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 Academy. Every 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