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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.

Bread & Roses Presents 2015 – Enhanced Name For Our Fifth Decade & Going Strong!

Executive Director Dave Perron, at the helm since December, reports that “Bread & Roses is going strong.”


New Enhanced Name

web300x300logoTo kick off this year in style, we have a new enhanced name “Bread & Roses Presents” and a new logo to better communicate our timeless mission of bringing hope and healing through live music and performances to isolated people in Bay Area institutions. Thanks to designer Nancy Chan, we now have more contemporary graphics and a new brighter color with images of some of our audiences.

Our ongoing program is vibrant with over 600 shows presented last year. We have ongoing relationships with over 120 different institutions serving youth, adults and seniors in eight counties around the Bay Area.


New Institutional Audiences in 2014

New institutional audiences added in 2014 include the Community Living Center of the Veterans Hospital in Livermore, a residential convalescent facility for senior veterans, as well as A Friendly Manor, a drop-in shelter for adult homeless women in Oakland. We also started serving the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto, a residential facility for children needing long-term medical treatment, and their families.


New Volunteers Perform A Record Number of Shows

Thanks to all our performers, the backbone of our organization, with almost 800 individuals, as well as those in groups volunteering in 2014. New volunteers performed a record 170 shows last year for Bread & Roses Presents. Some of our new performers like Tim Andres, Circus of Smiles, Tim Harris, Beth Marlin, Gary LaPow and Spike Sikes, perform monthly shows for diverse audiences at a wide range of facility types throughout the Bay Area.

Some exciting new performers include Greg Dana and his musical puppets from Japan who recently did shows at Timothy Murphy School and the North Bay Children’s Center in Marin and the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble who will play at Laguna Honda Hospital in SF in May.

Volunteers host over fifty percent of our annual shows and help us to greatly extend our reach. We work hard to recruit new volunteers and appreciate your referrals.


Staff Changes at Bread & Roses

EBforWebCongratulations Elissa Burke for being promoted to Director of Development. Alameda resident Miles Karp has also recently joined us as Development/Events Associate. Ann Huseman from San Rafael has also joined our staff as Business Manager. Farewell to former Development Director Susan Gordon and Business Manager Janet Lewis. We thank them for their years of service and wish them well in their new endeavors.


Ann Huseman & Miles Karp, Photos by Peter Merts

Stay tuned for lots of exciting fundraising events in the pipeline to sustain our organization for the years to come. Our upcoming benefit At The Crossroads on Wed. May 13 will be our first time at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. Rhythm Village and Tea Leaf Green will headline a really great night of live music with a special guest performance by Joan Baez. We hope you will join us!


“Raise Money, Get Younger and Get Famous”

Our goal is to make our organization more widely known, recruit the next generations to join us and find new and innovative ways to raise the funds to make it all happen. It will take a tribe to maintain our momentum and to move forward to serve more audiences in our fifth decade. Let us know if you have ideas or want to get involved. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for all your unwavering support and belief in our mission to make Bread & Roses Presents an even more extraordinary organization. With your continued help, we can make our founder Mimi Fariña’s vision a thriving force in the Bay Area for years to come, and one that will continue to be emulated by others...throughout the country and beyond.



Bread & Roses Presents Logo Design by Nancy Chan

Elissa Burke Photo by Peter Merts

Post by Marian Hubler

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Welcome Reception for Dave Perron at Seager Gray Gallery - February 5, 2015


Thanks to Donna Seager and Suzanne Gray of the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley for providing a beautiful space to welcome Bread & Roses Presents Executive Director Dave Perron.

A lively mix of long-time supporters and new friends came together to meet and mingle amid contemporary pieces of world-class art in the latest exhibition "Material Matters." Volunteer performer Teja Gerken played entrancing acoustic finger-style guitar, adding the perfect ambience to the event.

Board Chair Elect Stacy Nelson welcomed everyone and introduced Dave who was there with wife Hilary Black. Stacy contributed over 350 hours of pro bono time to manage our executive transition in late 2014.

Dave said "I am honored to lead the dedicated team at Bread & Roses Presents and hope everyone has a chance to experience first-hand the healing power of an institutional show for those who are isolated and need music most. "

While enjoying delicious hors d'oeuvres provided by Robin Scott Catering, former financial manager Martha Fleischman & husband Roger got to meet newcomers like Marcus & Cecily Stock.

Volunteer performers Michael Hatfield and Barbara Kessel chatted with Vice President of Programs Carolyn Gauthier. Board member Suzanne Badenhoop and husband Guy Lampard brought Elizabeth and Howard Jaffe, parents of volunteer performer Matt Jaffe, a contemporary songwriter and band-leader.

Development Director Susan Gordon traded notes with communications ace Jay Silverberg. Board members Paul Kirincic, Cathy Less, Philip Pillsbury (with wife Cynthia), Michael McElligott and Raj Gopal of Bank of the West greeted old friends and welcomed new supporters. New volunteer show host Larry Seidman was there with wife Patti DiVella

Joe O'Hehir of Whistlestop extended appreciation for the music Bread & Roses Presents brings to its monthly lunch programs for low-income seniors in San Rafael. Long-time Ambassador Michael Pritchard made everyone smile with his heartfelt stories of motivational programs he has given for some of our youth audiences.

The evening was the perfect kick-off for our fifth decade of bringing hope and healing through live music to isolated people around the Bay Area – over 600 shows annually. Here's to a dynamic year of finding new and innovative ways to raise funds, cultivate younger volunteers and spread the word about the good work of "Bread & Roses Presents." It takes a tribe to uplift spirits and we are grateful to all our supporters.


Post by Marian Hubler

Slide show by Carrie Sownie

Photos by Peter Merts, Courtesy of Bread & Roses Presents 

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Excellence in Leadership Award Presented to Cassandra Flipper at Heart of Marin Awards


A huge congratulations to Cassandra Flipper, former Bread & Roses executive director, the winner of the "Excellence in Leadership Award" at the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL)'s 22nd Annual 2014 Heart of Marin Awards Ceremony at the Marin Civic Center on Thursday January 8, 2015. Marin's vibrant nonprofit community was represented with over eight hundred attendees from a wide spectrum of organizations.  

