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Bread & Roses Blog

News and information from Bread & Roses, a non-profit organization that presents live music to bring hope, healing and joy to the community.

Audience Interaction at Recent Programs Shows the Power of Connection

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Audience interaction is the best way to see the power of connection at every Bread & Roses show. Our volunteer hosts report on the impact that our program has on the audiences we serve. Here are excerpts from a few recent shows that beautifully illustrate the healing power that live music has for those who are isolated and need uplifting.

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Volunteer Celebration “The JAM” 2016 -- A Day of Joy, Appreciation & Music

Once a year we gather together our volunteer community to celebrate and recognize the many accomplishments of our tribe of dedicated performers, hosts and other supporters who help us produce over 600 annual concerts for isolated audiences throughout the Bay Area.

“The JAM” is always a special day, for it is the one time during the year that our volunteers have the chance to meet and play music with each other. Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed everyone and said “It’s all about the volunteers and how they support our community in an intimate way.”

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Rock the Bank – Raj Gopal & Friends Benefit Concert for Bread & Roses

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Board Member Raj Gopal put on a fun evening of rock & rollin’ with music, singing, fundraising and celebration for Bread & Roses Presents on June 29 in downtown San Francisco. Fellow board member Alex Wellins and Blueshirt Group provided the venue in the Next15 building. Many of Raj's colleagues from his office a few doors down at Bank of the West attended, including Dan Beck, the bank’s CFO, who as Raj noted “knows the saxophone as well as numbers and he’s not afraid to show it!”

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Backstage 365 Club Special Show: Delancey Street Foundation Welcomes Dirty Cello

Rebecca Roudman and Jason Eckl of Dirty Cello have been volunteering since 2015 and are already dedicated Bread & Roses Presents performers. Novato-based and internationally renowned, Dirty Cello is known for their energetic mix of bluegrass, blues and classic rock. They have played with artists such as Santana, Joan Baez and Deltron 3030, and they performed their first show in June at The Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco.

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Delancey Street is a beloved audience served by Bread & Roses since 1996. An innovative residential self-help center since 1971, they teach substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless people and others who have hit bottom how to turn their lives around through social entrepreneurship, education and rehabilitation. The residents are a famously enthusiastic audience. Rebecca mentioned before the show that she got a round of applause when she first walked in to the Town Hall to set up. A larger Bread & Roses audience than she has previously played for, she said she was looking forward to it and “we have a high energy show planned!”

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A Fantastic Night of Music at Bread & Roses Spring Benefit Concert May 26

A fantastic night of music from beginning to end was the experience of the lucky guests who attended our spring benefit concert “Bringin’ It Home” on May 26 at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. It was also a special night, for almost all of the performers are volunteers for our institutional audiences in need of joy and uplifting through live music.

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Peter Merts, Volunteer Photographer: Images of Joy in Shows for Isolated Audiences

Darkness Into Light at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehab Center in San Francisco, Chris Donohoe at Center Point in San Rafael, Aline deForge and Emmanuel Presselin at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Marisa Nordstrom at Marin Learning Center in Marin City, Fancy von Pancerton at North Bay Children's Center in Novato,  Miss Kitty at the Marin Learning Center, The Bread & Roses Holiday Chorus at Vision Impaired of Marin in San Rafael, Sylvia & the Silvertones at Center for Elders Independence in Oakland, Aaron Kierbel at BAHIA in Oakland, these are just some of the recent institutional shows that Peter Merts has helped us document (and are seen in this order in the above slide show).

A San Rafael photographer, Peter has been a volunteer for Bread & Roses Presents for over thirty years. He is a great example of the many ways that donated professional services help to accomplish our mission and move us forward. We have been fortunate that photographers including Robert Altman, Jay Blakesberg, Ken Friedman, the late Jim Marshall, Bill Nichols and many others have contributed to our cause.

Peter first heard about our program when he attended a B&R Festival of Music in the late 70s at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. A few months later, he was at his job in a Marin restaurant where he noticed our founder, the late Mimi Fariña, was one of his customers. He introduced himself and asked if he could help. He began as a volunteer by providing food backstage for three days at the next festival. Not long afterwards, he was a staff event coordinator until he left in 1982. He’s been volunteering ever since.

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“Pass the Music” Events Help Launch New Backstage 365 Club

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Bread & Roses board member Alex Wellins recently sponsored the first "Pass the Music" lunchtime event at The Blueshirt Group in San Francisco. The idea was born while brainstorming at a January board planning session as a way of cultivating the younger high tech workforce to learn about our mission and to become involved in supporting our organization. We are grateful that Alex came up with the concept and offered to host the first event at his impressive office in downtown San Francisco.

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New Volunteers from the Hellman Family Play for Bread & Roses

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“Let there be songs to fill the air…” From Ripple (American Beauty, The Grateful Dead)

On Wednesday March 9, the delightful band "Marco & The Polos," comprised of the late Warren Hellman's four children -- son Mick and his sisters Frances, Judith and Tricia Hellman Gibbs – played their first Bread & Roses concert for an audience of appreciative seniors at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae. All four sang, alternating leads and harmonies, with Mick on drums and Tricia playing both guitar and banjo.

