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.
Bread & Roses hosted a fun Blues Brunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (SF) on Sunday October 27th with Everybody Is A Star. All who were there enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet and soul-satisfying, live music. With world-class harmonica player Mark Hummel'sBlues Blowout, special guestsNick Gravenitesand Ron Thompson thrilled all with their spirited blues playing. Performances were also given by Loren Moale, Eva Sapper and Jeannette Denny from Everybody is a Star.
Thanks so much to Bob Boemer at the Hard Rock Cafe on Pier 39 for donating the use of his stylish venue dedicated to the celebration of Rock & Roll to support two extraordinary organizations that share a belief in the power of music to transform lives and lift the human spirit.
Though many people in Marin County have resources, some who live here find themselves homeless during the cold and rainy season. It is our pleasure to serve our neighbors in need again this winter through REST a remarkable shelter program at a variety of churches in Marin County.
"The homeless men who participate in the Marin County REST program received a very special gift from Gail Muldrow. Gail played guitar and sang while the men ate dinner and prepared their sleeping arrangements.
She is a very soulful singer-songwriter and an amazingly gifted guitarist. Gail quietly began the show with a lovely version of Neil Young’s Old Man Take A Look At My Life. The men, who were in line for food, stopped what they were doing and let the music move them. Some came over and stood transfixed watching her play.
Bread & Roses was one of nine nonprofits to be given an award at the Bank of the West's Fourth Annual Philanthropy Awards. As a finalist for a Community Impact award, we received $10,000 during the bank’s award ceremony on October 22 in San Francisco. We are especially proud to have received this grant as we understand we were one of 300 nonprofit organizations across the bank's western region to be considered for the award.
How often does one have the chance to hear one of America's top slide guitarists in concert with an electrifying Paraguayan harpist and violinist while enjoying a delicious brunch with friends in a stylish and intimate club with spectacular sound? While at the same time providing an opportunity to support hope and healing through live music for our neighbors who are most in need? On Sunday Sept. 8 at the beautiful Fenixmusic club & restaurant in San Rafael, extraordinary slide guitarist Roy Rogers and violinist/harpist Carlos Reyesput on a thrilling brunch-time concert for 120 lucky fans to benefit Bread & Roses and the Ritter Center. Thanks to former Bread & Roses board member Merl Saunders, Jr. executive director of the Fenix, and Laura van Galen, the club's CEO, for their generosity in providing this beautiful new cabaret-style venue with state-of-the-art sound.
Roy Rogers with Merl Saunders, Jr. at the benefit brunch. Photo by Marian Hubler, Courtesy of Bread & Roses.
This concert was the first in a new series at a variety of exciting venues to benefit Bread & Roses. Coming up next on Sunday October 27 is a blowout blues brunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco featuring harmonica ace Mark Hummel and band with sizzling blues guitarist Nick Gravenites.
There's been a lot in the media recently about the health benefits of choral singing for those who are older. The "Rock the Ages" chorusat The Redwoods in Mill Valley performed an inspiring and poignant concert for Bread & Roses at Whistlestop's regular lunch program for seniorsin San Rafael recently. Many benefits were received not only by the audience, but especially by those who were singing.
Chorus member Dave, who kicked off the concert with a solo on Coldplay's"Yellow," said "I like singing in the chorus as it gives everyone a feeling of happiness."
On Saturday, July 27 the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir lifted the spirits of 2000 people at San Quentin’s Day of Peace. Dozens of inmates, staff and community volunteers organized an incredible program focused on creating peace one day at a time.
The choir sang an hour of joyous music, encouraging listeners to clap, dance and sing along as they felt moved.
When they finished singing at high noon, two minutes of silence was observed. Four bells rang, each one symbolizing victims of violence or tragedy. The final bell was rung for the victims of the crimes committed by those present. The silence was palpable, and hundreds bowed their heads or held hands aloft with the peace sign.
Associate Warden John Curzon wrote “To have 2,000 inmates on an exercise yard at the same time, enjoying the talents of gifted musicians, without any form of violence or incident, validates that music can make a profound difference. Throughout the years, Bread & Roses has played an integral part in the San Quentin community.”
It is an honor to be part of the healing process that went on and to know that peace is always possible.
Sounds of laughter, lots of smiles and much singing along can always be heard when musician Gary Lapow does one of his monthly shows for Bread & Roses. About a third of our Bay Area program -- close to 200 shows every year -- are given for pre-school and elementary children, as well as other youth in a variety of places like low-income day care centers, special needs schools, family shelters, teen rehabs and juvenile detention facilities.
"Volunteers are the backbone of our organization," said the late Mimi Fariña, Bread & Roses founder. Our show hosts, in particular, represent our organization on-site at over half of our institutional performances allowing our small staff to produce 600 Bay Area concerts annually.
More volunteers are always needed to host our programs, particularly in San Francisco, the East Bay and on the Peninsula. Hosts greet the performers, help with set-up, liaison with facility staff, act as emcee and report on the effectiveness of our shows.
New host Helena Pappas, is a classically trained pianist and attorney from San Francisco. After her first Bread & Roses show at the VA Medical Centerin San Francisco, she recalled some of the audience reactions that day and her experience of the deep healing and joy that music can bring .