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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.

Rockin' The Roses Spring Benefit Concert: An Exceptional Night of Music

Rockin’ the Roses Spring Benefit Concert on May 18, brought to us by Jeff & Laurie Ubben, was an exceptional night of music in a spectacular venue. From our earliest benefit concert in 1977 at the legendary Greek Theatre in Berkeley to our latest sold-out success at San Francisco’s grandly elegant Great American Music Hall, Bread & Roses Presents knows how to throw an incredible fundraiser in a special setting. 

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Fearless Harmony by San Domenico Advanced Vocal Ensemble at Atria Tamalpais

An appreciative group of seniors at Atria Tamalpais Creek, a senior living facility in Novato, were treated recently to the musical magic of a largely a capella group of eleven talented teenage girls from San Domenico School in San Anselmo. The Advanced Vocal Ensemble (known as AVE and pronounced like Ave Maria) is from the middle school. The poise of these girls belies their age (12 and 13.) Several of them sang solos with the others backing them up, and one young lady sang an original song, accompanying herself on piano. 

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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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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


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.

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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.


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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.


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


“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


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.

A volunteer performer for Bread & Roses since 2010, Steve Meckfessel knows what it means to perform his “jazz-infected urban folk” for those who are isolated. He has performed for mental health patients, brought healing songs to adults in homeless shelters and shared his music in drug and alcohol recovery centers playing songs such as “On the Road” (about what to do on the road of life when the going gets tough.)

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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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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.

It’s hard to imagine that forty years have gone by since 1974 when our founder Mimi Fariña gathered a handful of musician friends to start bringing music to those isolated in nearby institutions, and Bread & Roses was born.

Together each year we bring hope, healing and joy through live music to isolated audiences through 600 annual shows in 125 facilities.Over 1200 volunteer performers showcase their talents each year for children, adults and seniors in the Bay Area who need music most.

Performers like Sofi Rox (pictured above), an open-hearted singer-songwriter who brings joy across the board to children in low-income preschools and seniors in convalescent facilities through her charming original songs about nature and her sweet ukulele playing.

sal_and_dadOr Salvador Santana, with keyboard in hand, who shares his journey as a professional musician and whose original songs inspire troubled teens “to navigate the infinite options of music” giving them hope and the chance to imagine a brighter future for themselves.

elsieOr Elsie White, a rootsy folk singer with classically trained full-bodied vocals whose buoyant voice and authentic original songs help teens in juvenile detention see, through poignant lyrics and expression of raw emotion, that there might be another way to heal.

junior-toots-respect50Or Junior Toots, who is also committed to positivity with his conscious up-tempo roots reggae and ska as he inspires youth in alternative schools with the power of affirmation for self and planet.

gemmaOr Gemma Bulos, a Filipina-American musician and teacher, who is a great example of a positive role model as a social entrepreneur, singer and storyteller who performs in jails and rehabs for teens prompting her audiences to realize that creative expression can enhance self esteem.

davidmillermagicianOr David Miller, who enchants all ages -- from children in special needs schools to seniors in convalescent facilities -- with his message that “impossible is not a word” in his interactive magic shows that give all the experience of how to collectively be in an audience and have the thrill of an opportunity to participate.

We are grateful for the new performers who are helping us with our ongoing program keep Mimi’s flame alive.We know from the stories of people, both young and old, in our facility audiences that our shows are remembered and have an impact.


Post by Marian Hubler

Graphic Design by Lauren Arrow

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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

Bread & Roses is honored to present Bobby McFerrin as our headliner at our 40th Anniversary Benefit concert on March 1. His understanding of music's power to bring joy is in perfect alignment with our mission of bringing hope, healing and joy to those who need music most.

As a solo artist, Bobby developed Circlesongs, an innovative improvisational choral singing experience that he refined through the years with his vocal ensemble Voicestra. As he toured all over the world, he found that group singing not only made beautiful music but cultivated a deep sense of community and joy.

