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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.

Judy Collins Recalls Origin of “Bread and Roses” Song

In Singing Lessons: A Memoir of Love, Loss, Hope and Healing (c. 1998 p. 174) Judy Collins recalls looking for songs for an album project in 1976.

“After the death of her husband, Dick Fariña, Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez’s younger sister, had started a nonprofit organization in San Francisco called Bread & Roses, to provide free entertainment for people in homes, jails and hospitals in the Bay Area. She wrote the “Bread and Roses” melody to a poem by James Oppenheim and I recorded it, using a choir of voices in a church in New York.”  

In her liner notes for the album, also titled Bread & Roses Judy said:“Songs come from many places, unexpectedly, amazingly.”  She relayed how Mimi had sent her a copy of the “Bread and Roses” poem. She thought it so beautiful that she asked her to set it to music. Her sister Holly Ann then designed a Bread and Roses tapestry piece featuring a single rose and wove it using hand-dyed yarns which was then used as the art for the inside album cover.      

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Notes From the Field: Peter Merts on Working with Bread & Roses

Photographer Peter Merts recently posted a blog about his volunteer work for Bread & Roses on Photo Philanthropy’s website: “Notes From the Field: Peter Merts on Working with Bread & Roses.”

Nicolas Bearde at Mission YMCA, photo courtesy of Peter MertsWe are so grateful that Peter Merts has been actively documenting our work for the past ten years.  He has been involved in supporting Bread & Roses for over thirty years having worked with Mimi Fariña as an event coordinator in the late 70s and early 80s.    We are truly blessed to have his continuing contributions; the beautiful images that help us tell our story in so many ways.

Take our upcoming benefit on Match 22 at the Regency Ballroom for example.  Peter’s images grace our invitation and program.  His  photos also make up a large part of the slide show we will be screening for the first time at the event showing the power of the institutional shows recently performed by our benefit musicians. 

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Purchase Your Tickets Today!!

We are thrilled to announce Take Heart the exciting and eclectic 2012 Concert to Benefit Bread & Roses. The show will be held on March 22 at the historic Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, and will feature an extraordinary lineup of some of the Bay Area’s hottest local artists, all of whom inspire our audiences year-round.

The concert will be big, bold and brilliant – ranging from blues and jazz to pop and Broadway show tunes. Some of our featured artists include:

Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s. Mitch is described as “one of the top boogie piano men around” by Dan Aquilante of the New York Post. Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s will fill the room with their jumpin’ and jivin’, pumpin’ and poundin’, New Orleans rhythm and blues “rock-a-boogie” magic.

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Bread & Roses Honors Volunteers at Heart of Marin Awards

Our Heart of Marin Award nominees for 2011: (left to right) Peter Merts, Tucky Pogue and Dick Miner.

On Thursday, January 5, 2012, at the 19th Annual Heart of Marin Awards in San Rafael, Bread & Roses board and staff honored three of our Marin volunteers:  Peter Merts of San Rafael, Dick Miner of San Anselmo and Tucky Pogue from Ross.  Peter and Dick were nominated as "Volunteer of the Year" and Tucky, for her "Excellence in Board Leadership." 

Says Development Director Elizabeth Share; "I simply could not do my job without the high quality images provided by documentary photographer Peter Merts.  He creates a powerful window into the lives of those we serve and helps us visually communicate a social awareness of those who are isolated from society."  

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Warren Hellman (1934-2011) - His Memory Will be a Blessing

Warren Hellman and The Wronglers

It is with great sorrow that we note the passing of our friend Warren Hellman. Warren was both a donor and volunteer performer for Bread & Roses, playing gigs for our isolated audiences with his band, The Wronglers.  Warren and The Wronglers brought joy and hope to seniors, the developmentally disabled, and those battling addiction, and everywhere they played, Warren established a heart-to-heart connection with his audience. Warren exemplified all that is most compassionate about Bread & Roses. After every show he told friends that he "received far more than he gave" when he played at these small gigs for his neighbors in need. He especially delighted in the fact that he was known to those we serve as a banjo player. His many other well deserved titles - billionaire, financier, philanthropist, endurance runner, San Francisco treasure - took a back seat to "musician" on these occasions, and Warren got a real kick out of this. Like countless others, we will miss Warren. His memory will truly be a blessing.

