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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.

'Singing Surgeon' Eases Stress by Mixing Music and Medicine

Dr. Laura Esserman

It is 8 a.m., and Dr. Laura Esserman, the "singing surgeon" at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) readies her patient for surgery, as usual, by singing a song as the patient is wheeled into the operating room. 

This particular patient (who wishes to remain anonymous) happens to be a former Bread & Roses Board member and long-time supporter.

The patient already knew about the scientific data attesting to the healing power of music. Yet it wasn't until she found herself going into surgery last fall that she truly understood the immediate and positive effect that live music can have.

Dr. Esserman had told the patient, "Pick your song," and her choice was James Taylor's "Shower the People You Love With Love." 

Having practiced its beautiful harmonies, Dr. Esserman and her staff were all smiles as they sang and wheeled our friend from the prep room into surgery.

Of her experience at the UCSF Cancer Clinic, our supporter said this surgeon was both "rock star as well as life-saver." 

Dr. Esserman provides a positive affirmation of the healing power of live music. She says that singing "creates a warm and supportive atmosphere that serves as an antidote to the fear usually engendered by a diagnosis of cancer and the trepidation of going into a foreign place for a surgical procedure."  

She also relayed in a recent interview that she comes from a musical family and has been singing all her life. "I know every musical from Sigmund Romberg on and I can regale almost anyone with familiar Broadway songs. It was the family tradition to sing all the songs from new musicals," she said.   

She also plays piano, has sung in choruses, and performed in musical theater while in high school, college and medical school. She started an a capella group when she was in residency called "Chord Blue." Today she sings in an acoustic-guitar based band called "6 Strings Attached" with environmental attorney Vic Sher and UCSF neurosurgeon Phil Weinstein. 

With a very busy professional life as a breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Esserman is also head of UCSF's Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and a professor of surgery and radiology. She makes time for music in her life and says "I love to sing, and it makes me happy to do so."

She started integrating music with medicine by singing to her patients many years ago when she was in the OR waiting for an anesthesiologist to arrive for an emergency case. 

"Everyone was quite stressed and I asked the person I was operating on if she liked music and she said her favorite was from The Phantom of the Opera. So I immediately began to sing and she just loved it. Her blood pressure dropped about thirty points, and mine did too."

From then on, Dr. Esserman decided that she would sing her patients to 'sleep'. She gives people the option of picking a song they love or having her pick one for them. Of the overall effect that music has on a patient getting ready for surgery, Dr. Esserman says "It is a wonderful way of taking away the stress of going into an operating room. It is also a way to really focus on the patient and what they want and need at that moment." 

Dr. Esserman talks about the benefit music has for her as well. "It is something I can give to people -- to use my musical gifts to make the experience of surgery a little easier and it is something that gives me joy as well. So it is a win for everyone (except maybe the anesthesiologist)!" 

 

Blog Post Contributed by Marian Hubler           

 

 

 

 

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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)

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.

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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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Happy Valentine's Day to Our Heart of Marin Nominees Alan Thomas & Sally Peter

newnew_heart_of_marinWe appreciate the many contributions of all our volunteers throughout the Bay Area who help us share their gifts on a daily basis with those who need music most. Once a year, we have the opportunity to recognize several volunteers through the Heart of Marin Award Ceremony that is held each January at the Marin Civic Center.   At this year's event on January 10, we celebrated our nominees for 2012, pianist Alan Thomas and host Sally Peter.

 

About Alan Thomas

Talented professional piano player Alan Thomas has been a volunteer performer for Bread & Roses since 2008. During that time he has played close to thirty concerts for Bread & Roses. An extraordinary volunteer, he is always willing to collaborate with other performers, such as singers Debbie Cucalon and Andoni Panici to make our program successful and putting in time for advance rehearsals.

His willingness to play with anyone who needs accompaniment is a great asset to our program. For the past several years he has helped mentor some of our youth volunteers, in particular our musical interns from Oberlin College in Ohio.  He worked with these talented vocalists to prepare them for performing for diverse Bread & Roses audiences with a live accompanist. He helped arrange their repertoire from classical and opera, to Broadway musical and other jazz standards to make their concerts accessible to a wider audience.

Last year, Bread & Roses initiated a community-wide Holiday Chorus to perform for a variety of our audiences throughout the Bay Area in December. Alan graciously stepped up to be the accompanist for the chorus. His commitment included one rehearsal, several planning sessions, time spent putting the selected songs into the proper keys and arranging them, as well as playing for the chorus for four separate concerts at The Redwoods in Mill Valley (senior convalescent), Laguna Honda in San Francisco (hospital) and New Bridge in Berkeley (drug rehab) as well as The Blind and Vision Impaired in San Rafael.