Tom Peters of the Marin Community Foundation presented the award to Cassandra Flipper as the executive director who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and whose vision has inspired meaningful and lasting change benefiting Bread & Roses and the community. Bread & Roses also received a $5,000 donation from CVNL thanks to the Marin Community Foundation's sponsorship of the award.

Bread & Roses sponsored a table at the luncheon to celebrate Cassandra and our other volunteers who were nominated. Stacy Nelson, at the luncheon with husband Mark Nelson, was a nominee for the "Excellence in Board Leadership" category. Stacy served as search consultant for hiring Bread & Roses's new Executive Director Dave Perron and donated over 350 hours to successfully complete the search process.

Performer Beth Marlin, attending with husband George Lichter, was also a nominee for "Volunteer of the Year" by Bread & Roses. As a musician, Beth has presented concerts for diverse audiences including preschoolers and teens, adults and seniors. Beth also stepped up as a donor after giving the proceeds from a special benefit concert in San Francisco last year to our organization.

Long-time Bread & Roses volunteer and supporter Michael Pritchard, an inspiring motivational speaker, emceed the ceremony honoring 128 volunteers who received awards in different categories. For more information, see the Marin Independent Journal's article (January 9, 2015) in the Local News section "Heart of Marin: Volunteers Celebrated at Awards Ceremony."


Thanks to our entire tribe of committed volunteers and supporters who help us sustain our program each year. With your continued help, we are proud to be kicking off our fifth decade of hope and healing through live music for our neighbors who need it most -- over 600 shows each year for diverse audiences who are isolated throughout the Bay Area. 

To volunteer, click here. To contribute financial support for our cogoing program, donate here


Top Caption: (l-r) Stacy Nelson, Cassandra Flipper and Beth Marlin Celebrate After the Awards Ceremony - Photo by Marian Hubler

Bottom Caption: (l-r) Dave Perron, Stacy Nelson, Cassandra Flipper, Mark Nelson, Susan Gordon, Beth Marlin, George Lichter, Marian Hubler and Suzanne Badenhoop. (Not pictured Carolyn Gauthier)

Photos Courtesy of Bread & Roses
Post by Marian Hubler

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A Taste of Boz Scaggs - Fall Benefit at Great American Music Hall Nov. 24

Thanks for making our November 24 Fall Benefit a great success!


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This sold-out celebration honoring outgoing Executive Director Cassandra Flipper was a memorable milestone. Longtime B&R supporter and music legend Boz Scaggs and his band dazzled, with everyone dancing in the aisles. We appreciate your enthusiasm, generosity and dedication to our mission.   


It’s because of friends like you that B&R is heading into its fifth decade of presenting the healing power of live music to our neighbors most in need.

Photo Collage smaller 

Photos by Ken Friedman, Courtesty of Bread & Roses

Video by Lauren Arrow, Courtesy of Bread & Roses



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Dave Perron Appointed Executive Director at Bread & Roses

web DaveThe Bread & Roses Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dave Perron as the new Executive Director of its agency.  A visionary leader, proven fundraiser and innovative thinker, Perron will head Bread & Roses during its fifth decade of bringing hope and healing through live music to isolated audiences in the Bay Area.

A former Bread & Roses board member and Kentfield resident, Perron worked with our founder the late Mimi Fariña in the early 90's. “When Mimi started Bread & Roses in 1974, she was creative, innovative and courageous in her vision for the organization. I intend to continue her great legacy with the same enthusiasm and unwavering purpose," he said.

He follows outgoing Executive Director Cassandra Flipper whose stellar leadership guided the agency for the past 14 years. She will continue her association with Bread & Roses as a member of its Circle of Advisors.    

Perron worked for some heavy hitters in the past. He is a former Vice President of the Oakland A’s where he was Director of Public Affairs & Community Relations and Executive Director of its Community Fund under President Walter Haas for eleven years. Said Haas, “I have nearly a thirty-year history with Dave as it pertains to charitable organizations. Under his new leadership, I know the Bread & Roses community is getting a proven veteran.”

As Vice President of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Perron was instrumental in building partnerships with professional athletes and sponsors including a program that grew to $11.8 million in one month at Safeway checkout stands. Legendary manager and Hall of Famer Tony La Russa said, “I have worked with Dave and he has been my good friend for many years. His passion, commitment, creativity and experience have been the defining elements in his work in the philanthropic world.”

Perron most recently served as a consultant for various organizations including Not For Sale, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting people from human trafficking. He has also worked with musicians including his stepson, Jeff Austin Black, whom he helped sell over 85,000 CDs.  

In addition to Bread & Roses, Perron has served as an advisor on a number of nonprofit boards including Reggie Jackson’s Mr. October Foundation For KidsPete Carroll’s A Better LA and San Domenico School. He also volunteered for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Marin for twelve years.

Bread & Roses Board Member Stacy Nelson has donated her time and the resources of her executive search firm Stacy Nelson and Associates, LLC, to facilitate the appointment of Perron. Of his appointment, she said “Dave Perron is a creative entrepreneur who can lift the organization to a new level. He will provide great vision, new energy and expertise to support and sustain the mission of Bread & Roses.”  

Founded in 1974, Bread & Roses uplifts the human spirit by providing hope, healing and joy through live music in over 600 annual programs around the San Francisco Bay Area for people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society.

Inspired by a 1912 poem by James OppenheimMimi Fariña selected "Bread & Roses" to convey the spirit of the nonprofit she founded in 1974 to bring the healing power of music and other live art to institutionalized children, teens, adults and elders. Over the years, Bread & Roses has received awards for its community impact and its overall effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, other organizations around the country have been inspired by its mission to start similar programs. To volunteer or make a donation, visit

Follow Dave on Twitter at @DPerronBandR


Post by Marian Hubler.