Photos courtesy of Peter Merts.
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Celebrate Mimi Fariña’s Legacy: Join the Bread & Roses Founder's Circle

Mimi Farina

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the passing of Bread & Roses founder, Mimi Fariña. Yet, her legacy lives on through the work that Bread & Roses accomplishes every day by bringing quality live music to individuals who are isolated and institutionalized. This work is made possible through the generosity of our volunteers and donors. And right now, there has never been a more exciting time to support our work...

  • Because you have witnessed the power of live music to transform and and inspire in profound and unexpected ways.
  • Because we urgently need your help to continue our important work.
  • Because 100% of the board have contributed to a challenge grant to thank you for your generosity - thereby doubling the impact of your gift.
  • And because right now, a gift of any size will make you a founding member of our new FOUNDER'S CIRCLE - established in honor of our founder, Mimi Fariña.

Thirty-seven years ago Mimi Fariña founded Bread & Roses with the compassionate desire to offer hope and joy to isolated audiences through the healing power of live music. Since then, Bread & Roses has grown considerably, presenting nearly 600 shows ayear to nearly 27,000 individuals being cared for in 120 Bay Area facilities.

These are some examples of how our audience members have responded to Bread & Roses shows:

"The music makes me want to live longer," said an elderly woman living apart from family and friends in a convalescent home for low-income residents.

"Today became the best day of my life," said a teen at a juvenile hall after a Bread & Roses performer invited her to the stage to sing.

"Please know that your organization will be remembered the duration of my lifetime for the gift of hope you have given me through music and song," said Don, a man recovering from addiction.

Join the Founder's Circle today and ensure that Mimi's caring legacy lives on. In doing so, you will inspire hope, change a life, and bring comfort to those who need it most.

Video courtesy of Michael Mc Connell at Media Local Studios.
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On ABC's 20/20: Gabrielle Giffords Finds Her Voice Through Music

Highlights from Diane Sawyer's interview with Gabrielle Giffords which aired on ABC's 20/20 on November 14, 2011.

A few weeks ago ABC's 20/20 with Diane Sawyer aired an inspirational segment on Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, who in January 2011 suffered from a near-fatal shooting, leaving her in critical condition for several weeks and severely damaging her brain. In the special, Diane Sawyer interviews Giffords for the first time since her injury, and showcases Giffords' amazing spirit, determination and courage.

Due to the injuries Giffords had suffered from receiving a bullet point blank to the head, she was afflicted with aphasia, the inability to speak due to damage to the linguistic pathways in the brain. Yet in the 11 months since the shooting, she has made remarkable progress, and has regained much of her speech and motor skills, a triumph that can be attributed in part to music therapy.

The bullet had mostly damaged the left side of Giffords' brain, the part that controls speech. The words were there, but she had to find a different route to access them. It was through song that she was able to attach rhythm and melody to words, and thus create a new neural pathway to language. You might wonder how music accomplishes this. According to neurologist and best-selling author, Oliver Sacks, "Nothing activates the brain so extensively as music." This is because music is able to activate visual, motor, coordination and emotion centers in both hemispheres of the brain. Thus one can use music to retrain the brain in order to compensate for brain damage.

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The RRazz Room’s “Season of Giving” to Benefit Bread & Roses

Lisa Bautista (left) with Joyce DeWitt, actress from Three's Company, and Kris Koskela, RRazz Room office manager, at the venue’s 3rd annual “RRAZZiversary” earlier this year.

 

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Join us in Dec. for the First Ever Bread & Roses Holiday Chorus!!

New This Year!

Join Bread & Roses Holiday Sing-Along Chorus

And Bring Good Cheer To Our Isolated Audiences in December!

 

Bread & Roses is sponsoring a holiday sing-along for several of our facility audiences with a chorus of volunteer singers co-led by singers Claudia Russell and Marian Hubler.

Anyone who enjoys singing holiday songs is welcome to participate. Each program will be approximately 45 minutes to an hour. If you interested in being part of the group, you can do one show or all, which will be held in the East Bay, San Francisco and Marin.

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Miss Kitty Shows the Way with Music for Children

Miss Kitty at Papermill Creek Children's Center, 10/17/2011. Video courtesy of Sharon Glenn.

 

Highly revered children's performer Miss Kitty shows the way to connect with Bread & Roses' younger audiences.   At a recent concert for children at Papermill Creek pre-school at Pt. Reyes Station, she was a big hit with over twenty children many of whom were from the Head Start program in West Marin.

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Is It Opera??

Is it Opera??