In addition to the venues for the holiday chorus venues, during the past 12 months he has performed concerts at varied facilities including Lifelong Medical and Atria Tamalpais in Novato, The VA Medical Center in San Francisco and the Center for Elders Independence (Josie Barrow) in Oakland.

About Sally Peter

Sally Peter has been volunteering for Bread & Roses since 1996 and has dedicated her time on a regular basis since then. Over the years she has put in countless hours as a volunteer host, an event volunteer and an office helper. During that time she has been a volunteer host for 432 shows. Within the past twelve months she has served the organization in many capacities including working at benefit events and acting as a liaison (host) at the institutional shows which Bread & Roses produces.

The responsibilities of a volunteer host are complex and multi-faceted, requiring unique skills. Each month Sally spends 6 – 10 hours hosting shows, traveling throughout Marin and beyond when needed. She always does her job with efficiency and good humor. A retired school teacher, Sally is especially qualified to work with our youth audiences, which can be some of the more challenging clients.

This year Sally has made a significant impact on the organization by going the extra mile as a committed volunteer host. She has stepped up to go to shows when other hosts were not available. She always has a “can do” attitude.

Bread & Roses produces over 600 shows each year, and over half of them are hosted by volunteers. Our program could not run without the commitment of volunteers like Alan Thomas and Sally Peter.

Thanks to our friends at the Larkspur - Corte Madera Patch for their tribute to our nominees this year. Click here to check out the article!

 

 

 

Contributed by Marian Hubler and Carolyn Gauthier, Bread & Roses, 2013

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"Follow Me Down, Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians"; Bread & Roses in post film Q & A on 1/12

The film "Follow Me Down, Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians" will be shown at Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission Street, Suite 109 in San Francisco on Sat., Jan. 12, 2013 at 7 pm as a benefit for the William James Association Prison Arts Project. Bread & Roses Program Director Carolyn Gauthier will participate in the Q & A after the film with other panelists.

 

TRAILER - Follow Me Down: Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians (2012) from Ben Harbert on Vimeo.

 

Bringing live music to prisons and jails was a passion for Bread & Roses’ founder the late Mimi Fariña. After she died in 2001, she asked that we continue this work in her name for both adult and juvenile detention audiences. Some of her most memorable early experiences of performing for institutionalized audiences were at Soledad, Folsom and San Quentin prisons in the 1970s.

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Keb' Mo' at San Quentin 6/23/01 with Bonnie Raitt for "A Celebration of Sobriety and Recovery".
Photos by Ken Friedman, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

Over the years Bread & Roses has had a long-term working relationship with San Quentin State Prison in Marin County. We have presented large shows on the yard with Michael Franti & Spearhead, Bonnie Raitt, Keb’ Mo’ and others through the years. In addition, Bread & Roses has brought in performers to do workshops with some of the inmate musicians through the Arts-in-Corrections Program. Roy Rogers, Rhiannon, Audrey Auld, Gabe Harris’ Rhythm Village, members of SoVoSó and Mark Hummel are some of the performers who have participated in this program.

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Michael Franti at San Quentin for yard show with Spearhead. 5/12/07
Photo by Peter Merts, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

Recent collaboration with the William James Association has allowed us to provide these services to incarcerated musicians at San Quentin through their Prison Arts Project (PAP). The screening on Saturday, January 12 will benefit PAP's ongoing programs and Bread & Roses continuing partnership with the Association.

“Follow Me Down, Portraits of Louisiana Prison Musicians” was shot over two years in three Louisiana prisons. The film weaves together interviews and performances of extraordinary inmate musicians. It plays like a concert film, but instead of bright lights and big stages, these musicians rap in okra fields, soothe themselves with R&B in lockdown and create gospel harmonies on the yard.

After the screening there will be a Q&A with the filmmaker Ben Harbert, former prison musicians, music teachers and Bread & Roses Program Director Carolyn Gauthier. Please join us in supporting music programming for men and women in jails and prisons who have little access to the arts and its redemptive power to provide hope and healing for those who need it most.

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Audrey Auld with Kurt Huget at San Quentin on 10/14/06.
Photo by Peter Merts, Courtesy of Bread & Roses.

 

 

To RSVP & purchase tickets ($10 each), click here or visit Intersection for the Arts website.

 

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Highlights of Our Holiday Shows December 2012!