For media inquiries, call (415) 945-7127 ext. 109 or email

Photo by Ken Friedman, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

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Tribute to Cassandra Flipper at the Great American Music Hall

 Cassandra Flipper was celebrated as guest of honor at a benefit event on Mon. November 24 at the Great American Music Hall. This special evening featured an outstanding concert presented by Boz Scaggs and his wonderful band.  

Executive Director Cassandra Flipper's stellar leadership guided the agency for the past 14 years. She will continue her association with Bread & Roses as a member of its Circle of Advisors. Dave Perron was appointed executive director as of Dec. 1. 

The evening at the music hall featured a special tribute to Cassandra from Noah Griffin, Susan Gilardi and Sudha Pennathur who all spoke of Cassandra's stellar accomplishments and stewardship of Bread & Roses. We wish her well in her future endeaors and know she will continue to shine. 

The video above was shared during the tribute. We hope you enjoy this retrospective of photos taken during Cassandra's time at Bread & Roses, as well as the many photos of our instituional programs through the years.  


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Please share your reminiscences of Cassandra in the comments section below. 

Video Producer: Lauren Arrow
Consulting Editor: Marian Hubler
Music by Mimi and Richard Fariña
Narration by Cassandra Flipper



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Folk Alliance Far West Testimonials Honoring Bread & Roses Ambassador Cassandra Flipper

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 At the Folk Alliance FAR-West Conference Awards luncheon on Sat. Oct. 17 at the Oakland Marriott, Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper was honored as its 2014 Ambassador. Here are the testimonials from long-time Bread & Roses performers and supporters Joan Baez, Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, Roy Rogers and Maria Muldaur that were read by event organizer extraordinaire Chappell Holt. Along with the introduction that was given by Elaine Dempsey, you can also see the video link of the awards ceremony, including a live rendition of the Bread & Roses song at the end.




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Congratulations to you, Cassandra, on receiving the FAR- West Ambassador of the Year Award. The dedicated work you have done with Bread & Roses over these past 14 years has kept Mimi's vision - her legacy - alive and well. Untold numbers of institutionalized and isolated people have had their hearts and souls soothed, refreshed, and invigorated by the talented performers of Bread & Roses. This could not have been possible without your guidance and commitment to carrying on Mimi's dream.

"Hearts starve as well as bodies / Give us bread, but give us roses."

Please accept this print of my painting of Mimi with my love and thanks, and Congratulations on this deserved Ambassador of the Year honor!

Joan Baez

CassElaineFarWestJohnJacob web

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I met Cassandra at the end of the 90's when I was doing some shows for Bread & Roses when Mimi was still with us.

I've always thought that music was a great healer and method of communication which is why I support Bread & Roses. The premise that bringing all forms of entertainment to folks who are unable to get out and experience comedy, music, poetry, etc., is a gift that's hard to put a value on, and one of the more touching and rewarding things artists in the entertainment industry can do to give back to the community.

This organization was started with that in mind, and has served so many over the years, from nursing homes and rehab centers, to those who are incarcerated in penal institutions. The organizing with these places and recruiting artists for the shows isn't an easy task, and requires so much time and effort from the people who run Bread & Roses. This goes largely unrewarded except in the inner circles of the organization.

When Mimi Farina left us, Cassandra Flipper picked up the torch and took on the responsibilities of the day to day, as well as overseeing the projects that constitute what Bread & Roses stands for. As an artist who has worked both at the shows for the main recipients of this organization's services, and also to help raise money to help it continue, I'd like to personally thank Cassandra for her years of service and hard work in keeping the original platform, that is Bread & Roses, running smoothly and continuing to serve those it most benefits in the community.

I can't think of anyone more deserving of the 2014 Ambassador of the Year Award!
Please accept my thanks and warm wishes for all you've done, Cassandra, and may your future endeavors be as rewarding as I know working with Bread & Roses has been.


Tom Johnston

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I am honored to contribute to the proceedings.

It has been my great pleasure to work with Cassandra over the years. Bread & Roses has had its continued success in large part due to her dedication and tireless efforts. She is most deserving of the acknowledgment that she has helped make the world a better place and for so many people.

My sincere congratulations to someone who, I am sure, will continue to make a difference in whatever she chooses.

Roy Rogers

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I want to congratulate Cassandra Flipper on the occasion of her retirement from Bread & Roses.

I most gratefully appreciate how she stayed true to the original vision and spiritual intention Mimi Farina had when she first created this wonderful organization, while at the same time, navigating and accomplishing the challenging task of keeping Bread & Roses functioning, financially solvent, and, amazingly, expanding its capacity for outreach and service to those in need.

Along with Mimi, Cassandra has been the "face" of Bread & Roses for so many years, she will be sorely missed!

She has worked tirelessly for many years to bring joy and enjoyment to so many. I sincerely hope that retirement will bring her much deserved opportunities to relax and embark on new and wonderful adventures!!

With much Love & Appreciation,

Maria Muldaur

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I want to write a song like Bono's "One" – a well-crafted, powerful message with perfect simplicity and one would think "what more could be done?" And then Mary J Blige comes along and gives this amazing song, new wings. India Arie did it with Don Henley's "Heart of the Matter" and Aretha did it with Otis Redding's "Respect". Eva Cassidy did this "Time after Time". The list goes on. These are artists who know to take something already special, pouring their heart, soul, creativity and brilliance into every note so the song and its message live on, sometimes stronger than its first release.

Like Bono, like Henley, and like Otis – Mimi Fariña made the world a better place with a well-crafted and powerful concept that she grew with perfect simplicity into an elegant human service organization. One would think "what more could be done?"

Like Mary J, like Aretha, like Eva, Cassandra Flipper came along and took something already special, poured her heart and soul into it, and then, with her creative genius and brilliance, continued Mimi's original mission and gave it new wings.

