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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.

Brotherhood for Bread & Roses: The Legendary Mighty O’Town Passions at Crossroads in Oakland

As the name implies, The Legendary Mighty O’Town Passions are a musical force to be reckoned with. More than a performing group, they are a musical ministry for good. They take their uplifting songs to the streets, to the stage and to the shelters – as they did for Bread & Roses Presents on February 16, 2017.

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The residents at Crossroads East Oakland Community Project, a homeless shelter for diverse adults, slowly filled the room as the group started singing. They were weary from their day and might have preferred to go to sleep rather than to a mandatory Life Skills meeting. They were quite pleasantly surprised to see four dapperly dressed gentlemen and to hear some great old school and new tunes.

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An Inspiring Night at “Thanks & Giving” Fall Benefit Concert at Delancey Street

There’s no question people have been pre-occupied for a long time by the presidential campaign and recent election. A big cheer to all those who came out to join us for our “Thanks & Giving” Fall benefit concert on Fri. Nov. 18 at Delancey Street Foundation in SF, an isolated audience served by Bread & Roses Presents since 1995.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of live music in a beautiful venue like Delancey Street’s Town Hall with its cathedral-like wooden-beamed ceiling and cozy ambiance with white lamps and tall candles. Rental income from various venues at their San Francisco facility, including Town Hall, helps support the friendly and professional Delancey Street servers and event staff who work hard while in their recovery program.

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Performers Create Community for Bread & Roses Isolated Audiences

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Mickey Hart, best known as the drummer for the Grateful Dead and a member of our Circle of Advisors, talks about the rhythm of music that connects us all in a common heartbeat. At Bread & Roses Presents, we are fortunate to witness on a daily basis the transformative power of music and the performing arts to bring diverse audiences together in a communal experience. Wiley and Debbie Rankin of Jump for Joy Music, Ross Commons and Gail Muldrow are among the many performers who create community for Bread & Roses isolated audiences in a variety of ways.

Jump for Joy Music Offers Respite

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Collaboration With Salesforce & "Pass the Music" Bring Our Mission To Their Creative Team

At their impressive headquarters in downtown San Francisco, Bread & Roses Presents was invited to “pass the music” at Salesforce on September 22 to educate their creative team about our mission. J.D. Swartz from Salesforce shared that it was a welcome break from intensive planning for their Dreamforce conference held every year in early October.

He introduced Bread & Roses Executive Director Dave Perron who gave an update about our organization and noted that today’s performer Megan Slankard is one of over 1,000 volunteers who help bring music in over 600 annual concerts around the Bay Area to audiences of children, adults and seniors who are isolated.

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Congratulations to the 2016 Winners of the “Oh Say, Can You Sing” Contests

Bread & Roses Presents is thrilled by the participation in our second annual “Oh Say, Can You Sing” contests for both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s. Congratulations to winners MUSAIC for the Giants and Cathryn Flores for the Oakland A’s. Second-place winners Susan Zelinsky and Felicia Foster each won five hours of recording time at Fantasy Studios. A number of our volunteers and new supporters participated in the contest and nearly $20,000 was raised. A special thanks to our friends at the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, Nelson and Salesforce for sponsoring and promoting this year’s contest.

 

First Place Winners for the Anthem Contests

On September 29, 2016, San Francisco men’s a cappella ensemble MUSAIC sang the national anthem at the SF Giants game. Under the direction of Linda Noble Brown, the men sang The Star Spangled Banner specially arranged for MUSIAC by Bret Silverman. They were cheered on by their tribe of friends and family from the stands as well as over 41,000 Giants fans.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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New Performers Move Bread & Roses Forward Through Forty Years of Shows

sofiHow do we keep it real, fresh and upbeat? Through the generosity of a new wave of emerging artists who are joining the hundreds of volunteers who are the backbone of our program and who have been a huge boost for our youth audiences in particular.