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The Second Annual Bread & Roses Holiday Chorus at The Redwoods 
(Photo by Lisa Starbird)

It was truly a heart-warming and collaborative experience to see audiences singing along with the Bread & Roses Holiday Chorus at four different facilities: The Blind & Vision Impaired of Marin, The Redwoods in Mill Valley, Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco and New Bridge Foundation in Berkeley.  A diverse group of singers came together including children from Young Performers International (who sang the Hannukah Song in several languages), professional vocalists like Debbie Cucalon and Linda Kosut, Bread & Roses donors, hosts and other volunteers as well as members of the Unity of Marin Choir. The chorus, conducted by Carolyn Gauthier (pictured above) and Marian Hubler, was accompanied with great spirit by Alan Thomas on piano.

- Marian Hubler, Producer

 

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The Christmas Jug Band at Whistlestop in San Rafael
(Photo by Carolyn Gauthier)

This remarkable group of seasoned professional musicians have been getting together for many years, and each year it just gets better and funnier.   Their original songs with catchy melodies and choruses have you in stitches and singing along. This was definitely the case at Whistlestop at a performance that is becoming an annual tradition there. It is always a joy to see returning fans having fun with the music, but even more rewarding to see first-time listeners get caught up in the merriment too.  Long live The Christmas Jug Band

- Kurt Huget, Bread & Roses Volunteer Host & Performer

 

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The Mad Maggies at Openhouse in San Francisco
(Photo by Carolyn Gauthier)

The Mad Maggies brought their rowdy folk fusion with a dash of hot pepper to Openhouse Holiday party for LGBT seniors, the only housing and social service organization expressly devoted to this population.   Joy was shared by all in an expressive way embodying the spirit of the holidays in a truly communal gathering.

- Carolyn Gauthier, Program Director 

 

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Andrew Skewes-Cox at the Canal Child Care Center in San Rafael
(Photo by Carolyn Gauthier)

Throughout the show, Andrew Skewes-Cox kept his audience of squirming energetic kids captivated and entertained.  He is a skilled storyteller and kept his youthful audience included and involved in the show.  The performance was a fun and magical way to celebrate the holidays.  The kids of Canal Child Care Center loved it. 

- Dick Miner, Bread & Roses Volunteer Host

 

Thanks to all the performers, volunteers and supporters who helped Bread & Roses during the month of December bring hope and healing through live music in 63 programs for isolated audiences throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Click here to see the complete calendar of the shows recently presented.

 

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Thanks to All Who Supported the 2012 Sudha Sale

 

Sudha_Postcard

A special thanks to all who supported the 9th Annual Holiday Sale "Sudha's Treasures" benefitting two great Bay Area nonprofit organizations, Bread & Roses and the Angel Island Conservancy.  Sudha Pennathur and her husband Ed Messerly from the House of Pennathur recently presented each organization with a check for $16,000 from the proceeds of the event held for two weekends in November.

Photo by Ron Steinau, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

It takes a village to sustain a nonprofit organization. Sudha exemplifies what one creative, committed and hard-working donor can do to help ensure the ongoing success of our mission to bring live music to those who need it most.  Sudha's Sale is a true labor of love as she plans for it throughout the year as she travels to India and other places to design and produce the hand-crafted items that are featured.

The unwavering support of Stan Hoffman and his team at the Corte Madera Town Center --who donated the former Ann Taylor loft space for our special  "pop-up" store this year -- was also critical to the success of this year's sale. Their kindness and generosity meant that all the shoppers had a beautiful environment in which to select their treasures -- from beautiful scarves to unique jewelry all made by master artisans

Sudha_and_DougWe also could not have accomplished the sale without the help of our many volunteers from both Bread & Roses and The Angel Island Conservancy who assisted with everything from set-up to load-out but especially staffing the sale itself. Special thanks to Doug McConnell who helped create enthusiasm at our preview event. Photographers Ron Steinau and Jon D'Alessio ably documented the sale. Performers Arthur Javier and Sofi Rox set a wonderful tone by playing on two successive Saturdays.  Shoppers enjoyed in-kind contributions from local restaurants the California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang's, Pacific Catch, Peet's Coffee and Jessie et Laurent at the opening party.

For more information about the designer Sudha Pennathur, click here to see her website and blog about the first weekend of the sale (Nov. 9-11).

We hope to see you next year! To be added to the e-mail list for the sale and other future benefit events, contact: info@breadandroses.org.