From Mimi's vision, Bread and Roses has long dedicated itself to uplifting the human spirit by bringing live entertainment to those who live in institutions or are similarly isolated. With Cassandra's vision, community relationships in and around Bread and Roses were strengthened and this already special organization developed life-sustaining income streams and was transformed from a founder-run to a sustainable non-profit organization.

Just as Bread and Roses was already special when Cassandra arrived bringing the magic of her leadership, Cassandra was already special before she took that helm.

A child of college professors Carl and Maurine Flipper, she was raised in a family that helped her behold her place in the world as an agent of social justice. Cassandra marched on Washington with Dr. King, she served as an intern in Kennedy's White House and in the Peace Corps. Graduating with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, Cassandra found her point of intervention as an attorney dedicating her career to what is just, what is right, what brings peace, and what brings communities together to make this world a better place.

Cassandra is consistently authentic in her make-the-world-a-better-place spirit and she believes in the power of people working together to get it her work, in the community, in her church, in the arts, in her family, and among her friends, Cassandra brings people together to make the world a better place.

Cassandra Flipper is many things to many people. She is mother to her son Carl and daughter, Karen, she is Nana to four adorable grandchildren. She was a dedicated daughter during her parents living years. Cassandra IS my very dear and wonderful friend, my movie buddy, my St. Louis Cardinals – but-still-love-the-Giants sports pal, my 'let's fix the world' news-junkie companion" and one who will show up when a friend is in crisis until it feels manageable and less lonely.

Cassandra and I have been friends for a very long time and we have much in common
• She was admitted to both the Missouri and California bars
 -  I have played in many of the bars in both Missouri and California.
• Her first position was with the Department of Justice
 - I have many friends who have been positioned by the Department of Justice,
in fact they are probably still there – right now.

Cassandra's contribution to the arts extends beyond her role as the Executive Director of Bread & Roses. She has supported singers, songwriters, and musicians throughout the years. And she shows up. She connects people in the arts with people who appreciate the arts and artists. Her respect-and-reverence for the artists is even evident in the fact that Cassandra does not leave a movie theater until the last credit has rolled. Her respect and honor for artists and their crafts is as basic as bread and as lovely as roses. Cassandra is what an Ambassador of the Arts looks like.


View the video of Cassandra's 2014 Ambassador Award at the FAR-West Awards Ceremony HERE:


Video of FAR-West Awards Ceremony for Bread & Roses 2014 Ambassador Cassandra Flipper, October 17, 2014 Oakland Marriott. Video by Gary Lynch, Courtesy of Far West 

Photo Captions:

1) Cassandra Flipper with her FAR-West Award

2) Elaine Dempsey gives tribute to Cassandra at FAR-West for her Ambassador Award. Cassandra is holding her gift a painting of Mimi Fariña by Joan Baez.

Photos by John Jacob

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It's All About Building Relationships: A Salute to Whistlestop

As we wind up our 40th year at Bread & Roses, it's a good time to reflect upon the importance of the partnerships with the facilities we serve. Longevity of service is one of the hallmarks of our organization. Looking back at our first published newsletter in 1976, we see that we have been consistently serving a number of facilities through the years.

"It's all about building relationships," Program Director Carolyn Gauthier recently noted. "Knowing the staff and residents of facilities for a long period of time strengthens our connection. Some programs that we have served since the 70s include San Rafael Healthcare & Wellness Center (formerly Fifth Avenue Convalescent), Center Point, SF Juvenile Hall, Marin County Juvenile Hall, The Tamalpais, The Cedars, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Marin Convalescent, Napa State Hospital, SF County Jail, SF General Hospital, The Redwoods and Langley Porter.”

The facilities we serve are truly our collaborative partners in the healing work that we do. They help us set the stage for live performances, and they help educate others in the community about the hope and joy their clients receive as the result of experiencing live music. Now in its 60th year, Whistlestop is a great example of an organization with whom we have worked as a collaborative partner for the past decade.

Carolyn Gauthier produces concerts for Bread & Roses at this facility and recently said “We have a special relationship with Whistlestop and bring free live entertainment to several of the venues where their clients are served. Hundreds of seniors come daily to the Jackson Café to eat a delicious reasonably priced lunch prepared by the Homeward Bound of Marin's Fresh Starts Culinary AcademyEvery year in December Bread & Roses brings The Christmas Jug Band in to spread holiday cheer to the folks at the cafe. It's a high point of the Whistlestop year. We continue the tradition next month on Thurs. Dec.11 at noon if anyone would like to join us.”

Diana Gruhl, program manager for Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center, said “On behalf of Whistlestop, I want to sing your praises, and thank Bread & Roses for bringing exceptional quality entertainment to our guests and members for free practically every month in our Jackson Café. I have worked in many venues throughout California that have provided programs for seniors, and I have never come across such a dedicated and talented organization such as yours that provides the gift of music to those who need it most.”

John Bowman did a profile on long-time Bread & Roses volunteer performer Si Perkoff in the October Whistlestop Express Newsletter. He reported that Si has performed at Whistlestop’s Jackson Café “too many times to count.” In his article he wrote, “Si has played with Bread & Roses for more than 20 years… In addition to playing the piano, he also enjoys talking to audiences during performances.” In the article, Si said “The mission of Bread & Roses is to entertain folks who might be in wheelchairs, people who cannot get out much, and are often isolated. So it is enjoyable to talk to them about the tunes.”

We create the container for hope,healing and joy by bringing musicians to play for audiences in places like Whistlestop where all can celebrate together with the music. On Sept. 28, Whistelstop celebrated its 60th anniversary in great style at Rancho Nicasio at a benefit event called “Whistlestock” with some long-time Marin County rock’n’roll musicians and bands.


Executive Director Cassandra Flipper attended “Whistlestock” as a guest of Susan & Dennis Gliardi. She said “Whistlestop’s celebration of its longevity with these wonderful Marin bands was a great reminder of the role of live music in the lives of Whistlestop's clients and the partnership with Bread & Roses." 

We look forward to seeing how we might deepen our relationships with all the facilities we serve. Let us know as we move forward if there are new ways to collaborate.



