Bread & Roses Presents 2015 volunteer appreciation and recognition celebration, also known as “The JAM,” was held in great style on Sunday July 26, 2015 at the beautiful home of Toby and John Nady in Piedmont. We have a long history of celebrating our volunteers at an annual event in a very special venue. It is our way of thanking our many performers, hosts, event volunteers, board members and other supporters for their many contributions throughout the year towards bringing live music to people who need it most in varied institutional settings around the Bay Area.
Event Producer Lisa Starbird led a reception team to greet volunteers. All enjoyed a catered box lunch from Insalata’s and libations on the lovely grounds before the special awards presentation at 2 pm.
Vlad Cardema and René Jenkins called everyone into the main ballroom for the awards ceremony with the resonant healing sounds of their didgeridoos. Heartstrings Bridge, a collective of talented jazz vocalists, lifted the energy on the main stage in the ballroom with their lively upbeat tunes that had everyone singing. Wonderful storyteller Diane Ferlatte gave everyone a first-hand experience of the magic that happens every day at a Bread & Roses show. Executive Director Dave Perron welcomed everyone saying how important it is for all to feel part of the “WE Team,” for it takes a tribe to accomplish the logistical feat of 600 shows for our isolated audiences every year.
The following special awards were presented to: Audrey Auld, Above and Beyond; Kurt Huget, Best All Around Volunteer; Arthur Javier, Volunteer for All Seasons; Circus of Smiles, Outstanding Performers for Youth; Prescott Circus Theater, Outstanding Youth Group; Sally Peter, Outstanding Host; Cindy Hall, Outstanding Event Volunteer; Linda MacVey, Return to the Fold; Steve Pickford, Trouper Award; and Peter Merts, Outstanding Photo Contribution.
Other awards sent to volunteers (not able to attend) included: Tim Andres, Outstanding Performer; Aaron Halford, Outstanding Youth Performer; Aaron Kierbel, Outstanding Interactive Performer; Moonalice Posters, Outstanding Professional Services and Audrey Minagawa, Outstanding Graphic Arts Contribution.
Special awards were also presented to the following for their years of service: Banana (aka Lowell Levinger) for 40-year performer; Alan Claassen and Grady Knowles for 35-year volunteers; Joan Getz, Wendy deWitt, John Maxwell, Si Perkoff, Jeanne Skybrook, Terrance Kelly, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and Paloma for 25-year performers; Kathleen Edwards for 20-year volunteer; Phil Campbell, Diane Ferlatte, Calaveras, Oakland Jazz Choir and ‘Til Dawn for 20-year performers; Clyde Niesen for 15-year volunteer; Lynn Asher, Marianna August, Garrin Benfield, Danny Creed, Austin deLone, Kat Fitzgerald, Ross Gualco, Cami Thompson, Deborah Winters, Carnival of Chaos, Kitka/Zele and Lick Wilmerding Jazz Combo for 15-year performers; Annie Aronson, Stevie Coyle, Olga Loya, Anne Zesiger and Jazz Minds for 10-year performers.
After a group photo, it was time for jamming and showcase performances on four stages. On the main stage, Calaveras, featuring Bread & Roses board member Greg Beattie and his wife, the talented jazz singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vickie Blythe, delighted the crowd with their exceptional original songs. They were followed by award-winning song-writing duo Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan, among many other outstanding performers.
Upstairs in the living room salon, there were many highlights including Joan Getz on vocals with her husband Dave Getz on drums and Michael Hatfield on piano; extraordinary singer-songwriter/guitarist Maurice Tani with Mike Anderson on upright bass; Lucille Steele (who used to play piano with Frank Sinatra) serenading with classic songs in multiple languages; and so much more including Chappell and Dave Holt, Chris Cross, Brian Brynes, Jai Josefs, Benny Watson, Jazz Minds, Mary Terrill, Mwanza and Gail Muldrow, a capella Kitka vocalists Kelly Atkins and Janet Kutulas plus Stephanie Hendricks and Ricardo Moncrief of Isoji Wizards.
Outside on the lawn stage, it was also an afternoon of truly first-rate music with Banana leading the way with an original song Old Woman he used to play with Bread & Roses founder, the late Mimi Fariña. He was followed by finger-picking aficionado Stevie Coyle of Mighty Fine Guitars. Beth Marlin then did a fun original called Hog Farmer’s Wife followed by a special version of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. Marni Warner and Kurt Huget, The Real Deal, The Babushka Brothers, Billy D, John Nash and Deborah Crooks rounded out the amazing musical bill.
Producer Francesca Lee led an acoustic circle jam on the terrace. Board members Raj Gopal, Philip Pillsbury, Cathy Less and Stacy Nelson joined in the musical fun along with Joey Wolpert, Jeanne Skybrook, Carrie Sownie, Andrew Kaluzynski, Rebecca Nile, Helena Pappas, Daniel Maguire and Fred Sharp.
We had an impressive turnout of board members overall. Joining those mentioned earlier were Simone Haas and son Andy, Michael McElligott with friends Grace Anderson and John Anderson, Donna Mezias and husband Jonas Honick, and Alex Wellins.
This afternoon of incredible music ringing from every rafter was a beautiful example of why we are so grateful to all our talented performers and other volunteers who help us every day of the year do what we do best – bring live music to those who need it most.
Thanks to all who helped with the party including Clyde Niesen and David Denny on sound; Kathleen Edwards for floral arrangements; Peter Merts, Bill Nichols and Daniel Kong for photography; The Delancey Street Foundation and all event volunteers. Special appreciation to Ken Harrison for being a JAM Sponsor and also to our in-kind contributors including Cameron Hughes Wine, Good Earth Natural Foods, Marin Brewing Company, Noah’s Bagels, Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California, Peet’s Coffee, Trader Joe’s, United Markets, US Pure Water and Whole Foods Market.
We look forward to seeing all of you again next year!
On a more somber note, performer Audrey Auld passed away at her home in Stinson Beach on Sunday August 9, 2015 of complications due to cancer. We were fortunate she was able to join us at the JAM. She will be deeply missed but we are grateful her incredible songs will live on. Paul Liberatore wrote a beautiful tribute to Audrey in the Marin IJ that talks about her work for Bread & Roses Presents. For the full story “Marin singer Audrey Auld, who wrote songs with San Quentin inmates, dies at 51” click here.
Post by Marian Hubler
JAM slide show photos by Peter Merts and Bill Nichols
Group photo by Peter Merts
Photo of Lisa Starbird and Audrey Auld by Peter Merts.