 

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Top Photo Collage: Courtesy Sudha Pennathur; Photo of Sudha by Usha Kris 

Additional Photos by Ron Steinau, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

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Marianna August & Her Jazz Pals Entertain at the Marin Senior Fair for Bread & Roses

Marianna_August_at_VA_Hostpital_SF

When Marianna August & Her Jazz Pals took the stage at this year’s Marin Senior Information Fair on October 24 at the Marin Exhibit Hall in San Rafael on behalf of Bread & Roses, many people were singing along and tapping toes to familiar songs like Night and Day and Old Devil Moon. Vocalist Marianna spoke about Bread & Roses in a heart-felt way when she asked  "Has anyone had a recent hip or knee replacement and spent time in a local convalescent center? If so, you were likely to have been entertained with live music from Bread & Roses."
 

With professional musicians Ross Gualcoon on piano, George MacNeill on stand-up bass and Mike MacKenzie on drums, the group played a special repertoire of 1930s and 1940s jazz standards, rumba, swing and Brazilian tunes. When Marianna sang Cole Porter's You’d Be So Nice To Come Home and My Heart Belongs to Daddy the seniors in the audience were transported back to an earlier time. Songs like Brasil and It’s Delovely had people dancing in the aisles and A Kiss To Build a Dream On was a lovely finale to their short but lively set.

Based in Sausalito, Marianna has been recruiting professional musicians for over a decade to perform over 65 free Bread & Roses concerts for seniors who generally cannot attend outside events on their own. Most of these concerts feature outstanding soloists playing special arrangements by the late Jim Rothermel, who was a superb clarinet player, jazz musician and Bread & Roses performer.

FinalMarianneA_copyDuring the past year in Marin County alone, Bread & Roses produced close to a hundred concerts for 3500 seniors in convalescent homes and day care facilities. Bread & Roses serves close to 27,000 people each year who are isolated in institutions throughout the Bay Area. Of the 600 annual programs overall, nearly one third are dedicated to seniors.

We have seen first-hand the effect that music has on seniors. Familiar songs occasion the recall of lyrics even in patients with dementia. Live music itself invariably generates a special connection between performer and audience

At a recent show at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Bread & Roses volunteer host Debbie Matson reported “When Marianna took the stage, the warmth of her voice and style, drew everyone into her fabulous singing. She gave engaging intros for each number and kept the performance flowing wonderfully. Standard jazz pieces kept the audience smiling, clapping and wanting more. The stunning version of Stardust brought great applause and made a wonderful emotional connection for everyone in the room.”

Marianna August and Her Jazz Pals have performed for Bread & Roses at The Tamalpais, Lifelong Medical Care, Aldersly, West Marin Senior Services, Whistlestop, Nazareth House, The Redwoods, Northgate Care and Fifth Avenue Convalescent in Marin County, as well as Laguna Honda and the Veterans Hospital in San Francisco.

 

Blog Post Contributed by Marian Hubler

 

Do you know any performers who might be able to help with our shows for senior audiences throughout the Bay Area? Please let us know!

 

 

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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.

JimmyD

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.”

Jimmy_D_and_audience

 

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_D_With_performers

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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Marianna August & Her Jazz Pals Entertain at the Marin Senior Fair for Bread & Roses

Marianna_August_at_VA_Hostpital_SFWhen Marianna August & Her Jazz Pals took the stage at this year’s Marin Senior Information Fair on October 24 at the Marin Exhibit Hall in San Rafael on behalf of Bread & Roses, many people were singing along and tapping toes to familiar songs like Night and Day and Old Devil Moon. Vocalist Marianna spoke about Bread & Roses in a heart-felt way when she asked  "Has anyone had a recent hip or knee replacement and spent time in a local convalescent center? If so, you were likely to have been entertained with live music from Bread & Roses."

With professional musicians Ross Gualcoon piano, George McNeill on stand-up bass and Mike MacKenzie on drums, the group played a special repertoire of 1930s and 1940s jazz standards, rumba, swing and Brazilian tunes. When Marianna sang Cole Porter's You’d Be So Nice To Come Home and My Heart Belongs to Daddy theseniors in the audience were transported back to an earlier time. Songs like Brasil and It’s Delovely had people dancing in the aisles and A Kiss To Build a Dream On was a lovely finale to their short but lively set.

Based in Sausalito, Marianna has been recruiting professional musicians for over a decade to perform over 65 free Bread & Roses concerts for seniors who generally cannot attend outside events on their own. Most of these concerts feature outstanding soloists playing special arrangements by the late Jim Rothermel, who was a superb clarinet player, jazz musician and Bread & Roses performer.

FinalMarianneA_copyDuring the past year in Marin County alone, Bread & Roses produced close to a hundred concerts for 3500 seniors in convalescent homes and day care facilities. Bread & Roses serves close to 27,000 people each year who are isolated in institutions throughout the Bay Area. Of the 600 annual programs overall, nearly one third are dedicated to seniors.