According to the Omega Institute in New York, where Bobby will lead an upcoming Circlesongs workshop with Bread & Roses volunteer performers Rhiannon and David Worm from SoVoSó; “What Bobby McFerrin does is a spontaneous invention, celebration and prayer. The New York Times credits him with sparking the current revival of a cappella music. The beat-boxing community claims him as an inspiration, the jazz community claims him as a legend and the classical world celebrates his innovative spirit. “

His latest adventure, spirityouall, is a re-imagination of the American folk spiritual tradition. Through it all, his mission is simply this: to invite us all to experience the joy and freedom he feels when he sings.

We invite you to help us celebrate 40 years of bringing the joy of live music to those in the Bay Area who are isolated. Our 40th Anniversary Benefit & Concert at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall and intimate Showcase Theatre gives you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join perpetual explorer Bobby McFerrin and his team of inspiring musicians including his children Taylor and Madison McFerrin and The Yellowjackets. Opening this joyous community musical experience will be the imaginative a capella ensemble SoVoSó.

With your help, we can move Bread & Roses forward and sustain our mission far into the future. 

"Improvisation involves coming into a situation without rigid expectations or preconceptions. We must keep going forward, fearful or not, and be ready for anything that comes our way. That’s how life is. Remembering that life can be full of surprises is always useful. We’re improvising all the time—it’s good to recognize that."Bobby McFerrin

Click here for more information on our 40th anniversary event.


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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.

Again in 2009 at the age of 90, he played banjo and sang at a Bread & Roses institutional show with Tao at The Redwoods, a community for seniors in Mill Valley.  Co-sponsored by the Seniors for Peace, an activist group in residence there, Pete and Tao's hour-long set featured several sing-alongs that captivated the enthusiastic audience of 250 people. For a close-up look at that memorable concert, see Jim Weltes article from the Marin Independent Journal, Sept. 14, 2009

Coincidentally, singer/activist Ronnie Gilbert, who sang with Pete Seeger in the Weavers from 1949 to 1951, is now a resident at The Redwoods.

 Following his passing, The IJ also ran a story "Pete Seeger Touched Marin along With the Rest of the World" that mentions his participation with Bread & Roses and quotes Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper.   

We are thankful for all of Pete's masterful work as a folk musician and songwriter, and for his support for so many important causes through the playing of folk music and his work as an activist for the better part of a century. We will never forget him and all his poignant songs, like the anti-war standard Where Have All the Flowers Gone? which was also the title of his 1993 autobiography.

As we remember him today, we think of the beautiful musical setting of the song he created from the passage in the Book of Ecclesiastes that became a number one hit for The Byrds in 1965 Turn, Turn, Turn.  Bread & Roses celebrates its 40th anniversary this year (1974-2014). Our Bread & Roses Founder Mimi Fariña and her sister Joan Baez were inspired by Pete's stellar example to be both musicians and activists. His enduring song lyrics give us strength to continue our mission of bringing hope and healing through live music to those who need it most.


To everything turn, turn, turn, & a time to every purpose under heaven...

Blog by Marian Hubler

Bread & Roses Video Edited by Lauren Arrow with photos by Andrew de Lory and Ken Friedman,

Courtesy of Bread & Roses

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

Joan Baez Sr.

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.

A huge celebration took place earlier, on the property where she lived with her daughter Joan Baez, amidst oak trees, spring flowers and one hundred brightly colored balloons. One hundred and fifty people sang her Happy Birthday, the notes echoing downhill past the chickens, on farther to the creek, and then throughout the tree tops.

Joan Baez Sr., also known as “Big Joan” was the mother of our founder, the late Mimi Fariña. We remember her fondly for her long support of Bread & Roses. Every month for many years, she sent a cheerful card with a hand-written note along with a donation. Her cards were always uplifting with heartfelt and often humorous sentiments. In one of her notes she said; “I’m glad Bread & Roses continues to fare so well. It’s a sublime thing for me to think about.”


