How do we keep it real, fresh and upbeat? Through the generosity of a new wave of emerging artists who are joining the hundreds of volunteers who are the backbone of our program and who have been a huge boost for our youth audiences in particular.
Pete Seeger, beloved singer, songwriter and activist, was an inspiration in the way he performed folk music to support the causes in which he deeply believed. A true friend to Bread & Roses, he performed with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger at Bread & Roses 25th Anniversary Benefit with Mimi Fariña at the SF Opera House in 2000.
Bread & Roses is fortunate that Michael Pritchard is not only our Ambassador-At-Large but has been an ambassador of hopefor many of our institutional audiences through the years. A gifted motivational speaker, Michael brings all of his life experiences to every program in a way that is immediate, compelling, humorous and life-affirming for those who most need to hear his message of the importance of having self esteem and caring about others.
Following a recent program for teens atMt. McKinley School at Contra Costa Juvenile Hallin Martinez, teacher Ray Booker told Michael "It really makes a difference when you visit. You colorfully put into words and sounds many of the random and not-so-random thoughts they get but haven't found a way to express yet."
Pianist/song-writer and sound-sculptor extraordinaire Marco Benevento and special guests Reed Mathis and Cochrance McMillan from Tea Leaf Greenperformed an outstanding concert to benefit Bread & Roses on Sunday December 1 at The Chapel, a stylish new music and restaurant venue on Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District.
The concert was a unique opportunity to hear Marco play -- in collaboration with Reed and Cochrane -- an inspired set of exuberant music with soaring instrumental melodies. A true highlight of the evening came when Marco invited any member of the audience to join him onstage in exchange for donating a dollar or two to Bread & Roses and piano teacher Holly Bowling responded. A fan of Marco's for a long time, she came to the concert on her own and played Heart and Soul with him when she first sat down at the piano. The audience went wild when she then began to play with finesse a duet with him on his original song Atari. Click here to read the article "One Fan's Experience Sitting in with Marco Benevento" to hear what it was like first-hand.
Generous host Danny Scher opened his home and lovely amphitheatre amidst the redwood trees for our afternoon event to support our ongoing program of live music in 600 annual concerts for isolated people around the Bay. On the board of the Bill Graham Foundation, Danny has been a supporter since Bread & Roses early days when he helped with production for our benefit concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley.
Rita Moreno's intimate cabaret-style show (with trio Russell Kassoffon piano, David Rokeach on drums and Andrew Higgins on bass) transported all in feeling to the coziest club on Broadway. It was thrilling to hear Ms. Moreno unearth such gems as An Errand Girl for Rhythm,Smoky Joe's and Send Me. She performed songs like Honeysuckle Rose about different women's lives. She told funny stories mixing in real experiences from her life as she introduced each piece. Her scat singing was a revelation on songs like Brasil. She even sang an early holiday song from her first home in Puerto Rico.