We have seen first-hand the effect that music has on seniors. Familiar songs occasion the recall of lyrics even in patients with dementia. Live music itself invariably generates a special connection between performer and audience.

At a recent show at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Bread & Roses volunteer host Debbie Matson reported,

When Marianna took the stage, the warmth of her voice and style, drew everyone into her fabulous singing. She gave engaging intros for each number and kept the performance flowing wonderfully. Standard jazz pieces kept the audience smiling, clapping and wanting more. The stunning version of Stardust brought great applause and made a wonderful emotional connection for everyone in the room.”

Marianna August and Her Jazz Pals have performed for Bread & Roses at The Tamalpais, Lifelong Medical Care, Aldersly, West Marin Senior Services, Whistlestop, Nazareth House, The Redwoods, Northgate Care and Fifth Avenue Convalescent in Marin County, as well as Laguna Honda and the Veterans Hospital in San Francisco.

Blog Post Contributed by Marian Hubler

 

Do you know any performers who might be able to help with our shows for senior audiences throughout the Bay Area? Please let us know.

 

 

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Bread & Roses on NBC Bay Area Proud

Garvin Thomas of NBC Bay Area Proud interviewed Bread & Roses performer Judy Lagomarsino (AKA Miss Kitty) for their Bay Area Proud series. After filming a Bread & Roses show at BAHIA in Berkeley, he talked to Judy about her life as a performer and how she became interested in giving back through her music. We couldn't be more proud of Judy, and grateful to Garvin for spreading the word!

 

 

 

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Alive Inside Video Trailer - Music Reconnects Us to 'Our Most Alive Selves'

As highlighted in the feature story of our Fall 2012 newsletter, the rough cut trailer of the upcoming documentary, Alive Inside, provides a compelling insight into the power of music to help those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease reconnect to their memories and most alive selves. We hope you will enjoy the video. We look forward to hearing from you about the ways in which you have seen music, and in particular, live music, reconnect individuals of all ages to their hearts, minds and spirits.

 

 

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Enthusiasm a Hallmark of Developmentally Disabled Audiences

Bread & Roses serves a variety of developmentally disabled audiences around the Bay Area and our performers always tell us that their exceptionally enthusiastic response is an unforgettable experience for them.  Our friends at audiences like The Cedars of Marin or Las Trampas in Oakland love to dance and sing along to familiar songs. They show their great appreciation through a direct, immediate and heartfelt response to the music.  They always respond with great affection to the connection provided by live performance.
 

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Bread & Roses Performer Jimmy Dillon with friend at The Cedars of Marin. Photo by Peter Merts, Courtesy of Bread & Roses  

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Alden had this to say after a recent show at The Cedars Textile Arts Center in San Rafael:
 

Cormac Gannon, Susuki Cady and I played a Bread & Roses show this afternoon in San Rafael. A packed room, dozens of people dancing, everyone swaying and clapping, this was a terrifically responsive crowd that came ready to party. After the show, the line of smiling, grateful listeners with pens and notebooks requesting our autographs was off the charts! A reminder that live music must be shared, especially with those who are unable to get out to hear it live. Bread and Roses has been doing this important work for over thirty years, and it's a great honor to participate.

 

Here are some excerpts from show reports from some of our volunteer hosts. Chris Wright reported the following after a recent show by Buenos Nachos at Las Trampas in Oakland.
 

Las Trampas is a fantastic day care facility for developmentally disabled adults. Many people on this day were looking forward to having some music.  People are in various stages of health at Las Trampas, some very high functioning and some wheelchair bound and not very responsive. But everyone was so kind and excited to have some new faces in the crowd.

 

The three young women who make up Buenos Nachos (Japa, Lauren and Julie) were full of sunshine and joy and  thrilled to be sharing their tunes with this audience. They switched off playing guitar and ukulele and all sang with angelic voices. They performed great, upbeat songs from the Beatles, Bob Marley, and some they had written themselves.

 

One young girl in a wheelchair asked if I would take her out to dance as the music played. She was so excited that she was shaking all over. She had a huge smile on her face and loved moving to the music. She said she would tell her dad when she got home that she was dancing!

 

It was a lovely afternoon and very healing and uplifting for the people at Las Trampas!

 

Michelle Doty shared the following after a recent concert with Pat and Joe at Marin Ventures in San Rafael.
 

Walking through the doors of Marin Ventures in San Rafael is a little overwhelming.  While the facility itself is simple and all but empty as far as furniture and décor, there is a burst of human energy that, for me, required a deep breath, a smile and a willingness to get ready for some connection!  And what better way to connect than through some amazing music?

