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.
A meet & greet VIP reception gave guests the chance to enjoy some festive libations and appetizers while saying hello to new and old friends. Board Chair Stacy Nelson brought a number of friends including performer Tami Mulcahy. Other board members who attended included Alex Wellins with new Advisory Board Member Jay Blakesberg and Mike McElligott who brought his son Tim McElligott. Cathy Less, Steve Meckfessel and Donna Mezias were some of the other Board members who attended, along with Simone Haas and husband Scott Zumsteg. Thanks to the Board and other friends who bought VIP tickets and brought guests.
Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed everyone and introduced celebrity journalist emcee/entertainer Ben Fong-Torres who kicked off the inspiring night of music with his impersonation of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me” with Kurt Huget on guitar. He told of meeting our founder, the late Mimi Fariña when he worked as a DJ at KSAN in the early days. He helped to co-emcee some of the legendary Greek Theatre benefit concerts for Bread & Roses beginning in 1979. About thirty years later, he became a volunteer performing shows at senior centers like On Lok in SF, with Kurt and George Yamasaki on piano. “How rewarding it is,” he said, ”to see the reactions from people. Many of them wake up. Some of them clap along; a number of them will get up and dance. Afterwards, they’ll say thanks, sometimes wordlessly. One or two will make a request for a song the next time. And you know that we will remember. After all, we’re proud members of the Bread & Roses team.”
Singer-songwriter/guitarist Jeffrey Halford, who tours internationally with his band The Healers, followed with Adam Rossi on cajon. He shared how great it was to do institutional shows for Bread & Roses with his two children Aaron and Hannah and how much they learned from performing for isolated people in various settings. His short but sizzling set was sprinkled with blues ballads by greats like Robert Johnson to originals like Second Chance which he dedicated to the folks at Delancey Street. He sang of the emotional toll of being in isolation, “I’m as hard as these walls, as cold as these bars and I need a second chance.”
Headliners Hot Buttered Rum kept the crowd mesmerized with their stunning vocal and instrumental virtuosity. Band-mates Bryan Horne on double bass and vocals, Erik Yates on banjos/guitars/woodwinds & bass, Nat Keefe on guitar & vocals, Shane Schlick on drums/mandolin and Zebulon Bowles on fiddle and vocals delivered a rousing set with spirited inter-play. Their ballad Music’s Been Good to Me summed up the feeling of many in the audience “Get On Up with a Little Bit of Joy and a Little Bit of Sorrow.” They said “We’re here right now because we love B & R. We’ve had some magical and transcendent experiences doing institutional shows.” Erik, Nat and Zeb have all played recently at BAHIA school age program in Berkeley and Mission YMCA childcare in SF.
A raffle at the end of the night helped support our program. Items included a limited edition gicleé called “Bluegrass Musician” painted by Jerry Garcia and donated by The Jerry Garcia Foundation, along with a special SF Giants ticket package and gift certificate donated by Momo’s as well as a signed Ibanez guitar with autographs from many well known musicians donated by Julie and David Bernard.
A beautiful limited edition poster designed for the event by Alexandra Fischer was donated by Moonalice Posters and given to the many happy guests at the end of the night. We are grateful for the kindness of old and new Bread & Roses supporters, volunteers and performers who joined us to celebrate the joy of live music and to help ensure it will continue to be brought to people around the Bay Area who are isolated and need music most.
1) Stacy Nelson and friends checking in
2) Ben Fong-Torres and Kurt Huget
3) Jeffrey Halford
4) Hot Buttered Rum: (l-R) Zebulon Bowles, Erik Yates, Nat Keefe and Bryan Horne
5) Concert poster designed by Alexandra Fischer and contributed by Moonalice Posters
Post by Marian Hubler
Slide show by Carrie Sownie with photos by Peter Merts