Bread & Roses presented 635 shows in 2017, the most in the 43-year history of our organization. Over a thousand volunteer performing artists ranging from musicians to magicians did programs for 36,241 youth, adults and seniors in 120 institutions in eight Bay Area counties, also record numbers for our nonprofit that reaches out to people with little access to the performing arts. You can see an overview of our 2017 highlights in our new infographic.
“We are proud of the dedicated support of all our contributors and volunteers,” said Board Chair Jay Silverberg. “Last year was a watershed for Bread & Roses Presents. We produced the most shows in our history and also increased the overall number of shows for day-care audiences serving isolated children and seniors with disabilities.”
In 2017, Bread & Roses increased its program service to senior day care facilities in the greater Bay Area bringing 103 total live music concerts to increasingly diverse audiences of adults and seniors including On Lok (Cantonese-speaking), the Curry Senior Center (Hispanic) and Openhouse (LGBT) in SF. These now account for 16 percent of our total program, a two percent increase over 2016.
Service to children’s day care audiences also increased with 138 total shows for isolated children, expanding reach to Hispanic families and their children in programs like Aprendiendo Juntos “Learning Together” as well as new facilities like Old Gallinas Childcare (both in San Rafael), and COTS Kids First Family Shelter in Petaluma. Programs in this category account for 22 percent of our overall service, another two percent increase over the previous year.
Of the eight Bay Area counties served by Bread & Roses, recent efforts have also focused on expanding service in Sonoma by 63 percent. Programs were launched in 2017 at COTS (homeless shelter) and PEP (low-income senior housing) in Petaluma and Center Point/Turning Point (drug & alcohol recovery center) in Santa Rosa.
Bread & Roses also saw an unexpected opportunity to serve evacuees from the Sonoma fires temporarily sheltered at an evacuation facility in San Rafael. Our volunteers responded to the call to serve from VP of Programs Carolyn Gauthier, who brought a number of individual performers as well as groups for both adults and children to the Marin Center in mid-October.
Our organization also saw an increase in the number of volunteers emceeing its programs, with 392 shows hosted by volunteers, 62 percent overall, six percent more than last year. Hosts act as ambassadors, assist with show logistics and audience reports. Their efforts allow staff to produce more shows. Volunteer hosts step up in other ways such as covering more than one show a month, adopting a specific facility, or by traveling farther afield to host institutional audiences throughout the Bay Area.
Celebrity and higher profile artists help raise awareness of Bread & Roses by doing institutional programs as well as benefit concerts. Performers for isolated audiences last year included media icon Ben Fong-Torres, nationally-touring Nashville-based artist Korby Lenker, Americana phenomenon David Luning, 16-year-old vocalist Caroline Sky, a recent acclaimed contestant on “The Voice,” revered bluesman Mitch Woods, the extraordinary altruistic band Moonalice, the celebrated soul man Tony Saunders, inspirational guitarist Craig Bartock from Heart, international sensation The California Honeydrops, motivational speaker Michael Pritchard, the extended tribe of Hellman Family bands, 22-year-old rising rock star Matt Jaffe, upbeat contemporary musician Jeffrey Halford, accomplished singer-songwriter Beth Marlin and concert promoter KC Turner. Benefit performers in 2017 included soulful Irish Indie singer-songwriter Hozier, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real as well as sizzling young Midwest guitarist Matthew Curry, Jimmy Dillon and the Bay Area’s Birdseed from the Bird School in SF.
Over the past few years, Bread & Roses has also dedicated efforts to serving more youth in detention facilities around the Bay Area, as well as expanding its service model at San Quentin. The organization is now bringing inspirational programs on a near monthly basis to the chapel in the state prison serving a diverse multi-faith audience and fulfilling special requests from prison staff as needed. Program Associate/Event Producer Lisa Starbird recently helped to produce a musical variety show with both inside and outside acts, as well as an interfaith choir concert for which she recruited a qualified director. She also mentors inmates to assist with all aspects of show production while Bread & Roses performers mentor inmate musicians inside the prison, which is known throughout the country as a “role model for rehabilitation.” In addition, Bread & Roses collaborates with other nonprofits to do programs for events such as the San Quentin Day of Peace and the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.
“With an expanded Circle of Advisors and renewed board, Bread & Roses is poised to sustain its mission and continue its momentum to grow into the future,” said Executive Director Dave Perron. “We welcome more like-minded individuals, particularly younger adults and youth performers, to join our committed tribe of supporters,” he said.
Bread & Roses continues to grow its social media presence primarily on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow us for frequent updates. Last year, we did our first live streaming of several institutional programs as well as our Fall Benefit concert on Facebook Live. A new “Bread & Roses Presents” film also debuted last year and was screened in the fall at the Mill Valley Film Festival. In addition, a benefit CD was produced featuring the music of our late founder, Mimi Fariña with Lowell Levinger (Banana from the Youngbloods) Live in Germany.
1) Cynthia Yee of Grant Avenue Follies at On Lok in San Francisco, June 2008. Photo by Peter Merts
2) Caterpillar Puppets at Berkeley YMCA Head Start, South, Sept 2017. Photo by Peter Merts
3) David Luning & Ben Dubin at Turning Point in Santa Rosa, Aug 2017. Video by Marian Hubler
4) Bri Tree at the Emergency Fire Evacuation Shelter at Marin Center, Oct 2017. Photo by Marian Hubler
5) Volunteer Host Arlene Rudy with The Mermaid Atlantis of Living Dream Arts at Aprendiendo Juntos/Parent Services Project, Nov 2017. Photo by Peter Merts
6) Hozier accompanied by HoneyHoney at the Great American Music Hall, May 2017. Photo by Ken Friedman
7) Michael Pritchard at the 2017 Day of Peace at San Quentin. Photo by Peter Merts