After a welcome, gratitude for this beautiful audience and an “are we ready for some music!?,”   the excited crowd burst into applause and shouts of delight.  Pat and Joe had snuck out to the back of the room.  They came parading in with a tambourine and the perfect song! “This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine…"

The happy audience expressed delight in a variety of ways:  clapping, dancing , happy shouts and lots of singing a long.  Caregivers encouraged movement and danced and clapped along to a variety of special songs.  Most were favorites that people recognized like “Country Road” by John Denver and even a contemporary hit by “The Plain White Tees.”  Little surprises like a silly kazoo were met with such happiness and encouragement.  One sweet man knew all of the words to a Bob Dylan favorite (one of a few that he knew well).  He was so happy to connect with Pat and Joe who noticed his obvious love of music.  They listened intently to his expression. Their talent was fueled by their happy audience. They had such a wonderful collection of songs of different genres including gospel, children’s folk songs, and old favorites. They all had this “happiness factor” that was absolutely perfect – brilliant really.

 

Let us know if you have a recent story you'd like to share about the positive effect of live music! 

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Share Your Reviews of Bread & Roses on Great Nonprofits Website

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Bread & Roses is honored to be listed as a featured nonprofit on the Great Nonprofits website. We were also grateful to be included in their recent blog post about the top ten volunteer opportunities in San Francisco.

One of our client contacts had the following to say in a review posted on the site:

 

Bread and Roses consistently reaches out to those people who are out of the mainstream due to physical, financial or other limitations. These folks especially need the magic that music provides in healing the soul. I witnessed this magic while working at a women's shelter in San Francisco. Bread and Roses always kept us in their schedule without our even having to ask. What a blessing to the community they are!

 

We invite you to submit a review about your experience with our organization. If you are able to do so, we thank you in advance for joining the conversation and helping us spread the word about the benefits of our work through social media. We appreciate your help in sharing what it means to bring hope and healing through live music to those who need it most.

 

If you do post a review, we'd love to know with a comment to this post as well.

 

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Hats Off To Our Friends At the Kate Wolf Festival

Kate_Woldf

 

The Kate Wolf Festival continues its annual tradition of presenting top notch acoustic music. Held the last weekend in June at Wavy Gravy's Black Oak Ranch in Mendocino, the festival honors Kate Wolf, the singer-songwriter who re-popularized folk music in Northern CA in the 70’s.  She died in 1986 of leukemia.  Her music lives on not only with the festival, and also at Bread & Roses institutional shows where her song “Give Yourself To Love” remains a favorite.

It means so much to us that Kate Wolf’s family has been supportive of Bread & Roses. Terry Fowler, Kate’s husband, along with their son Max Wolf, has donated proceeds from festival merchandise to help bring live music to those who need it most.

We have had a presence at the Kate Wolf Festival since its earliest days at the Caswell Ranch in Sebastopol when our founder, the late Mimi Fariña, was invited to sing and to promote Bread & Roses.  Ever since then we have made the pilgrimage north almost every summer to have a presence at the festival which for the past decade or so has been north of Laytonville.

The good folks at the Kate Wolf Festival -- Wavy Gravy, Cloud Moss and Danny Scher – are part of the team of angels who have assisted us throughout the years in promoting our mission and cultivating upcoming artists.

Cloud Moss of Cumulus Productions oversees the music line-up at both the The Kate Wolf Music Festival and The Gaia Festival. He knows how to put a great show together, something we strive to do daily at Bread & Roses.

 

sunman

 

With Bill Graham Presents, Danny Scher helped with production support for Bread & Roses legendary acoustic music benefit concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. Danny has also hosted benefit concerts for Bread & Roses and The Bill Graham Memorial Foundation continues to support Bread & Roses today.

At this summer’s Kate Wolf and Gaia Music Festivals in Mendocino, Bread & Roses staff and volunteers were able to meet and reach out to acoustic Americana, as well as ethnic and multi-ethnic performers and groups who are particularly needed for Bread & Roses youth audiences.

 

SmallLadies

 

Both The Kate Wolf Festival and Bread & Roses are committed to presenting emerging performing artists. Producer Francesca Lee and volunteer Elizabeth Irby attended the festival on behalf of Bread & Roses this year. They connected with many wonderful performers including Blame Sally, Ma Muse, Nicki & Tim Bluhm, Teresa Tudury, The Sam Chase Band, Justin Townes Earle, Ruthie Foster and the California Honeydrops, among others. We look forward to producing Bread & Roses institutional shows with some of these artists in the coming year.

