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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Food Bank Fundraiser American Philharmonic Concert

The annual Winter Food and Funds Drive
by the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) will mark its finale with performances
January 30 and 31
by the American Philharmonic – Sonoma County (APSC)
at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

The concert entitled, Once Upon A Time, is FREE to the public and is dedicated to the work and supporters of the REFB, Sonoma County’s leading hunger relief agency which provides food to 70,000 Sonoma County residents every month.

The concerts will be performed at the conclusion of the REFB’s three-month-long winter drive to collect food and raise funds to support hunger relief efforts into the New Year.

Concert goers are being urged to donate cash or checks to the REFB during the concerts at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Credit or Debit cards may be used to give as well, using remittance envelopes located in each program. Information tables will be set up for donations to REFB.

In dedicating the concert to the Food Bank, American Philharmonic-Sonoma County spokesperson and Co-Chair, Katy Madrigal said: “This time of year is often the hardest for the needy and those who serve them. While many donations come in during the holidays, by the beginning of each new year, REFB has to double its efforts to secure more food. This is a time when all of us in the community can collaborate and help raise much needed food. Please donate to this worthy cause and enjoy the beautiful music.”

David Goodman, Executive Director of the REFB, thanked the American Philharmonic and expressed hope the concerts would remind people that hunger is a year-round problem.
“Every day is a crisis for people who haven’t enough to eat,” Goodman said. “Coming at the conclusion of our annual drive, the two days of music will help us celebrate the generosity of the thousands of people who have contributed and serve as a reminder that our annual winter fund drive ends Jan. 31 but the need continues every day of the year.”

The orchestra, which will be conducted by American Philharmonic Music Director Gabriel Sakakeeny, will be performing Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream-Overture;
Blechinger’s Concerto for Bassoon, featuring guest bassoonist George Sakakeeny; and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

The performance on Saturday, Jan. 30 begins at 8 p.m. Sunday’s performance on Jan. 31 begins at 3 p.m. Admission is free. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts lobby doors open an hour prior to the concerts. The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is wheelchair accessible.

The REFB launched its annual Winter Food and Funds Drive on November 1, and with the help and support of some 360 community drives raised thousands of pounds of food as well as cash. Donations help keep its food shelves stocked into the new year to distribute food through 13 of its own programs and the 146 charitable agencies it partners with in Sonoma County.

The goal is to collect $160,000 in cash and 200,000 lbs. of food by Jan. 31.

By the first week of the new year, Lee Bickley, Community Relations Manager of the REFB, said donors had contributed 160,871 lbs. of canned and packaged food and $111,744 in cash.

“We have just one more month to go, and we’re almost there,” she said. “We’re hoping residents who haven’t yet contributed will find a way to help and help us meet our goal.”

No food will be collected at the Wells Fargo Center concerts, only cash and checks.

Bickley said every cash contribution helps, no matter the amount.

“No donation is too small. We’ve received a $20,000 check from a Healdsburg winery and we’ve received hundreds of pennies from grade schools,” she said. “We have 5,000 volunteers who help us operate our programs throughout the year and because of that volunteer labor we are able to turn a dollar donation into $4 worth of food,” she said. “So each donation counts, no matter the amount, and will enable us to help thousands of our neighbors.”

Bickley urged concert goers to donate cash at the Wells Fargo Center performances and others to send their contributions to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

Checks can be mailed to 3320 Industrial Drive, Santa Rosa CA 95403.

Donors also can give online or by calling the food bank at 707-523-7900 and put a donation on a charge card.

Canned and packaged food can always be dropped off at REFB’s headquarters, 3320 Industrial Drive in Santa Rosa.

The American Philharmonic–Sonoma County was created in 1998. It has performed more than 60 concert events for more than 40,000 audience members since 1999.

For more information on the REFB, contact David Goodman, 707-523-7900.

The orchestra is sustained almost completely on the generosity of donations by audience members. It has grown from a modest Cotati Philharmonic to become the premier professional volunteer orchestra of the North Bay Area with 60 to 75 musicians and scores of support volunteers. The American Philharmonic-Sonoma County is a resident company of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.
or more information about the American Philharmonic-Sonoma County, contact Katy Madrigal at" at or go to

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