Post by Marian Hubler 

Cassandra Flipper at Whistlestock - Photo by Sierra Salin 

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Bread & Roses Licenses Rights to Song for the "Pride" Movie



Bread & Roses licensed the rights to the Bread & Roses song for the film called "Pride" now being shown in Bay Area theatres. The movie features a stirring version of the Bread & Roses song with lyrics by James Oppenheim and music by our founder, the late Mimi Fariña. Based on an inspirational true story, the film follows a group of gay activists in London: "Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners" who rally to support the rights of Welsh coal miners who went on strike in 1983 for better working conditions.  

In the film, Bread & Roses is sung first by talented Welsh vocalist Bronwen Lewis, who is joined in a moving rendition by the entire ensemble of miners and activists in the miners’ community hall. This scene alone demonstrates the timeless nature of the sentiment of the song for which our organization was named.

Bread & Roses Board member Paul Kirincic saw the film with his wife Mary Alice when they were recently visiting Northern Irelenad. "The song was so very moving," he said. "It was the first time I had seen it performed, either live or on film. The film’s use of the song was magical, with bread and roses being the perfect symbols for the story… The scene was one of the best parts of the movie and emphasized the struggle of the common man against the powerful forces aligned against the workers who need both physical and emotional strength. It literally took my breath away."

Our organization bought the intellectual property rights to the Mimi & Richard Fariña Song & Literary Catalogue from the estate of Mimi Fariña in 2002, and the licensing program is managed by The Rights Workshop in San Francisco. The most requested song in the catalog after Bread & Roses is Pack Up Your Sorrows co-written by Mimi’s sister Pauline Marden Bryan and Richard Fariña.

Singer-songwriter/guitarist Stevie Coyle recorded The Falcon, written by Richard Fariña, on his debut solo album Ten-In-One. He said "I’ve loved the song since I first heard it at the age of fourteen. It is a beautiful anti-war anthem with rhythmic guitar and stunning two-part harmonies. I don’t consider it quite old enough to be folk music, but it soon will be with its universal themes."

Listen when you can to the other Richard & Mimi Fariña songs, some of which are recorded on their "Best of Mimi & Richard Fariña" two-CD compilation set. Get in touch with the Rights Workshop if you’d like to record a new version of one of their time-honored classic songs.  Licensing fees benefit our ongoing program of bringing hope and healing through live music to those who need it most.  

A few of us had the chance to sing the Bread & Roses song at the Folk Alliance FAR-West conference luncheon honoring Cassandra Flipper as 2014 Ambassador of the Year. You can hear it performed on Sat. October 18 in Oakland HERE:



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(l-r) Elaine Dempsey, Marian Hubler, Dave & Chappell Holt, Victoria Blythe, Greg Beattie, Carolyn Gauthier and Cassandra Flipper sing the Bread & Roses song at the Folk Alliance FAR-West Awards ceremony.  Cassandra is holding a portrait of our founder, the late Mimi Fariña, by Joan Baez who painted it for Cassandra. Photo by Cloud Moss, Courtesy of Bread & Roses


As we go marching, marching in the beauty of the day

A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray

Are touched by all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses

For the people hear us singing: Bread & Roses, Bread & Roses.


First Verse of the Bread & Roses Poem by James Oppenheim, 1912

Music by Mimi Fariña

Post by Marian Hubler 

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"Pocket Full of Soul: The Harmonica Documentary" & Benefit Concert A Big Hit at the Lark Theater

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“The harmonica is in so many ways just like the human voice,” said Mark Hummel from the stage at the historic Lark Theater to over two hundred enthusiastic Bread & Roses supporters and harmonica playing fans. “I’ve been involved with the instrument for so long. It was really fun to see all the folks I've known and worked with up on the big screen.”

This special one-time benefit event was a collaboration between Bread & Roses and the Lark Theater featuring a screening of the definitive film “Pocket Full of Soul: The Harmonica Documentary” followed by a lively concert with harmonica ace Mark Hummel & Friends. 

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The Bay Area’s only harmonica band Tin Sandwich serenaded event-goers ahead of time with a combination of songs including Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder, Juke by Little Walter, Peg o’ My Heart a la The Harmonicats and their very own Tin Sandwich Blues. Band members Jamie Coventry, Riccardo La Spina, Deron Cavalletti and Scoty Velardo also had a fun jam on Duke Ellington’s Caravan with Winslow Yerxa, author of Harmonica for Dummies and President of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH).   

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The packed house enjoyed the film, narrated by Huey Lewis, whose idea it was to ask film producer Todd Slobin for permission to hold a special screening to benefit Bread & Roses. The film included interviews with harp players from all over the world including Bay Area legends Charlie Musselwhite and Mark Hummel. Mark’s band, with R. W. Grigsby on upright bass and Robert Sidwell on guitar, kicked off the concert by playing some of the songs from performers in the film.

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They started with a selection of John Lee " Sonny Boy" Williamson songs Shake Your Boogie and Lord O Lord, following with Tampa Red’s But I Forgive You, then two early songs by Little Walter, Just Keep Lovin’ Her and Can’t Hold Out Much Longer - When You Doing Alright.They wrapped up with a spirited version of the classic Summertime and a tribute to Big Walter Horton in Big Walter Boogie

 “With this concert, I was trying to demonstrate the harmonica styles of a few of the older masters who had the most sway with blues players over the past fifty years,” Mark Hummel said. 

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Many people had the chance to take harmonicas home thanks to Winslow Yerxa who donated Suzuki “Easy Riders” and Gizzy O'Toole of Hohner who donated“Blues Band” harps. Four lucky winners won raffle prizes including tickets to Berkeley Repertory Theater and dinner at Zut!; concert tickets and dinner at Terrapin Crossroads; concert tickets and a harmonica lesson provided by Mark Hummel as well as two-day passes to BR Cohn’s Fall Music Festival.