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Bobby McFerrin's Joyous Improvisational Singing To Highlight Upcoming Benefit

 

bobby_mcI think we listen to music because we want to be changed. Music is not solely for our entertainment. Music has such tremendous power to bring joy. To me, that’s our job as artists. Not happiness, not a groove, whatever. You must bring joy. I think that’s the assignment. I have no doubt about it.”Bobby McFerrin

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Remembering Pete Seeger, True Friend to Bread & Roses

 

Pete Seeger, beloved singer, songwriter and activist, was an inspiration in the way he performed folk music to support the causes in which he deeply believed. A true friend to Bread & Roses, he performed with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger at Bread & Roses 25th Anniversary Benefit with Mimi Fariña at the SF Opera House in 2000.

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Wishing Her Well: Joan Baez, Sr. Joins the Heavenly Band

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Joan Chandos Baez Senior passed away shortly after her 100th birthday party on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11:40 PM in her home in Woodside, California.

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Huey Lewis Wins ProAm Golf Event; Bread & Roses Is Charity of Choice

Longtime Bread & Roses supporter and performer Huey Lewis played a great game of golf during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Celebrity Challenge and won $10,000 for Bread & Roses! Huey and his golf partner Jake Owens "rolled in an arching 40-footer on the 18th green on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 to win a 12-man 'chip-off and earned $20,000 for two charities of choice in the biggest moment of the five-hole celebrity tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links" according to the Monterey Herald.

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From left: Charles Kelley, Jake Owen, Huey Lewis and Ray Romano sing "America, the Beautiful" after finishing the $100,000 celebrity charity shoot-out golf match at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Pebble Beach, Calif. on Wed, Feb. 6, 2013. (LiPo Ching/Mercury News Staff)

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Congratulations Jimmy Dillon for 2012 Milley Award for Achievement in the Musical Arts

When Jimmy Dillon took the stage to accept his Milley Award for Achievement in the Musical Arts onSunday evening Oct. 21 at the Mill Valley Community Center, he said he felt most comfortable with guitar in hand.  He reminded everyone that "the meaning of life is to find your gift" and "the purpose of life is to give it away."  He then sang one of his inspiring original ballads Hold On To Your Dreams ...and don't you let them go.

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Bread & Roses supporter Michael Narada Walden was there cheering Jimmy on along with emcee Leah Garchik who skillfully wove all the stories of the award winners into a seamless whole.  Former Milley Award winner Mark Fishkin of the Mill Valley Film Festival was also there to congratulate Jimmy and to honor Zoe Elton for her Milley Award for Achievement in the Performing Arts.

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Happy 100th Birthday to Woody Guthrie

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Woody Guthrie would have been one-hundred-years-old on Saturday July 14. The iconic troubadour was a beloved performer during a challenging time in our nation’s history and his songs continue to have relevance today.

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Honoring Kathi Goldmark: A Truly Irrepressible Spirit

Honoring Kathi Goldmark

Cover of Kathi Goldmark's Memorial Program June 25, 2012 

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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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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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Marshall Chapman Captivates her Audience at New Bridge in Berkeley

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Having written songs recorded by Emmylou Harris and Joe Cocker, Marshall Chapman is very plugged in to the songwriting socket. Her styles range from Alternative Country to Rock 'n Roll, and her intelligent humor pervades all of her writing including her books. While in the Bay Area recently to promote her  new book, They Came to Nashville on West Coast Live, she performed her first institutional concert for Bread & Roses.

On June 19, 2011 Marshall shared songs and stories with the men and women working on their sobriety at New Bridge Foundation in Berkeley. "Music and 12-step programs saved my life," she told them. Songs about her life before, during and after recovery (from substance abuse) were met with great enthusiasm and empathy. "Why Can't You Be Like Other Girls" told of how she didn't fit the mold growing up in South Carolina. "Goodbye Forever" chronicled her obsession and difficulty in kicking a bad relationship. And the happy ending song reminded everyone that "It's Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood."

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