Sims, and the Whistlin’ Billies. Randy Rollman, volunteer coordinator at the food bank in Marin recently said "We're so happy to have Bread & Roses here with all the different groups. It's been a great partnership and our volunteers look forward to the music all week."


San Francisco-Marin Food Bank volunteers load vehicles while enjoying live music by Kurt Huget. Photo by Janet Franklin.

Recently, we also started bringing monthly music to the volunteers at the Alameda County Community Food Bank’s warehouse in Oakland. A dedicated volunteer and one-man-band Jeff Cleary continues to be a mainstay for our program at the Second Harvest Food Bank on the Peninsula where we will be bringing music soon to a second location in South San Francisco.


New audiences we have recently added to our roster include the senior lunch program at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center and the Albert J. Boro Community Center in San Rafael in addition to the new AgeWell PACE senior day program in Santa Rosa. We are also finding that our collaborative partners miss us, are actively seeking the uplifting music that we present, and are committed to finding ways to bring us back.

After receiving virtual concerts for almost three years, some of our most restricted senior audiences in skilled nursing and memory care at the VA Medical Center in Menlo Park enthusiastically invited us back this summer to present live on-site outdoor courtyard concerts. The Veterans Home in Yountville also opened up enough after several years of near-constant quarantines for us to present music again at their Holderman convalescent hospital and Roosevelt Annex residential memory care facility.


Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan perform for the senior lunch at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center in West Marin. Photo by Janet Franklin.


Other adult programs added or renewed this year include the Helen Vine Detox Center and Homeward Bound of Marin/Jonathan’s Place in San Rafael. Our popular concert series has also been re-established for the enthusiastic audiences of developmentally disabled adults at The Cedars Fine Arts Center in San Anselmo and The Cedars Textile Arts Center in San Rafael. In addition, we appreciated the chance to bring music back to Saint Anthony’s Dining Room in the Tenderloin with Michael Hatfield of San Francisco.


We were honored to return to the Fairfax San-Anselmo Children’s Center for their recent 50th Anniversary event by presenting music and puppets by Stinky Tales. We also brought music and puppets back to Saint Vincent’s Day Home in Oakland and will soon be returning to special needs school Oak Hill in San Anselmo.


Our regular monthly program of virtual concerts for men in recovery at Our Common Ground in East Palo Alto has also recently transitioned to live in-person concerts. Catholic Charities Adult Day Health has welcomed us back for live concerts at their two adult day centers in San Francisco and San Mateo. Lute player Zachary Donaldson from Berkeley recently delighted audiences at both locations with his special Baroque and Renaissance music.


Zachary Donaldson plays the lute. Photo by Marian Hubler.

We continue to recruit performers to serve a wide variety of audiences in institutional settings throughout the Bay Area. A group of fifteen teen and elementary school students from ELM (Enriching Lives Through Music) recently did their first concert for us at the San Francisco Marin Food Bank. A couple of committed performers have also adopted facilities for regular monthly concerts including Christina Waldeck and Alan Thomas at The Redwoods Health Care Center in Mill Valley and Nancy Cassidy for the seniors in memory care at The Sequoias in Portola Valley.


Please let us know if you would like to volunteer for a particular facility audience or if you are new to volunteering, fill out an application online to become part of our community of performers. We particularly need performers for children and youth, as well as diverse genres of music and the performing arts. Contact us at info@breadandroses.org or visit www.breadandroses.org/volunteer.


Post by Marian Hubler






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