Thanks to volunteers Bradley Thomas and Elijah Morgan from the Marin Academy who helped with event logistics and assisted Bread & Roses Staff Carrie Sownie and volunteer Nancy Jensvold with the raffle.  We also appreciate the great job David Denny of David Denny Audio Consulting did with sound and Peter Merts of Peter Merts Photography with documenting the event.


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 We hope this will be the first of many successful events with Ellie Mednick and our friends at the Lark Theater. It was the perfect combination of an educational and entertaining film, with the music from the film brought to life in a very special concert. Proceeds benefit Bread & Roses ongoing concerts for people isolated in Bay Area institutions.   

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Do you play the harmonica? Tell us your favorite harmonica story and what song you most like to play.  

Post by Marian Hubler 

Photos by Peter Merts, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

Video Clips by Event Producer & Program Director Carolyn Gauthier 

Photo Captions (from top to bottom):

1.) Mark Hummel plays his harmonica at the benefit

2.) Tin Sandwich at the Lark Theater

3.) Winslow Yerxa (left) author of Harmonica for Dummies had a fun jam with Tin Sandwich

4.) (L-R) Robert Sidwell (guitar), Mark Hummel (harmonica), and R.W. Grigsby (stand-up bass) 

5.) Carolyn Gauthier announces raffle winners with Dakari

6.) Marin Academy volunteers Bradley Thomas and Elijah Morgan sell raffle tickets

7.) Bread & Roses Board Member Tom Silk gives a "thumbs up" to Tin Sandwich 

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Bread & Roses Serves LGBT Senior Community at San Francisco's Openhouse

San Francisco is known throughout the world as a place where lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people can live openly. It has become a mecca for those with alternative lifestyles to find an accepting home. This population often becomes isolated as the next, younger generation of people move into the city.

Openhouse is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that provides housing, direct services and community programs for LGBT seniors living in the Bay Area. They have regular gatherings of the community where these seniors and their caregivers can socialize, network and support each other.

David-Facer-ParadoxBread & Roses has been providing Openhouse with free, live entertainment since 2011. Various facilities allow the group to come together for meals and a fun afternoon. This partnership has allowed hundreds of LGBT seniors to enjoy performers like Phillip Percy Williams, Paradox MagicLinwood Project Community Chorus, The Mad Maggies, Garden Party, Magic Jeanne and more. 

Fairley Parson, community program manager at Openhouse, recently summed up the benefits that Bread & Roses programs have on their clients. "As thousands of LGBT seniors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area struggle with poverty and isolation, Bread & Roses helps ensure that all seniors can enjoy top rate entertainment in a safe and welcoming space. With the help of Bread & Roses, LGBT seniors are strengthening their community through music. They are singing along to old favorites, dancing together and stomping their feet in joy. Your impact on the LGBT community cannot be overstated."

It is gratifying to see the excitement generated by the shows we bring to these gatherings.  Bread & Roses is honored to be serving this unique isolated group of people in our community. 


Post by Program Director Carolyn Gauthier 


Photo Caption: David Facer of Paradox Magic entertains at Bread & Roses benefit in 2013. Photo by Ken Friedman. 


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Cassandra Flipper to be Honored as Folk Alliance FAR West "Best of the West" Ambassador on Sat. Oct. 18


We are pleased to announce that Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper will be honored as Folk Alliance's FAR West "Best of the West" Ambassador, along with legendary vocalist Barbara Dane, at a special awards luncheon at the Marriott Oakland City Center on Sat. October 18, 2014 as part of their western regional conference .  The 11th Annual FAR-West Music Conference will take place Oct. 16-19, 2014 in Oakland, CA and includes performer showcases, panels & workshops, the awards luncheon, a networking center exhibit hall, master classes as well as jamming and song circles.

About her upcoming award, Cassandra recently shared  "I am deeply honored to receive this year's FAR West Ambassador Award from the Folk Alliance.  Bread & Roses is fortunate to have so many acoustic-based musicians who volunteer every day throughout the year for people who are isolated in the greater Bay Area – performing their original songs as well as folk favorites.  For the past fourteen years, it has been a great joy to lead this humble organization that creates space for all of our performers to give their best gifts to those who need live music most."


Bread & Roses will have an additional presence at the conference as Board member Greg Beattie and Producer/Public Relations Manager Marian Hubler will participate in a "Music and Healing" panel at 9 am on Friday October 17, as part of the conference's educational offerings.  Bread & Roses will also have a table in the Networking Center from 2 to 5:30 on both Friday October 17 and Saturday October 18.  

Attendees at the conference meet people involved in folk and acoustic music from all over the West and learn how to build community, career and contacts while making and listening to acoustic-based music.  For more info on attending the conference, visit    


Folk Alliance Region-West (FAR-West)

Best of the West 2014

Legendary blues, jazz and folk artist Barbara Dane and Bread and Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper to receive FAR-West Best of the West honors.

FAR-West is pleased to announce the recipients of its Best of the West honorees for 2014. This year’s recipients are Barbara Dane and Cassandra Flipper.

The Best of the West awards were established by FAR-West in 2005 to honor individuals who have maintained an enduring presence in the folk and acoustic music scene in the West, and who continue to inspire others by embodying folk values and traditions. The awards will be presented at FAR-West’s conference in Oakland in October.

Barbara Dane has been known for decades as a legendary singer of blues, jazz and folk tunes and for her lifetime of political activism, which was often reflected in her music. Arriving in San Francisco in 1949 from her birthplace of Detroit, Barbara quickly became known as a great interpreter of blues and jazz and she worked with many of the biggest names in those genres throughout the 50s and 60s. Her collaborators included such luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Otis Spann and Willie Dixon, among many others, and she often appeared on television and radio shows hosted by the likes of Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen and even Alfred Hitchcock. Ms. Dane was always involved in political causes for peace and justice. Her activism increased in the tumultuous era of the 60s and 70s, as civil rights and anti-war sentiments came to the national forefront. This activism increasingly led her into the realm of folk music and she expanded her influence as a club owner, record label owner and producer of others' music. Barbara has remained an active part of the music world as well as a champion of social justice well into her 80s and continues to inspire new generations with her talent and activism.

