July 18, 2018
link to facebook link to twitter

Fire recovery events at SSU

July 6, 2018

Sonoma State University announced that it will be hosting two unique fire recovery events to take place Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall. The events will be centered around the sharing of individual and communal stories related to the devastating 2017 North Bay fires, capping off with a performance Saturday by country music superstar Brad Paisley and acclaimed actress Bonnie Hunt. All proceeds from ticket sales for the weekend’s events will go to benefit first responders who suffered losses in the October fires, which destroyed 5,300 homes in Sonoma County alone.

“We are honored to be a part of this powerful story-telling and music-filled event,” said Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki. “From the beginning, the university has been a partner in the healing and the rebuilding that is occurring in Sonoma County.  This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together, to support one another and to share our stories of what happened during those horrific days in October.”

On Friday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m., Sonoma County author, educator and noted storyteller Brandon Spars will host “Thicker Than Smoke: An Evening of Community Storytelling” at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall. The evening will feature 10 or more local individuals sharing a variety of tales, both heartbreaking and inspiring, of what transpired during those life-altering hours of Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 when the fires swept through the region. Then Saturday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m., the Green Music Center will host a benefit concert at Weill Hall + Lawn featuring Brad Paisley and his co-host actress Bonnie Hunt. The evening, titled “Thicker Than Smoke: An Acoustic Evening with Brad Paisley, Bonnie Hunt, and Friends,” will also include local stories interwoven with music.

“In celebration of the resilience our communities have shown and, in an effort, to encourage a renewed call to action and awareness for the rebuild and recovery efforts, we are honored and humbled to provide a weekend of community healing through storytelling,” said Jacob Yarrow, Executive Director of the Green Music Center. “We are so grateful to Brad Paisley and Bonnie Hunt for their support of the North Bay community and California in general.”

Since the expenses of the weekend events are being covered by generous donations from community sponsors, 100 percent of the ticket revenues will go to the Resilience Fund, a long-term relief fund overseen by the Community Foundation Sonoma County. The funds will be earmarked for first responders who suffered losses in the fires including the many who lost their homes while helping others. “This event is a perfect example of the healing power of the arts, and we are so grateful that this donation will be coming to the Foundation nine months after the fires when there still remain tremendous unmet needs in the community,” said Elizabeth Brown, President and CEO for Community Foundation Sonoma County. “Continued generosity such as this will allow the foundation to continue helping and healing Sonoma County residents over the next several years of recovery.”

Tickets go on sale Friday, July 6 at 10 a.m. Two hundred free tickets will be made available to first responders and others who suffered losses as a result of the fires. Please contact the Box Office at tickets@sonoma.edu to request your tickets. Please visit gmc.sonoma.edu or call 1.866.955.6040.  If you or someone you know has a story of their fire experience that they would like to share, please email greenmusiccenter@sonoma.edu.

About Sonoma State University: With a student population of 9,400, Sonoma State University is unique in its liberal arts and sciences mission with a longstanding tradition of promoting intellectual and personal growth, leadership opportunities and technological proficiency. We cultivate a community in which a diverse population can learn and work in an atmosphere of civility and respect. We encourage innovation, experimentation and creativity, as well as contributions to equity and inclusion, in the pursuit of excellence for all members of our university community. See more news from SSU at http://news.sonoma.edu/ 

About the Green Music Center: The Green Music Center is the performing arts presenter at Sonoma State University, a regionally serving public university committed to educational access and excellence. The mission of the Green Music Center is to present the most compelling artists of our time, to investigate ideas, and to provide access to diverse artistic experiences that educate, connect, and inspire Sonoma State University and neighboring North Bay communities.

Surrounded by the foothills of Sonoma County, the Green Music Center includes the 1,400-seat Weill Hall, with a rear wall that opens to lawn seating for a unique summertime experience, and the intimate 240-seat Schroeder Hall. As a focal point for the arts and education in the region, the Green Music Center presents artists year-round, serving as home to the Santa Rosa Symphony, Sonoma Bach, and the Sonoma State University Department of Music.