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Congratulations Michael Pritchard on Lifetime Achievement Award

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“Two men stared out from prison bars. One saw mud, but the other saw stars.” - Michael Pritchard

Congratulations to Michael Pritchard for receiving a well deserved 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Sun. We are so honored that he is our ambassador-at-large and a volunteer for our organization since the early days. Michael also received national recognition in the Huffington Post for his recent interview with humorist Mark C. Miller. 

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Performer Collaborations Support Bread & Roses

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Steve Meckfessel Leads the Way with Freight & Salvage Benefit Sunday March 13

Singer-songwriter/guitarist and urban folk artist Steve Meckfessel shared a double bill with modern day troubadour Beth Wood at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on Sunday March 13 at 7 pm. In round robin style, he played a selection of his well-crafted and wise original songs from his second album Under Beautiful Skies. Multi-instrumentalist and soulful songstress Beth Wood also shared some of her most recent songs from her latest album Sometimes Love.

The concert was a benefit for Bread & Roses as well as three other local music nonprofits. Fifty-two attendees placed their tickets in a jar, resulting in an upcoming gift of $5200 to our organization from several anonymous donors. 

“I am blown away by the work that Bread & Roses does bringing more than one show every day to people in the Bay Area who need live music most. As a performer, I get to be a first-hand witness to the connection that happens from the power of music and I am happy to support the organization,” said Steve Meckfessel.

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The Shows: Our Reason For Being

Every day of the year isolated audiences in the Bay Area enjoy the superb, live entertainment that our volunteer performers provide. Our small, dedicated staff expertly matches performers with the right audiences and brings in new artists to enhance our roster. The facilities we serve have only praise for the shows we bring.

As the needs of the community grow, we continue to explore new audiences who thrive on the joy and connection we bring. Recently we added several new facilities to stretch our demographic reach: the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland, Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco, St. Vincent’s Dining Room in San Rafael and the Hanna Boys Center in Glen Ellen. From time to time we help our facility partners with music for special events such as the “National Salute to Our Veterans” day at the San Francisco Veterans Hospital and the annual “Day of Peace” at San Quentin.

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Blasting Off Into 2016: Momentum Builds in Our 42nd Year

“As a former board member for Bread & Roses some thirty years ago, I take heart in seeing that the hope and healing we bring through live music is needed now as much as ever. It is an honor to continue to bring our founder Mimi Fariña’s enduring legacy to isolated audiences throughout the Bay Area,” says Executive Director Dave Perron.

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Last year was a pivotal time for Bread & Roses Presents -- a year of transition as we move into our fifth decade. We had a banner year for our program in 2015 as we produced 617 shows, our most since our founding in 1974. We brought joy and uplifting music to over 34,000 audience members in 120 facilities in eight counties throughout the Bay Area. We also had 388 shows hosed by volunteers, over ten percent more than the previous year.

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Thank You For A Cornucopia of Shows in 2015

Thanks to all our supporters who help us present a cornucopia of Bread & Roses shows every year. It takes a tribe to fulfill our mission and we are especially grateful to our volunteer performers and hosts, the backbone of our organization.

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What does a typical day of shows look like for Bread & Roses Presents? You might see 15-year-old Caroline Sky singing at a home for the developmentally disabled, Dirty Cello bringing rock and blues to adults in an addiction treatment facility, 70-year-old Si Perkoff playing boogie-woogie jazz piano in a convalescent home, The Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir singing gospel tunes to homeless families, Boswick the Clown performing for children, whose main languages are Spanish or Vietnamese, in a low-income daycare program, Aaron Kierbel leading a percussion workshop in a special needs school or Ian Dogole helping teens in rehab play instruments from around the world.

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Special Fall Concerts Help to Propel Us Forward

Bread & Roses Presents is honored to feature over a thousand different individual performers and groups at our institutional shows almost every day of the year. We simply could not do our program without them.

We are also fortunate to have performers of note help us mainly with fundraising concerts throughout the years or from time to time donate a portion of the proceeds from an upcoming public concert to help support our mission.

Extraordinary acoustic blues maestro Keb’ Mo’ performed a very special benefit concert at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Monday November 2. Executive Director Dave Perron told the sold-out crowd, “Bread & Roses has a lot of heart and there is a lot of heart in this room tonight as our founder, the late Mimi Fariña, lived in Mill Valley, and is undoubtedly here in spirit.”

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Bread & Roses Receives CalNonprofits Community Engagement Award on Nov. 4

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Bread & Roses was given a $10,000 Community Engagement Award on Wed. Nov. 4 at the CalNonprofits 2015 Annual Policy Convention in Oakland. Development Director Elissa Burke attended the conference and submitted the winning nomination. Executive Director Dave Perron received the award from Cindy Duenas from the CalNonprofits Board and Monica Trevino of CalNonprofits Insurance Services, the award sponsor.