Cassandra Flipper, after a long and successful law career, followed legendary founder Mimi Farina as Executive Director of Bread and Roses, a Marin County, California, non-profit organization that brings free, live, quality music and other live arts to people who are institutionalized or otherwise isolated from society. Bread and Roses puts on over 600 shows per year in more than 125 institutions in eight San Francisco Bay area counties, bringing hope, healing and wellness to a very under-served segment of society, while bringing a sense of community to its over 1400 volunteers. As she guides this honored organization through the new millennium, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Bread and Roses' 1974 founding by Mimi Farina, it is altogether fitting that Cassandra Flipper be honored by FAR-West.

Barbara Dane and Cassandra Flipper join previous Best of the West honorees:

2005: Lowen & Navarro; Howard & Roz Larman - Folkscene

2006: U.Utah Phillips; Steve Baker - Freight & Salvage
2007: Rosalie Sorrels; Clark & Elaine Weissman - CTMS (and Folk Alliance Founders)
2008: The Kingston Trio; Mike McCormick - Whistling Swan Productions
2009: Joe Craven; Faith Petric: Bob Stane - Ice House / Coffee Gallery
2010: John McEuen; Cloud Moss - Kate Wolf Memorial Festival
2011: Laurie Lewis; Phil and Vivian Williams
2012: Barry McGuire; Chris Strachwitz - Founder of Arhoolie Records

2013: Chris Hillman; Ed Pearl - The Ash Grove

There was no "Best of the West" award at the first annual FAR-West conference in 2004.

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Music Together in Marin Family Concerts with "Uncle Gerry" to Benefit Bread & Roses

b2ap3_thumbnail_UncleGerry_web.jpgOn Friday August 15 and Sunday August 17, Music Together in Marin will host two special concerts for families with children (up to age 8) with recording artist "Uncle Gerry" aka Gerry Dignan.

Music Together of Marin staff Beth Crespan will host the 4pm concert on Friday August 15 at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street in San Rafael. Sing-Dance-Play staff Elina Coulter will host the concert on Sunday, August 17 at the Homestead Valley Community Center, 315 Monford Avenue in Mill Valley. Tickets are available on a sliding scale of $5-10 per person or $20 per family. The concert is open to the public and proceeds will benefit Bread & Roses. For more info, visit:

Approximately one-third of Bread & Roses 600 annual programs are for children and youth in a variety of institutional settings throughout the Bay Area including day-care centers for low-income children, special needs schools and juvenile detention facilities.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Beth-Crespan_web.jpgBeth Crespan has performed for Bread & Roses as a musician for many of its children's audiences including the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children's Center, Bahia Centro Vida in Berkeley, St. Vincent's Day in Oakland, Canal Child Care in San Rafael, the Berkeley YMCA and North Bay Children's Center in Novato.

She began volunteering for Bread & Roses as a jazz vocalist back in the 80's, after performing for her grandmother in a convalescent home and seeing how much she enjoyed it. On a recent visit to our office in Corte Madera, she said "Music is close to my heart and I want to share it."

Music Together of Marin serves 250 families at three locations and offers group music and movement classes for families and children (infants, toddlers and preschoolers up to age 8.)

Let us know if you have ideas for other events to benefit Bread & Roses. You can also support us directly by donating here.

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New Board Members Revitalize Bread & Roses

We are happy to announce that three new members are joining the Bread & Roses board of directors: Greg Beattie of Veritas Corporate Law; Catherine Less of Baker Street Advisors; and Stacy Nelson of Stacy Nelson & Associates LLC. We are thrilled to have such talented individuals join us.

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For almost twenty years, Greg Beattie of Lafayette, CA, along with his wife the talented vocalist Victoria Blythe, has been a volunteer performer with his band Calaveras. Their moving song Ready to Fly was inspired by a story they heard while playing for a senior convalescent audience for Bread & Roses. In addition to being a talented songwriter and musician, Greg has a law degree from Harvard and a B.A. from Stanford. He is the co-founder of his own boutique law firm, Veritas Corporate Law in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA.

Catherine Less of San Rafael, CA has been a committed Bread & Roses supporter and major donor since 1988 who has attended many benefits through the years. She has performed for Bread & Roses institutional audiences with the Lighthouse Singers and has a B.A. in Music from U.C. Berkeley. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), who currently works as Vice President of Baker Street Advisors, a comprehensive investment firm in San Francisco, CA.

Stacy Nelson,also of San Rafael, CA, is an executive recruiter and human resources consultant with her own company Stacy Nelson and Associates, LLC.  She has been a longtime supporter and champion of Bread & Roses with her husband (and prior board member) Mark Nelson, and son Aidan Nelson, a guitarist and volunteer performer. She was a key member of our 2014 Spring Benefit planning committee and has started a Youth Advisory Council for Bread & Roses at the Marin Academy. She has a degree from George Mason University in Washington. D.C., and is also a trustee at Saint Mark’s School.

Bread & Roses also wishes to acknowledge the hard work and committed service of outgoing board members Jim Callahan of Piedmont Piano Co., Patricia Dedekian of Calliope Consulting and Jocelyn Kane of the SF Entertainment Commission. Their many contributions helped to sustain our organization and they will be missed.


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Honoring Our Veterans: Music on Memorial Day at the Menlo Park VA

We all know someone who is a veteran – a family member, a friend, a relative of a colleague, a son or daughter of a neighbor. So many sacrifices have been made for our freedom.

As I drove down to Menlo Park on Memorial Day, I could not think of a more appropriate place to be than the Veterans Hospital. I thought about my grandfather Colonel Robert L. Hubler who served in the trenches of WWI and my Uncle Paul Carey who was a disabled Korean War veteran.