More than a few of you have called to ask this about our Fall Benefit Concert featuring mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade.

So, is it opera?

Not according to Frederica. There will be operatic elements, but Frederica's repertoire will more closely resemble an intimate classical recital. "It will be My Life in Song," she said when we posed the question to her. "I will be singing excerpts from Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, an aria from Werther, and a special song by John Musto titled, 'Litany,' which is based on Langston Hughes' poem 'Shadow of the Blues.' "

When asked why she chose to lend her talents in support of Bread & Roses, Frederica warmly responded by saying:

"People who are suffering, who are down and out, who are living in poverty, don't know that they are loved. Bread & Roses is about healing and helping them. We remind them that they are God's special creatures, even when the world tells them they're not."

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Busking for Bread & Roses


Micah Press and his jazz combo at the San Rafael farmer's market.

 

Fall is a time when many nonprofits step up their fundraising efforts in order to meet end-of-year goals. This fall, Bread & Roses was delighted to be on the receiving end of the generosity of thirteen-year-old Micah Press, who took our mission to the streets with the help of his school’s jazz combo.

We first met Micah a few months ago when he set out to raise money in support of our organization. Being a musician himself, he said that of all the Marin nonprofits he could support, he felt most aligned with the mission and impact of Bread & Roses. In order to raise money, Micah played with his jazz combo at the San Rafael farmers market and requested that for his bar mitzvah, his guests make contributions to Bread & Roses in lieu of gifts.

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Happy Movie Features Michael Pritchard @ The Rafael 9/30 - 10/5


Michael Pritchard as Emcee at Bread & Roses Volunteer Celebration on August 28, 2011

For the past several years, Michael Pritchard has been Bread & Roses ambassador-at-large. As a comedian and motivational speaker,  he helps us convey the heart of our work and inspires all to continue Mimi Farina's legacy of providing  hope and healing through live music and the performing arts to those isolated in institutions who need it most. As emcee at our recent volunteer celebration at the Freight & Salvage, Michael reminded us that it is generosity of spirit that connects us and makes us happy. 

 

Appearing in the new independent documentary The Happy Movie,  Michael Pritchard helps us understand how to measure happiness. Those of us who live in the Bay Area can see the film Friday September 30 &  Saturday October 1 at 7 pm at The Rafael Film Center in San Rafael and afterwards hear Michael in a Q & A with Associate Producer Omid Heidari.   The Happy Movie will be shown at The Rafael for six days only (through Oct. 5) so don't miss the opportunity to see it.  It will also be screened on Monday Oct. 24 at 5:30 pm in Palo Alto as part of the United Nations Association Film Festival co-sponsored by the Stanford Film Society and the UNA Mid-Peninsula Chapter.  

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Community Gathering for Good Cheer at the Tavern at Lark Creek

Bread & Roses hosted a community gathering at a special happy hour at The Tavern at Lark Creek on Thursday, September 8.  On the side patio of this beautiful, historic restaurant in Larkspur, many people from diverse parts of our ever-expanding community gathered to share good cheer.  With festive sangria, margaritas, wine and beer for sale to benefit Bread & Roses, we visited with each other under the redwood trees and enjoyed the lively folk-rock music of the talented Rant Brothers

Susan Gilardi, Bread & Roses Board Chair Emeritus,  first had the inspiration for the second annual event along with restaurant manager TJ Jacobberger and Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper.  While Susan was helping to greet people, her husband Dennis Gilardi parked his 1922 Model T Ford in the driveway to draw attention to the event.   

Performers Linda Kosut, Noah Griffin, Marianna August, Shana Morrison, Bob Gordon, Paul Geller and Dan Reich were among the guests who came along with former Bread & Roses board member Merl Saunders, Jr.  Peter Carpou and Debbie Neigher, who made the journey up to Marin from Larkin Street Youth Services, one of the facilities Bread & Roses serves in San Francisco.  Former Bread & Roses staffer Ellen Thomas was there along with other friends like Karen Laffey from Pacific Union.  

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Moonalice Plays @ The Menlo Park VA On Labor Day

Video courtesy of Ken Guanga of the Menlo Park Patch.

 

With red, white and blue balloons bobbing cheerfully in the breeze, the band Moonalice played an upbeat Bread & Roses concert for the veterans at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park on Labor Day 2011. Blessed with beautiful sunny weather, this early afternoon special event was held on Monday, September 5 on a small stage in a grassy area to the right of the front door of the Community Living Center.  