Joan Baez Sr. with Al Baez and Mimi Farina

Bread & Roses Founder Mimi Fariña with her mother Joan Baez Sr. and father Al Baez

on the ferry to Bread & Roses benefit on Alcatraz Island, 1997. Photo by Jon Sievert.



Her caregivers sent the following note that she had written some years ago:



Friends who want to celebrate my new adventure, please gather round.

Don't grieve, for it's only a worn out body that's leaving and the memory of any sad times goes with it.

The good memories are in my spirit and my spirit is with you today.

I'm in your midst, for there's nothing more valuable to me than to be with you, my beloved family and my gracious friends.

Take a moment for silence and wish me well.  I'll hear you.

Then make the bottles pop. You know I love champagne almost as much as I love you!

Big Joan


Here are two of Joan's notes to Bread & Roses from our archives. We welcome you to share any reminiscences that you might have...

Joan Baez Sr. Notes to Bread & Roses



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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.


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)

Huey Lewis has been a dedicated supporter of Bread & Roses since the 1970s after performing with his band Clover and our founder the late Mimi Fariña at an early institutional show. One of the world's most successful and beloved performers, he played for Bread & Roses annual benefit concert at Teatro ZinZanni in 2004, as well as supported other fundraisers through the years. He  has steadily contributed his winnings from the Pro-Am celebrity golf charity events to our organization since the 80s. He also won over $100,000 for Bread & Roses on the "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" television show in July, 2001.


Huey Lewis has said that he likes supporting Bread & Roses since we provide what he calls a "twofer." The people we serve in institutional settings are moved and healed by the performers. And the performers also get a boost from the intimacy of playing for isolated audiences who need music most and who they would otherwise rarely have an opportunity to play for.  So it works both ways...

Thanks Huey for the many ways you continue to support Bread & Roses!






Huey Lewis at Bread & Roses benefit concert in 2004.
Photo by Ken Friedman, Courtesy of Bread & Roses




Post Contributed by Lauren Arrow & Marian Hubler

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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.


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.

As a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses for 30 years, Jimmy Dillon has been talkin' the talk and walkin' the walk. As a solo performer and in collaboration with many musicians, Jimmy continues to find ways to demonstrate his remarkable commitment to our organization and passion for mentoring the next generation.

Inspired by the late Mimi Fariña example in starting Bread & Roses, he founded his own nonprofit organization The Blue Star Music Camps to teach and mentor thousands of youth performers. When he began in the early 90s, he included a community service component so that the teens could learn about the value of volunteering by performing a special Bread & Roses concert for developmentally disabled adults at The Cedars of Marin.

“The kids from Blue Star Music Camp acted like seasoned professionals,” said Bread & Roses volunteer host Chris Wright.“They did some great songs. There were many smiles on the faces of staff and clients alike.”



In 2007, Bread & Roses honored the Blue Star Music Camp with its Outstanding Youth Program Award at its annual volunteer celebration. Last year, Jimmy took a leadership role in helping Bread & Roses thank the over 350 individual performers and groups who volunteer on an annual basis.At the 2011 event at the Freight & Salvage, Jimmy helped us create a collaborative music concert featuring other Bread & Roses performers including Ozzie Ahlers, Tracy Blackman, Danny Click, Michael Peloquin and Amy Wigton.Roy Rogers and Carlos Reyes also performed, along with Cami Thompson, Max Perkoff and Charlie McCarthy. Motivational speaker Michael Pritchard was emcee.


Jimmy’s history as a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses goes back three decades to playing with the late Clarence Clemmons at San Quentin in the 1980s. A high caliber singer-songwriter/guitarist who has toured nationally and internationally for many years as a solo artist as well as a side-man, Jimmy’s shows have always been memorable for varied Bread & Roses institutional audiences including St. Anthony’s Farm and Walden House (adult rehab), as well as Gladman and Marin General (adult mental health).

As an outgrowth of his special stage production Ascension of the Blues, he recently formed a band with musician Lorin Rowan called The San Francisco Music Club. Bread & Roses looks forward to working with this dynamic group of musicians, singers and dancers soon. Their CD Love & Freedom shows that the group’s focus -- a blend of musical cultures from the US, Caribbean and Africa – is a perfect fit for Bread & Roses diverse Bay Area institutional audiences.