It was a beautiful outdoor setting at the brand new Welcome Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. We had older veterans from the convalescent hospital at their Community Living Center along with veterans from their Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program, a Western Blind Rehabilitation Center, and First Steps of Recovery, a substance abuse treatment program. Some veterans had family members and/or caregivers in attendance as well. 


Our performers Nancy Colman & Friends did a well-received set with a variety of songs from vintage jazz to Spanish classics to The Byrds to Kate Wolf. Nancy plays guitar and sings with her husband Alex Reisman on stand-up bass. They invited another couple to perform their first Bread & Roses show with them adding backup guitar and vocal harmonies.

I noticed a gentleman smiling broadly during the entire concert. He was playing percussion during every song on the handlebars of his motorized wheelchair. He told me he was a Marine in Vietnam and a drummer.    

He said, “I know you are here to thank us for our service. But I want to thank you for the joy you brought us today through the music. I am going to be released next week to begin my life again on the outside. They tell us we should think about what we want to do to give back. I would like to start a drum circle here, one for the men, and an integrated one for men and women. Do you know of anyone who might be able to help?” I was touched by his response and said I would send him some referrals. 

On the night before, the National Memorial Day Concert on the mall in Washington DC was broadcast in the Bay Area on KQED. Amidst well-chosen songs, the producers did a masterful job of integrating film footage of veterans’ experiences during WWII, and the conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

They showed scenes of our troops landing on the beach at Normandy and included testimonials from some of the survivors. They showed casualties in Vietnam during the war and had our veterans speak of the challenges there. They followed GI’s on patrol in the high deserts of Afghanistan as they searched for insurgents. A vet with four prostheses spoke eloquently about the dangers of serving in the military and the lasting impact upon the troops. Most said they would go back to serve again if they had the chance for they were bonded forever with their fellow troops and cared so much about their mission.

What an honor it is to give back to those who care so much about defending the freedoms of every American.


Post & Photo by Marian Hubler


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Interactive Clown Workshop at Oakland's 24-Hour Childcare with Circus of Smiles

We are making a special effort to bring more interactive programs to audiences across the board, especially to children and youth. Many talented performers excel at putting music and stories together in an interactive way with magic, movement, puppets, juggling and other performance art. 

Thanks to storyteller Kirk Waller; children's musicians Beth CrespanMadeleine KingGary LapowSpike SikesMiss KittyJoni de Gabriele; magicians Dan RaspyniDavid Facer, Frank Olivier; and so many others who are contributing to this effort. 

Recent efforts include a wonderful clown workshop with much audience participation by Circus of Smiles at 24-Hour Childcare in Oakland


Host Barb Withers reports: “At first, the 30 young children quietly sat cross-legged on the carpeted floor with anticipation in front of the two clowns - Paula Greenspan and Tyler Parks - who are known as Circus of Smiles.

They began their show with a hysterical juggling act with Tyler wearing a fake mustache. He and Paula tried to "wake" each other up, each time unsuccessful, and were met with peals of laughter from the children. Tyler noted while juggling that it was tickling his mustache and the kids giggled along. Juggling, tumbling and physical comedy reigned in the room, much to the delight of the children and their teachers. Giggling, bashful volunteers loved being part of the act and many eager hands shot up when the call for volunteers went out.

The show was a seamless fest of smiles and at the end Circus of Smiles admonished all the kids to "give yourselves a pat on the back." They gave each other pats on the back that cause the kids to dissolve into further laughter. The show caused 30 kids to stop for 45 minutes and just enjoy being light-hearted. Circus of Smiles provided the best medicine for all of us attending this fun show!”

The children at this daycare center for low-income families in Oakland would not have access to this kind of positive interaction without the generosity of Bread & Roses volunteers and supporters.  Your donations and performer referrals (for interactive performers in particular) are needed to sustain our program.  Get more info and fill out a volunteer application here.

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Spectacular 40th Anniversary Benefit A Great Success

 Bread & Roses hosted a sold-out and spectacularly successful 40th Anniversary fundraising event on Saturday March 1, 2014 at the Marin Center and Showcase Theatre.Transformed with twinkling lights and a stunning red and black décor, The Exhibit Hall was a fitting venue for the 280 guests who came to celebrate our legacy of four decades of live music for our neighbors in need who are isolated in the Bay Area.

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Noah Griffin and Phillip Percy Williams Present Black History Month Programs

Bread & Roses is often asked by the facilities we serve for special programs to help celebrate the landmark events of each season. In February of this year, Noah Griffin and Phillip Percy Williams (with Si Perkoff on piano) presented outstanding programs on behalf of Bread & Roses for Black History Month at the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron, CA and at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae.

Noah_GriffinNoah Griffin, a vocalist and recent founder of The Cole Porter Society, is also a historian who has a wealth of knowledge about black people who are important to history in the United States. On February 15, 2014, he captivated his audience of a hundred teen-age boys by starting out with stories about some of the well-known and inspirational athletes like Jackie Robinson in baseball and Arthur Ashe in tennis. 

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Farewell to Long-time Performers John chase Lewis and Phyllis Marcus

We are continually reminded of all the performers who have done shows for Bread & Roses through the decades, especially those who are no longer with us.


Like piano and bass player the late John Chase Lewis who did hundreds of Bread & Roses shows for seniors and cheerfully accompanied many different vocalists through the years. John loved the joy of collaboration with other artists as well and played with many musicians for Bread & Roses including vocalists Joan Getz, Daria and Kat Fitzgerald, violinist Yehudit, jazz pianist Si Perkoff and the late Dr. Bill Pemberton and James Jenkins.

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40th Anniversary Benefit To Sustain Bread & Roses Into the Future



Bread & Roses 40th Anniversary Benefit Celebration & Concert will be held on Saturday March 1st at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall and intimate Showcase Theatre in San Rafael at 5:30 pm.  This annual fundraising event, an important part of sustaining our program into the future,  will feature a once-in-a-lifetime concert with "Explorer of the Musical Universe" Bobby McFerrin backed by members of The Yellowjackets and the imaginative a cappella ensemble SoVoSó.

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