 

Do you know any upcoming performers you think might be effective for Bread & Roses younger audiences? Let us know.

 

Calendar Note:
The next Kate Wolf Festival will be held June 28-30, 2013.  Mark your calendars and we look forward to seeing you there.

 

Post by Marian Hubler

Photos (Top to Bottom): Album cover photo "Kate Wolf and the Wildwood Flower: Back Roads",  Sunflower Puppet at the Gaia Festival August 2012 by Marian Hubler, Blame Sally at a Bread & Roses concert at Delancey Street 2008 by Ken Friedman

 

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Transcendence Theatre Brings Broadway to the Veterans Home

Stephan Stubbins on Broadway For a wheelchair-bound senior at the Veterans Home in Yountville, it can seem like an impossible distance to travel from Napa to New York City to see the bright lights of Broadway.  But here it was -- songs from the magical production of "Broadway Under the Stars" in their own Holderman Hall. 

Many seniors who live in institutional settings have very limited mobility and find it difficult to get around. One of the great benefits that Bread & Roses brings to its isolated audiences is a live cultural experience that would be challenging for them to enjoy any other way.

The Transcendence Theatre Company’s recent production of “Broadway Under the Stars” in Glen Ellen is a great example. Last December, Bread & Roses brought its director (and one of its principal stars) to perform for close to a hundred disabled elderly veterans almost all in wheelchairs.  Imagine their pleasure at seeing Stephan Stubbins, who until recently has performed most often on the stages of musical theatres in New York and Los Angeles. 

Stephan Stubbins

Stephan’s trained voice and youthful energy transported all to Broadway in Times Square with songs performed from musicals like “Mary Poppins” and the “Man From La Mancha.”   Some songs he accompanied himself on the VA’s baby grand piano.  Others he sang while dancing to professionally recorded orchestra tracks.  He also played some beautiful original songs on his acoustic guitar including a tribute to his grandmother.

Former Bread & Roses Board member David Stollmeyer met Stephan in Sonoma last fall. Impressed by the talent of this young actor/singer who was starting a musical theatre company,  he thought that Stephan would also be an incredible addition to Bread & Roses roster of volunteer performers.

“Dare to Live the Dream” is the motto of the Transcendence Theatre Company that has now launched its first season with a series of concerts at Jack London State Park. In response to the California state budget crisis, their efforts are part of an innovative collaboration to help raise funds to keep the park open.  We greatly appreciate that Stephan shared a preview of his summer concert series with a Bread & Roses audience.  

We would love to know if you have had a cultural experience that has transported you to another place.  Please share your comments below.

Calendar Note:
Don't miss the chance to support this talented ensemble of performers. Their "Wonderful World" concert runs through August 26 in Sonoma.

 

Post by Marian Hubler 

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The Hipwaders Wow the Children at BAHIA in Berkeley

A story about a Bread & Roses institutional show on July 31, 2012 by Aidan Nelson

Hipwaders Concert

Before the show at Centro Vida began, the energy was already exciting. The Hipwaders were set up and testing their equipment with an impromptu song, “Mic-Check”. Just from this quick preview, I knew the show at this preschool daycare for children in Berkeley (part of BAHIA, The Bay Area Hispanic Institute for Advancement) was going to be a blast.

Rock and roll for kids isn’t a common thing to hear, but they loved it and so did the adults. With so much pizzazz, this group was exhilarating to watch. Virginia Turner, Centro Vida’s site director, came up to me before the show even started and said, “The children are always mesmerized every time Bread and Roses comes.”

Boys in Box Cars

However, as the show began you could tell this concert was something even beyond the standards that they were used to, especially for the kids. In the beginning, the children were in small banana boxes; the Hipwaders joked that it was their first show classy enough for box seats. However, as the show continued, the children got out of their boxes and began to jump and dance and sing. Some began to drum on their banana boxes and one blonde boy even cut out a microphone out of cardboard to sing along. These children’s faces lit up exuberantly and were instantly filled with immense satisfaction. They loved it.

For many of these kids, concerts aren’t a luxury they can afford. Most coming from poverty, these young children relished the opportunity to experience something foreign and something electrifying. Most of us in our world take live music for granted. But Bread and Roses brings that gratifying experience to those who otherwise can’t encounter it.

Dancing Girls

Once the program came to a close, Virginia expressed her vast gratitude to Bread & Roses for spending the time to put on such a fantastic concert. The happiness and appreciation the show created at Centro Vida was a spectacular sight to see and one I certainly won’t forget. I’m greatly looking forward to visiting Centro Vida again to see another amazing show.