Post contributed by Marian Hubler


Do you have an inspiring story to tell about a Bread & Roses performer or program? Please share!


Upcoming Special Event:
On November 10th Jimmy will be celebrating his Milley Award by performing a career retrospective at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley with special guests Ozzie Ahlers and Michael Narada Walden. Congratulations Jimmy!


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Happy 100th Birthday to Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie

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.

From the dust bowl of Oklahoma to a migrant camp in California and back to New York, Woody Guthrie was a traveling singer-songwriter/guitarist who poetically captured the issues of his day in songs that were often rallying calls to action for worker’s rights.

Sam Misner and Megan Smith, also known as the nationally touring duo Misner & Smith, were first recruited to perform for Bread & Roses when they were featured several years ago in a production of Woody Guthrie’s American Song at the Marin Theatre Company.

Misner & Smith

The developmentally disabled adults who are participants at the Cedars Textile Arts Center in San Rafael were lucky to have Misner & Smith visit for their first Bread & Roses performance where they gave a high caliber concert of Americana style music on guitar, mandolin, upright bass and vocals.

According to Bread & Roses Host Kelsey Robertson, “The most popular song they played was Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land. Megan told everyone to feel free to sing along. As soon as the first syllable of “This” was sung, the room was filled with ringing voices. The sound gave [me] chills as everyone in the place joined in to celebrate this American classic.”

A special concert production of Woody Guthrie’s American Song is currently running through July 22 at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley with Misner & Smith and others, one of many events already held or planned as a part of Woody Guthrie’s Centennial Celebration.

Singer-songwriter/guitarist Audrey Auld recently performed with Woody’s son Arlo Guthrie and long-time Bread & Roses friend Judy Collins at WoodyFest, the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okehah, Oklahoma, the town where Woody was born.

Audrey Auld

Now based in Nashville, Audrey debuted at the festival a five-song EP honoring Woody. Her song 100 Candles (click on link to download) echoes the sentiments that many of us feel about Woody Guthrie. One hundred candles, one for every year. You changed the world, you showed us all how to lend an ear, You gave voice to the silent, the hungry and the poor...

Audrey was recently interviewed in the San Jose Mercury News on how “Writing songs is a gift of life.” The article mentions how in Woody Guthrie’s tradition of the troubadour on the move, Audrey has put a west coast tour together and is traveling across the country so she can do concerts for Bread & Roses for several of our Bay Area facility audiences. She will be at the Club Fox in Redwood City on Sunday July 22.

The article, On Woody Guthrie’s 100th, The Family Returns to Mermaid Avenue” in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, talks about how Woody's family had an intimate gathering in the town near Coney Island where he lived several years after releasing This Land Is Your Land and where his ashes were spread.

DON'T MISS this week's special Bay Area concert Woody Guthrie's American Song on the life and music of Woody Guthrie at the Freight & Salvage. 



Post by Marian Hubler

Photo Credits (Top to Bottom): Woody Guthrie Photo by Robin Carson, from Woody Guthrie Website; Misner & Smith Photo by Duncan Smith, Courtesy of Misner & Smith;Photo Courtesy of Audrey Auld 


Please share with us a special experience you’ve had playing or hearing or remembering a Woody Guthrie song.




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Honoring Kathi Goldmark: A Truly Irrepressible Spirit

Honoring Kathi Goldmark

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

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Carolyn Gauthier and I were seated in Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the most beautiful and historic synagogues in San Francisco, dressed in our best sequins.  The invitation had said, “A Rockin’ Party for the Glorious Kathi Kamen Goldmark: Sequins, Leopard Print & Vamp Attire Permitted.”  During the service, we learned just how much the Bay Area lost when Kathi Goldmark passed away on May 24, 2012.  She was a truly irrepressible spirit whose ashes in a leopard-skin box were a poignant presence.

