Last Sunday, Nov. 19, the San Francisco Symphony put on a special, extra concert as a benefit for Santa Rosa fire relief. Everyone, including the performers (conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, orchestra and chorus members, members of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, soloist Solomon Howard), the stage crew, ushers, and staff donated their services.
The concert, titled Symphony Relief, raised more than $75,000 for the North Bay Fire Relief Fund and the Sonoma County Resilience Fund. According to SFS sources, “San Francisco Symphony patrons and concert attendees were also encouraged to make donations directly to these organizations in order to maximize the impact of this event.”
The concert program opened with two works by Aaron Copland — Fanfare for the Common Man, and music from the 1940 film Our Town. The concert also included the finale from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, a cappella spirituals performed by bass Solomon Howard, and the finale from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, culminating in the uplifting Ode “To Joy.”
The North Bay Fire Relief Fund was established by the RCU Community Fund, in partnership with Redwood Credit Union, Senator Mike McGuire, and The Press Democrat, to assist those impacted by the wildfires that have ravaged the North San Francisco Bay Area. To date, the North Bay Fire Relief Fund has raised more than $16 million, with 100% of donations going directly to victims of the fires.
A program of the Community Foundation Sonoma County, the Sonoma County Resilience Fund was created in October, 2017 to address the mid to long-term needs of Sonoma County as it recovers and rebuilds from the devastating fires. As funders with 34 years of experience in grantmaking in Sonoma County, the Community Foundation will convene local nonprofit partners to work with people impacted by the fire, collaborate with a diverse range of leaders and agencies that support the community, and conduct a strong due diligence process to effectively support those who have the most need.