Aidan Nelson is a 17-year-old student who will be a junior at Marin Academy this fall. As a songwriter who plays both guitar and piano, his passion for music led him to a summer internship at Bread & Roses where he has hosted a number of our institutional programs.

(From top to bottom) The children at The Hipwaders concert at BAHIA; Boys in "box seats" at BAHIA enjoy the concert; Girls in the audience dance to the music at Centro Vida. Photos by Lisa Starbird, Courtesy of Bread & Roses

WE'D LOVE TO KNOW, TELL US ABOUT A WOW MOMENT YOU'VE HAD AT A LIVE MUSIC SHOW!

 

 

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“What Will Inspire You?”

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It was a thrill for us to see a full-page ad from the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) in both San Francisco Magazine and Marin Magazine featuring Bread & Roses.  Central to the ad is this inspiring quote from Bread & Roses supporter and former board chair Susan Gilardi:

Music, especially a live performance, can uplift spirits, inspire and stir your heart…I’ve witnessed special needs kids who can barely speak start singing. I’ve watched as a tear formed in the eye of a 92-year-old woman in a nursing home when she recognized a song. It’s overpowering. Every single show has an impact.

The ad also includes an excerpt from the 1912 poem by James Oppenheim that inspired Mimi Fariña to give us the name Bread & Roses:

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;

Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread but give us roses.

As part of MCF’s new “What Will Inspire You” campaign in honor of its 25th anniversary, the Bread & Roses ad celebrates the impact we have had bringing hope, healing and joy to isolated Bay Area audiences for nearly four decades.  The ad campaign, along with a trailer for local movie theatres and other collateral pieces, was created to showcase the generosity and inspiration of its donors in six program areas: the arts/live music, education, affordable housing, healthcare, the environment and food/nutrition.

Susan Gilardi and her husband are among the many families with donor-advised funds at Marin Community Foundation whose passion and generosity do so much to keep the nonprofit community in Marin vibrant and effective.

The Gilardis

Bread & Roses has received support from MCF and from the Gilardis for many years—support that enables us to share live music with audiences at 124 facilities in the Bay Area, more than 40 of which are in Marin County.

We’d love to know what you think.  What inspires you to make a difference?

 

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Credits:

Ad by Kate Harris Designs, The Marin Community Foundation

Susan & Dennis Gilardi - Photo by Andrew de Lory

 

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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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Performing Live Music Helps To Ease Loneliness of Seniors

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle “Loneliness Lethal for Seniors” talks about results from a new UCSF study that finds older people who are lonely are more likely to experience a decline in health.

Bread & Roses performer Barbara Dane, an 85-year-old resident of Oakland, was quoted in the article as saying many older adults need to take more responsibility for their own social lives.  As her late husband’s primary caregiver, Barbara had to take some time off from a 50-year career as a jazz singer. After he died, she realized how very important it was to maintain her active and varied social life as a performer.

At Bread & Roses, older volunteers who perform live music find it a great vehicle for staying connected to others.  Almost eighty volunteer performers, both individuals and groups, are over the age of 65 and many keep performing for Bread & Roses well into their 80s.   

The Swing Society, Bread & Roses performers for over a decade, are octogenarian swingers all in their 80s. The late James Jenkins, a Bread & Roses performer for over twenty-five years, played violin well into his 90s.

At an institutional show for Bread & Roses several years ago, former staff producer Kurt Huget recognized Barbara Dane’s high level of experience and showmanship. “Barbara brings to her performances an impressive musical legacy, a wide repertoire of material and an engaging personality that draws listeners into her world. She ran the gamut from blues and folk to gospel, songs with emotions and themes that everyone can connect with. Indeed, she had this appreciative audience clapping, shouting and singing along. After the show, most of the audience came forth to express their appreciation. One listener told her that ‘we needed that.’ “

Barbara thanked us afterwards for the privilege of performing for the folks at New Bridge, an adult drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Berkeley.  She said, “They were just about the most aware and responsive audience one could want, and we loved it all. Please do invite us for more. And thanks for all that you do to make these things possible.”

Our senior performers are an important part of Bread & Roses program of bringing music to isolated audiences around the Bay Area. For the 600 programs we present each year, a third of our audiences are either in senior convalescent centers or day facilities where seasoned performers who do vintage songs or classic jazz standards are especially welcome. 

Do you know any older performers who might be willing to volunteer for Bread & Roses?

They could benefit from staying connected to those who would truly appreciate them and we could use their help.

By Marian Hubler

Barbara Dance with Kurt Huget

 

Barbara Dane (with Kurt Huget) performed at a benefit for Bread & Roses in 2007. 

Photo by Ken Friedman

 

 

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