Kathi helped Bread & Roses connect with performers.  Beginning in Mimi Fariña’s day, staff would go to meet nationally touring performers at Sedge Thompson’s legendary radio show, West Coast Live (KALW) where Kathi worked and served as co-producer in recent years. She also promoted some of our outreach events on the show.

She helped us book Frederica von Stade who performed an inspiring benefit concert for Bread & Roses in 2011.  She also reached out to Nashville-based Marshall Chapman to perform a memorable show at a rehab facility. Kathi was assisting us generally in our efforts to recruit higher profile performers for our institutional shows when she fell ill with cancer.

At her memorial service, Ben Fong-Torres said that what was important to Kathi was “Live music, lots of it and many different genres.” Clearly that was why she understood our mission more than most and was so generous in assisting us in various ways.

The highlight of Kathi’s experience as a literary escort was organizing a legendary band  The Rock Bottom Remainders composed of famous authors including Dave Barry and Amy Tan.  At the podium in a leopard skin dress, Ms. Tan said that for Kathi, having fun was paramount.  Their shows were all about  “Connecting with the audience, getting out of your skin and helping other people to get out of theirs.”  She also remembered “Kathi put the giggle in gig.”  The Remainders raised over $2,000,000 for different charities through the years. 

During the service, Wesla Whitfield sang a beautiful version of “In My Life” with Mike Greensill on keyboard.  At the reception downstairs, Kathi wanted a party with live music.  Roger McGuinn of the Byrds kicked off the jam session playing “Mr. Tambourine Man” with members of Los Train Wreck. We said hello to many friends including Kitty Margolis, Kathleen Enright, Bud E. Luv and Mike Kappus from Rosebud.

Singer Keta Bill and music journalist Joel Selvin were there, along with their daughter Carla Selvin. Carla mentioned she is one of three female vocalists in a new band “Garden Party” and that they will be ready for a Bread & Roses concert soon.  Carla shared that it was Kathi who first got her to sing when she was five-years-old.

Thank you Kathi for continuing to connect us with each other and to the next generation of musicians. 


Post by Marian Hubler 

We'd love to know, what is your most memorable experience of live music’s connecting force?


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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.      

This year commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the Bread and Roses poem written by James Oppenheim in 1912 about the women and children striking in Lawrence, MA for better wages and working conditions. The poem inspired Mimi Fariña to name the organization she founded in 1974 “Bread & Roses” for she believed that all people -- especially those isolated in institutions -- need music, art and roses, as well as bread, to feel fully human.

Judy Collins has long been a supporter of many nonprofit organizations including Bread & Roses. She performed a Bread & Roses institutional concert in 1985 at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco in the historic Gerald Simon Theatre.

A long-time friend of Mimi Fariña, she sang the “Bread and Roses” song with Holly Near and Maria Muldaur at Mimi’s Memorial Service on August 7, 2001 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Following the service, she released a dove on the plaza in Mimi’s memory.

At Book Passage in Corte Madera on Saturday April 7 at one pm, Judy will do a reading and book signing of her latest memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music (c. 2011). The book was named after a song written for Judy by Stephen Stills and talks about her friendships with Mimi and Richard Fariña among many others.

While in the San Francisco Bay Area, Judy will also do two concerts at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, on Sat. April 7 at 8 pm and on Sunday April 8 at 2 pm.Although both are sold out, it may be possible to buy standing room tickets on the day of the event.

In 2005, she wrote Morning, Noon and Night: Living the Creative Life in which she tells how creativity is natural to all of us. We’d love to hear any special memories you have of Judy Collins in concert or how she may have inspired you to live a more creative life.  


Post by Marian Hubler

Photo Captions:

Judy Collins, Bread & Roses Album Cover, 1976

Judy Collins Releasing A Dove for Mimi Fariña  Grace Cathedral August 7, 2001  Photograph by Marian Little Utley, Courtesy Marin Independent Journal 

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music Book Cover, Judy Collins 2011

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