"We were honored to be chosen as the sole winner from among 148 nominees state-wide," said Elissa Burke.  While giving the award, she noted that the presenters remarked "Our judges were impressed with your reach and all the different ways you not only engage your community but also partner with and promote other nonprofit organizations.​"

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Keb’ Mo’ To Perform at Sweetwater Benefit Nov. 2: Roger McNamee Opens

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Bread & Roses Presents will host a special benefit concert with master contemporary blues artist Keb’ Mo’ at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Monday, November 2 at 8 pm. Roger McNamee will open. NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott will emcee the show. VIP tickets are $145. They include admission at 6 pm, a meet-and-greet and photos with Keb’ Mo,’ complimentary hors d'oeuvres & wine. General admission tickets are $75 for this all ages show with doors at 7:45pm. Space permitting, tickets will be sold on-site. Advance ticket purchase is recommended at www.breadandroses.org.

“We are thrilled to have Keb’ Mo’ back to play a benefit for Bread & Roses Presents following his recent success performing in “A Celebration of American Creativity” at the White House.  We are grateful to have him help us bring the gift of music to those in the Bay Area who need it most,” said Bread & Roses Executive Director Dave Perron.

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Steve Earle Thrills New Supporters at Bread & Roses Benefit at Fantasy Studios

 
Steve Earle captivated his audience of new Bread & Roses supporters in a special intimate concert at the legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley on Thursday, October 1. New friends came to learn more about our work and enjoy the special ambiance of a unique concert in Studio D thanks to our hosts at Wareham Development who sponsored this benefit on our behalf.

His heartfelt testimonial about the impact of our mission set the tone for a stirring evening of his authentic music. “Bread & Roses does important work that deserves to be supported,” he said. “Music has the capacity to change the world.”

A beloved, internationally known rock, country and folk singer-songwriter/guitarist, Nashville-based Steve Earle is also a bandleader, record producer, author and actor. A three-time Grammy award-winner, he has released 16 studio albums. A musician's songwriter, his songs have been recorded by many diverse artists from Johnny Cash to Emmylou Harris. He is the subject of two biographies, “Steve Earle: Fearless Heart, Outlaw Poet” by David McGee and Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle by Lauren St. John.

In 2008, he produced Joan Baez's 50th anniversary release Day After Tomorrow for which he contributed a number of timely songs. He is an often rebellious, ever iconic Americana artist and activist, always nimble and eloquent as he responds in his songwriting to the most topical issues of the day.

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Performers at Dreamforce Bring High Visibility to Bread & Roses Presents

Bread & Roses Presents was thrilled to have a presence at Dreamforce 2015, the annual technology conference sponsored by Salesforce and attended by 150,000 people from all over the world. We presented music on the main stage in DreamPark at Moscone Center in San Francisco on Tues. Sept. 15 from 10am to 2pm featuring Bread & Roses performers Garrin Benfield, Matt Jaffe & The Distractions, Hot Buttered Rum and Mark Hummel & His Blues Survivors. Teja Gerken also played guitar for the wellness center.

With a warm sun and blue sky overhead, conference attendees in-between sessions appreciated the chance to hear some really great local music, the same music enjoyed by Bread & Roses isolated Bay Area audiences throughout the year.

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Volunteer Hosts Needed: Bob Rose Reports From the Field

Volunteers host over fifty percent of our daily institutional shows for Bread & Roses Presents. They expand our outreach throughout the Bay Area every month. We simply couldn’t do 600 shows a year without our host program. More volunteer hosts are always needed, particularly for isolated audiences at some of our outlying locations including the East Bay, on the Peninsula and in San Francisco.

Hosts are part of the mainstay of our program, acting as our ambassadors in the field and interacting with the performers, institutional staff and audiences. They setup sound as needed, take care of logistics ahead of time and make sure the staff has the audience in place by the time of each show. They emcee the shows, report on the benefits our audiences receive and track the statistics we need for fundraising.

We have a training program for all new volunteer hosts and an online application on our website. Referrals from our community continue to be an important source of new volunteers. We appreciate your help!

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Volunteers Celebrated in Style at 2015 JAM

Bread & Roses Presents 2015 volunteer appreciation and recognition celebration, also known as “The JAM,” was held in great style on Sunday July 26, 2015 at the beautiful home of Toby and John Nady in Piedmont. We have a long history of celebrating our volunteers at an annual event in a very special venue. It is our way of thanking our many performers, hosts, event volunteers, board members and other supporters for their many contributions throughout the year towards bringing live music to people who need it most in varied institutional settings around the Bay Area.

Event Producer Lisa Starbird led a reception team to greet volunteers. All enjoyed a catered box lunch from Insalata’s and libations on the lovely grounds before the special awards presentation at 2 pm.

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