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Live Music as a Connecting Force: Violinist Robert Gupta Plays at LA Mental Health Clinic on KQED California Report

Robert Gupta's story is an inspiration to us all: not only does he play first chair violin for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he is also their youngest performer, having joined the orchestra in 2007 at the age of 19. What is perhaps most remarkable about this young prodigy is that in addition to his professional music career, he also directs his own free concert series, The Street Symphony, which brings live classical music to the homeless and mentally ill on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. KQED's California Report recently did an audio story on Robert's social service outreach, which includes comments from the patients after his concert. You can listen to the report here.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Bread & Roses serves a number of residential mental health facilities at major hospitals including short-term units at San Francisco General, and California Pacific Medical Center, as well as longer-term treatment facilities such as Cordilleras in Redwood City and Canyon Manor in Novato.  Among our most challenging audiences, we know that mental health patients, particularly those who are also homeless, can be hard to engage and at the same time, are often deeply appreciative of and positively affected by music's healing force.

Gupta's interest in music as therapy for the mentally ill was perhaps inspired in 2008 when he met and began tutoring Nathanial Ayers, the schizophrenic musical virtuoso who is the subject of the bestselling book, The Soloist by L.A. Times columnist, Steve Lopez. Many of you might be familiar with the film adaptation, which stars Jamie Fox and Robert Downey Jr. Of his time working with Ayers, Gupta remarked that he was struck by how music seemed to calm Ayers and act as a sort of medicine or therapy. It was at that time that Robert began The Street Symphony.

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Teen Performer Lucy Krakow is Local "Whiz Kid"

Budding jazz chanteuse Lucy Krakow is a featured “Whiz Kid” on this week’s Larkspur Corte Madera Patch. While at Redwood High School, Lucy was a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses who did concerts for three different facility audiences. An inventive jazz singer with her own distinctive style, Lucy is also a talented singer-songwriter as well as guitarist. 

For her Bread & Roses shows, she brought her talents as a creative collaborator to the forefront by recruiting three musicians to perform with her. At Marin Services for Women (MSW) she performed original songs she co-wrote with Katie Hamilton who is now at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. At Aldersly in San Rafael, a residential community for seniors, she played jazz standards with saxophone player Jake Botts. At Our Common Ground, a rehab for teens in Redwood City, she performed in a charming and inspirational duet with her brother Roger.

Michelle Doty, a volunteer host for Bread & Roses, said of the concert at MSW that “They revealed hopes and dreams through their music...The diversity in the room, apparent in age and race, was brought back together in a circle of music with women.”

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Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Rocks the House at Bread & Roses show at Crossroads

OIGC Director, Terrance Kelly takes a turn at the microphone.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir -- their name says it all. Buddhists, Christians, Jews and others join their voices to sing traditional and contemporary Black Gospel music. Many races and ethnicities blend into one beautiful chorus. Residents of Crossroads Homeless Shelter in Oakland were engulfed by the powerful sound that filled their dining hall during a recent Bread & Roses concert there. Some laughed, some cried as songs of trials and faith touched their hearts. “Never Alone,” “All I Need,” and upon request “Amazing Grace” buoyed the spirits of folks facing a hard time in their lives.

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Bay Vibes CD "Songwriters Unplugged Live @ Yoshi's" Benefits Bread & Roses


Bay Vibes Songwriters Unplugged, the first CD from nearly two years of Sunday night concerts featuring the Bay Area's best singer-songwriters at Yoshi's in San Francisco, is now available for purchase on CD Baby.  Co-sponsored by SF Bay Vibes and Sonic Zen Records, all proceeds benefit Bread & Roses' mission to bring live music to those who are isolated in Bay Area institutions. 

Of the artists on this recording, a half-dozen are either current or former Bread & Roses performers who are mainly acoustic guitar and keyboard-based and sometimes have a variety of other accompaniment.  Their not-to-be-missed songs include Megan Slankard's  "Planets"; Jeff Campbell's "Southern"; Garrin Benfield's "Unbound"; Heather Combs "Time and Time Again"; Francesca Lee's "Maybe Today" and Valerie Orth's "Beyond This Song."   

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SPECIAL OFFER! Discount Tickets to Teatro ZinZanni with Joan Baez on Sun. July 31st!!

My how time flies when you are having fun! Teatro ZinZanni is offering the Bread & Roses community a special ticket price for their current show: Maestro's Enchantment on Sunday, July 31st.

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